New media has taken over the world.  As a facet of modern culture, new media has also spread its influence to religious realms.  To Instagram a pic of your highlighted bible open next to a mocha frappaccino is all it takes to join the bandwagon of Christian new media users.

Of all the great examples of Christianity conveyed through new media, we’ll look at the most shameful and shameless: Westboro Baptist’s Vine account.

Something universal about using new media to convey Christianity is that it’s an attempt to connect to viewers’ established culture: their slang, their fashion, their taste in music.  WBC does this quite well on Vine, though their videos seem a little self-contradictory:

“This world is on fire,” is exchanged here for Alicia Keys’s “This girl is on fire.”

Although WBC says pop stars like Rihanna should burn in hell, they happily utilize pop songs to advance their slogans.

Saddleback Church does this too, when they desecularize pop songs by giving them spiritual lyrics.  Both are examples of using culture to lure in an audience.  Unfortunately it only takes a six-second video to make an audience spare a morsel of appreciation for a twisted church’s clever take on pop culture.

Like the Mormon missionary-in-training who comes to your door with his toddler child, Westboro stars children in their Vines to extract a more human response from an audience who would much rather shoot them down.

These Vines not only take advantage of our cultural norm to react more gently towards child fundamentalists than adults, but depict how Westboro cultures their children into following their radical beliefs.

It’s a Sunday school activity to make a Vine about how God hates fags for Westboro.


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