I wasn’t the church-going kind of kid, but the devil-fightin’ preachers of the late seventies and early eighties still managed to reach me. They had a powerful tool, the cassette tape, and earnest young teen followers fighting to win the world for some strange kind of Christ. End Times prophecy and Satanic conspiracies were everywhere. As someone somewhat influenced by Marx, I attribute this to the fact that median income had been stagnant since the early seventies. The secular religion of the American Dream just wasn’t delivering on its promises as it once had. Blaming the Devil while voting for people who just want to make economic conditions worse is so much easier than actually doing anything.
I had not really thought much about these eighties preachers until I heard a
mashup song a few weeks ago. I don’t usually like mashups, but this one took me back to the spring of 1982. One of those earnest teens played us a cassette from Pastor Gary in the back of the school bus on the long ride home after a field trip to Galveston. My soul was not won over and I really only listened out of a morbid curiosity. I’m glad I listened, because when I first heard this I recognized Pastor Gary right away. The words are taken from exactly the tape I listened to.
I hope the surviving members of Queen have heard this.
What does everyone else think of my “Marxist” theory of the rise of End Times and Satanic conspiracy movements in Christian culture? The conventional explanation is that these movements were a reaction to social changes in the sixties. Sure, that’s part of it, but I think if there had still been a flow of wealth into the working classes as their had been until the early seventies, these movements would not have become as mainstream as they did and would not influence us so much today.