My friend Suzette Martinez Standring, who like me is a former president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, often writes about religion, and in this column makes an intriguing point: Christians in America are an often-overlooked part of the economy to whom advertisers should be paying more attention. At least she reports that this is the conclusion of a new book.
Hmmm. Should Christians be thought of as an economic "affinity group"? Well, as Suzette notes, the authors of Faith-Based Marketing: The Guide To Reaching 140 Million Christian Customers, think so.
No doubt this makes economic sense to people with stuff to sell. And it may even make sense to Christians who want to be able to find products that they can feel good about buying, products that don't violate their standards, products that can improve the world and so forth.
So why does part of me recoil a bit at being thought of as part of a faith community that marketers want to reach? I think perhaps it's because the faith, at least to me, does not constitute a cog in an economic wheel. Rather, Christianity is about redemption, about joyful living, about service to others, about love.
And I'm hesitant to have marketers exploit those values to improve their bottom line.
Am I being irrational?
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PONDERING CELEBRITY DEATHS
VENTURA, Calif. -- As I rode in a shuttle van here yesterday from the Los Angeles airport, I listened to detailed radio reports of Michael Jackson's death. What a day yesterday was for celebrity deaths -- both Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. More proof of death being the great leveler, I guess. And perhaps more proof that celebrity in our culture often comes at a very high price -- at least in Jackson's case, given how much of the news about it focused on all the stress in his life. Some of that stress had to do with religion. Remember a year or two ago when Jackson, once a Jehovah's Witness, was thought to be converting to Islam? Well, I'm at a National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference and won't have time now for getting into the subject of Fawcett and religion or Jackson and religion. But pay some attention to the coverage of both deaths and see what, if anything, is said about that.
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NOTE: Until Tuesday, June 30, my Internet access may be limited and/or sporadic, so a long time may go by before I can publish any comments you leave here. Thanks for your patience. I'll eventually get to them. Bill.