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The Real Threat to Christmas That Fox News Is Blind to: The Religion of Shopping

America is firmly under the grip of a powerful religion -- not the teachings of Jesus, but crass consumerism.

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I suspect that she or he would not get very far. Nor, despite the similarity of this approach to the core values of religious faiths, is it popular among the mainstream U.S. churches. Yes, they encourage small-scale charitable ventures. But they do little to challenge the consumerist ethos.

Indeed, the most active and rapidly growing among the churches — the fundamentalist and evangelical denominations — have rallied behind political candidates championing unbridled capitalism and the prerogatives of wealth. “Drill baby, drill” seems far more popular among them than the Golden Rule.

Ironically, then, by not opposing the corporate cultivation of untrammeled greed among Americans, the churches have left the door open to the triumph of America’s new religion — not liberal secularism, but shopping.

Lawrence S. Wittner  is professor of history emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is  Working for Peace and Justice: Memoirs of an Activist Intellectual  (University of Tennessee Press).

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