Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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Fun with stealth evangelism and ripoffs of corporate logos

...or, will Microsoft start going after Salem Communications?

At this link, there is discussion going on in regards to an advert being used by a group connected with "CrossWalk" that is almost a direct ripoff of the Xbox 360 logo:

Now, CrossWalk is one of those names that tends to throw up *major* alarm bells for me. For those who aren't aware, CrossWalk is actually a division of Salem Communications--owner of a large "godcasting" radio empire that has connections to (among other things) Calvary Chapel's wholescale hijacking of radio translator licenses and which itself has engaged in deliberate attempts to hijack licenses of "full power" public broadcasting stations. More directly of note, however, CrossWalk is also one of the more than 40 documented front groups of the Assemblies of God and, in typical fashion, is also apparently a brand-name heavily used by Assemblies-connected groups in general including at least one group specifically targeting children.

This particular "CrossWalk" does use the same logo as the one used by Salem Communications' CrossWalk, but (in a notable exception) claims to be a Lutheran church. However, it happens to be a member of a dominionist synod of the Lutheran church (the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod; per at least one report this is one of the dominionist branches of Lutheranism (and probably the most hardline of all of them); the Wisconsin Synod is considered so far to the right of most Lutheran groups (even making the Missouri Synod look moderate in comparison) it can be considered a dominionist breakaway sect).

Of note, the group seems to be explicitly targeting children, not just in the advertising but in that it is promoting the "CrossWalk for Kids" meetings. (From what little I've been able to find out, it does seem connected to Salem Communications' CrossWalk.com.)

At least two separate blogs dedicated to gaming, including the unofficial blog of the director of XBox Live programming.

EDIT: The website Church Marketing Sucks has an excellent commentary on the issue of "religious ripoffs"--almost direct ripoffs of trademarks and service marks to advertise dominionist churches, promote "bait and switch" evangelism, and generally try to be terribly clever.

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