So, I'm stuck in a Best Western in Moultrie, GA - about 40 miles north of the FL border. I can't really sleep, so I'm surfing the channels on the hotel's cable-enabled TV, and lo, what do I find waiting in the wings, ready to fill me with entertainment?

The Spirit Television Network.

Now, I'm no stranger to christian-based television - I do, after all, live in GA, and it's everywhere. But this Spirit Television Network thing was a new find - a brand new christian music video network.

Now, watching this network for any longer than, say, 30 seconds takes a decision to do so. You might be a bit confused when you first stuble on it, but after half a minute, you're pretty clear that you're watching Christian Music Videos, for several reasons:

1) The music sucks.
2) The people look extremely hollow and whitewashed
3) The production quality of both the music and the videos is really, really awful
4) The music sucks
5) They say "Praise Him" and "The Lamb" about a dozen times every half minute
6) The music really, really sucks

But I just had to watch. I couldn't help but lock my mind on this network for about 45 minutes, evaluating each and every video, trying to find the little subplots the pathetic little director was trying to embed in a song called "Rock and Foundation" featuring Mike Staggs and his Christian Cohorts.

Somewhere around the 40 minute mark, something kinda hit me (other than the "seriously lacking musical talent of any kind" thing):

Having done some video work, I know two things to be absolutely true:

1) videos cost money
2) music videos cost more money than regular videos

And then, digging just a tad bit deeper in my mind to recall a time when I attempted to record an album with a local punk/hardcore band, I remembered this:

1) Recording an album costs money

Finally, remembering just a few minutes ago that I'd spent somewhere around $12.00 to download a few tracks off of AllOfMp3.com, I remembered this little nugget:

1) Buying albums costs money

So, I hopped up and grabbed my trusty laptop and did just a bit of digging:

Christian album sales in 2006: 44.9 Million
Christian album sales in 2005: 43.5 Million
Percent Change: +3.4

(source: CBS MarketWatch)

The market rose for Christian album sales in 2006 by 3.4%. Assuming a price point of $14.00 per album (CD's fluctuate between $9.99 and $21.99 nationwide, so I'm just taking the middle of the road), that's about $628,600,000 in 2006, up from $609,000,000 in 2005. A $19,000,000 increase in revenue generation for the Christian music market.

Awesome for them.

Now, let's add to this:

Christian dollars spent making the 627 brand new Christian records that hit the market in 2006 (assuming a VERY low cost of about $50,000 per new record introduced - recording time, studio time, engineer time, manufacturing and tooth bleach cost money): $314,500,000

Christian dollars spent on Christian music videos for Christian music artists (with perfectly white Christian teeth, ironically hip Christian clothing and mid-to-high-level Christian musical instruments at a budget cost of, oh, $10,000 per music video - which is INSANELY low - assuming one single per new record introduced in 2006): $6,270,000

That gives us a crudely calculated total amount of $946,245,000 Christian dollars spent on audibly praising Jesus (and subsequently proving to music theorists everywhere that Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles truly were the only two blind people who could actually make good music).

Now, having realized that nearly a billion dollars - Billion, with a 'b' - was spent on Jesus songs, I'd like to remind you of one other statistic:

Homeless people in the United States in 2005: 744,313
Homeless people in the United States at the end of 2006: More than that.

(Source: endhomelessness.org)

Now, I could have picked any demographic of needy, deserving people. I picked homeless people because they're easy... They're everywhere. It's impossible to be in any major city and not see or become aware of at least one every single day. You don't have to seek them out. You just have to be around a bit and one will show up eventually... Unlike Christian albums, which you do have to dig around a bit to find one to put your money into.

Given this, I decided to pick a relatively easy metric to prove a relatively glaring point:

Number of meals purchased from the McDonalds Dollar Value Menu that could have been purchased for each of these hungry homeless folks with the combined $946,245,000 Christian dollars spent extolling the name and vitues of the son of God through glitzy, polished, heavily marketed, pre-packaged, utterly musically challenged albums: 946,245,000

And I'm only dealing in album sales. I'm not considering DVD sales, concert promotions / costs, material goods (shirts, hats, whatever).

That's just albums.

And let me make it very, very clear: I don't CARE that people spend their money on entertainment. I don't care that people spend thier money on entertainment in lieu of spending it on homeless people or hungry people or spaying cats or whatever. I don't care if people actively spend money on water guns and fill them with bleach and go out and squirt homeless people with them instead of just spending money on feeding and housing them.

What upsets the shit out of me is the out-and-out bullshit these ridiculous whitewashed Christian puritans try to pass off as authentic, saying that secular entertainment is evil, while Christian music - music which praises Jesus and his teachings which accounted for over 600 million dollars in record sales and over 900 million dollars spent last year that could have gone to actually promoting the core of Jesus's teachings - is holy. All because instead of singing about something else like da' club or bringing sexy back, they say "Praise Him" and "You are my rock" about 200 times during the chorus, refrain AND bridge.

At least when I spend $60.00 on "Grand Theft Auto 6 - KillWhoresWithAChainsawLand", I'm honest about it.