Ron Luce took to the stage of the "BattleCry" San Francisco event last March and spent a large part of a Friday evening in the company of a few real live pigs, saying "we don't want ninety-six percent of your generation living with pigs," later clarifying that he's referring specifically to "this pigpen called American culture."
Meanwhile, this spectacle had been made possible in part by a company that produces shows for secular superstars like Madonna and Nine Inch Nails, which had been hired by Teen Mania to work on the "BattleCry" event.
One of the themes repeated over and over in the "BattleCry" events and propaganda involves the allegation of vileness and worthlessness of much of popular culture, and specifically, music. Here's just one example of many, from Ron Luce's book published as part of the national launch of the "BattleCry" campaign:
Music: pounding home the obscenities. The enemy isn't limited to television and movie screens, of course. Going far beyond the limits of decorum and good taste - while foregoing any attempt at true musicality - most of today's hits simply dish up steaming helpings of vileness.
In the book, Ron Luce then goes on to quote lyrics he finds offensive, including the titles and partial lyrics of two songs by Kid Rock. This, from the head of an organization that's hired Nocturne Productions, a firm that's working in support of Kid Rock's current tour.
Nocturne, an international production company whose website lists Madonna, BonJovi and Nine Inch Nails as some of the tours they're involved with just in 2006, is also involved in the production of "BattleCry." Nocturne Productions is named in the credits of the video coverage of the first two "BattleCry" events, aired on TBN, JCTV and the NRB Network.
Nocturne is also named as one of the top five independent contractors on Teen Mania's tax return, having been paid $91,500 for services in the year ending August 2004.
This instance of Teen Mania relying on a secular firm for essential services is not an isolated incident. Ron Luce himself has admitted that he can't "get the job done otherwise" in a New York Times article detailing the relationship between Teen Mania and Tocquigny, an Austin, Texas based ad agency whose clients include Dell, AMD and Caterpillar.
I think people have gotten more and more open to dealing with secular firms when they see that there's no way to get the job done otherwise, at least in Christian circles.
This is a startling admission from a person who advocates a black-and-white, absolutist worldview and markets an identity based on an idealized, strict brand loyalty to those in his subculture. He mandates a separation from, and an aloofness to secular content, to be maintained at great cost if necessary, that's a recurring theme across years of his live events and TV shows where he instructs teens to go home and destroy their secular CD collection.
But perhaps Luce's polarized, zero-sum-game worldview is best summarized in this one sentence from his book:
Our cause brings truth and life; their cause results in lies and death.
Ron Luce has made a career selling his idealized, strictly black-and-white world to teenagers. But when confronted with the realities of the marketplace, apparently even he's discovered a few shades of gray that he can't do without. He's taken exactly the middle ground that he berates teenagers for occupying.
Here are some other companies, both secular and Christian, that provide services to Teen Mania:
- SteeleHouse Productions, the Tulsa production company started by self-described Christian comic Mark Steele, produces some of the video clips used in Teen Mania's live show, its TV program, and in its recently released "Rewired" curriculum.
- The DeMoss Group, self-described as a "public relations firm focused on faith-based organizations and enterprises," handles media relations and operates a "newsroom" web site for Teen Mania.
- Cook Communications Ministries co-produces and markets "BattleCry" materials including books and a curriculum kit.
- Apollo, "a risk management company," provides security services.
- KPMG provides audit and tax services.
- Cypress Interactive created the Teen Mania corporate website.
Posted April 30, 2006