December 11, 2006

DefCon Protest is Misguided

DefCon is asking readers to contact Wal-Mart to protest their decision to sell the Left Behind: Eternal Forces video game. The game, developed by Christian extremist and bestselling author Tim LaHaye, depicts Christian players "converting or killing non-believers which can include Jews, Muslims, and Catholics." The heart of DefCon's protest seems to center on the idea that selling this game promotes religious violence. I wonder if they are also asking Wal-Mart to stop selling the Christian bible?

I value freedom of speech, and this means that I seek to defend the freedom of individuals to create and sell material with which I do not agree or even find personally offensive. Thus, I don't see this particular protest as something worth supporting. Why must we be so quick to attempt to ban anything with which we disagree? This game could open a dialogue about the perils of religious violence and demonstrate that Christians should refrain from pointing the finger at Muslims when they support a game like this. How does removing it from store shelves accomplish anything productive?

If we ask Wal-Mart to stop selling this game, how can we not also ask them to stop selling Grand Theft Auto and countless other games? Are we really going to argue that religious violence is somehow worse than other kinds of violence? That is absurd. I would much rather keep the games on the shelves and work to educate the players. A game such as this which depicts Christians slaughtering persons from other faiths sheds considerable light on the Christian mind. I would not deprive the world of this lesson.

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