Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discrediting the Authenticity of Conservative Lived Religion

As I’ve said previously, my case study is focusing on how members of the liberal left use memes to point out points of contradiction between Republican/Conservative ideology and Christianity. Obviously when considering these images the offline religious and political culture play a large part in how these memes can be analyzed in terms of authenticity.

In the first meme we see a depiction of Jesus Christ preaching the so-called “golden rule”, love others as you love yourself. However, underneath the original poster (OP) has added the phrase “as long as he’s the same race, religion, and not a homo”. What this person is doing is drawing on the fact that, from a cultural standpoint, the majority of Republicans are Christians. He or she is criticizing the stereotypical right-wing bigot by pointing out how the way they live in real life is not authentic to the lived religion they supposedly subscribe to.

In the second meme the offline religious and political culture are important to consider when attempting to decode the message. In this image the OP is taking the stereotypical gun-toting, pro-life Christian Republican and pointing out how supporting gun rights, opposing healthcare, and being pro-life is humorously contradicting.

Obviously in each of these images the offline culture is portrayed in a new context online in an effort to decrease the authenticity and legitimacy of conservative Christians’ lived religion in an offline world. This re-framing of the offline lived religion and political leanings in an online context is a blurring of ideas.

These memes are created by liberals about Christian conservatives. They attempt to discredit the Republican voter by communicating the contradicting nature of their religion online, lived religion, and political affiliation.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Criticizing Figures of Authority with Religious Authority

This week I will be discussing online authority and how two new memes commenting on the 2016 Presidential Race are related to this topic.

In the first image we see a depiction of Jesus flipping the bird to Christian Trump supporters. The critique here is that the Republican presidential candidate, though he professes a belief in Christianity, is not at all the type of person true members of the Church would want in the White House, and, that "Christian conservatives" have done wrong by other members of the church that feel differently about Trump. The authority in reference here is obviously Jesus Christ whose teachings are the pillar of Christian ideology. Of course, this religious figure comes from an offline context, the Bible to be specific (obviously), however the creator of this meme is using a "logic of dialectics and paradox" in an effort to subvert Trumps alleged religious affiliation and ultimately discredit his presidential credibility. The image references the conflicting nature of Christianity and Donald Trump as a person to effectively undermine the man's religious authority.

The second meme uses this exact type of logic for the same reason with a more humorous example of the point attempting to be made. The authority being referenced is broader than the previous example. Instead of referring to Jesus specifically the creator has decided to appeal to Christian evangelical ideology. He/she then combines the the offline context of this type of thinking with a contrasting piece of information that also comes from the offline realm; Donald Trump used to own a strip club. Obviously from a conservative Christian standpoint this is not ideal behavior for a person that subscribes to their specific code of morals. Both memes attempt to discredit conservative Christian voters and their preferred Presidential candidate by comparing the two subjects to contrasting elements of their political leanings humorous (and condescending) ways.

Image result for donald trump religious meme