08 October 2007

Ministers Redefining the Meaning of Halo

Only two days after inkygirl revealed an anti-unhappy endings group featured in a British tabloid to be a marketing hoax, the New York Times published a front-page dispatch by Matt Richtel that seems equally ridiculous--and yet I have no doubt it's true:

Across the country, hundreds of ministers and pastors desperate to reach young congregants have drawn concern and criticism through their use of an unusual recruiting tool: the immersive and violent video game Halo. . . .

Those buying it must be 17 years old, given it is rated M for mature audiences. But that has not prevented leaders at churches and youth centers across Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches that have cautioned against violent entertainment, from holding heavily attended Halo nights and stocking their centers with multiple game consoles so dozens of teenagers can flock around big-screen televisions and shoot it out. . . .

Complicating the debate over the appropriateness of the game as a church recruiting tool are the plot’s apocalyptic and religious overtones. The hero’s chief antagonists belong to the Covenant, a fervent religious group that welcomes the destruction of Earth as the path to their ascension.
So some ministers are trying to turn underage teens into apocalyptic zealots by offering them the chance to pretend to kill apocalyptic zealots--all in the name of a religion that counsels peace and love. Yeah, that "complicates" things, all right.

No comments: