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IQ: junk for Jesus



One woman's junk for Jesus is another man's prayer aid. From glow-in-the-dark crucifixes to I Love Jesus air fresheners for your car, Christian products have exploded in a multibillion-dollar industry in recent years. What would Jesus think? -- Bob Campbell


Brian Mandebach
Middle school teacher Downtown

What's your all-time favorite religious product or doodad? I love the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe. I have one on my guitar, in fact. I doubt I see it as I'm supposed to see it, though. I like it as a kind of goddess image.

What function do these products serve? A lot if it is tribalism, a way for people to identify themselves.

Does it diminish the Jesus vibe that many of these products are made in China instead of the United States? Genuine spirit can't be diminished, but a lot of this stuff is cheapened by being cheap.

Were Jesus alive and walking the streets, what product would he buy? None. He wasn't about buying stuff.


Donald Gibson
Unemployed electrical engineer Old Colorado City

What's your all-time favorite Jesus product? The bumper-sticker science (Darwin) fish eating the Christian fish.

What purpose do Jesus products serve? Buying them offers people some kind of association with Jesus and higher spirituality.

Does a Jesus dashboard figure get you to your destination more safely? I doubt it improves your driving, and arriving at your spiritual destination is a function of your spirituality, not of your dashboard figure.

A lot of these products are made in China. Does that diminish the Jesus vibe? I kind of suspect so, but once again, buying the doodad doesn't make you spiritual. Making it in China probably certainly increases someone's profit margin, though, which is probably the real point.

What Jesus product would you recommend there be more of? It's not a Jesus product, exactly, but those signs that say, "Live simply so that others may live."


Cris Stoddard
IT support for District 11 Downtown

What's your favorite Jesus doodad? The dress-up Jesus refrigerator magnet where you can mix and match these clothing items.

What function do these products serve? They're little relics, touchstones to make people feel better about life.

Will a plastic Jesus dashboard figure get you there safely? I don't think so. St. Christopher was supposed to do that and they went and decommissioned him. I don't know that the plastic Jesus will do much better.

Does it undercut the Christian vibe that many of these products are made in China? Yes. They should be making these things in Jerusalem out of Jerusalem plastic, using Jerusalem workers.

Were Jesus alive and walking our streets, what trinket would he buy? None. In fact, were Jesus alive and walking our streets, I think he'd be one of the homeless people.

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