Is white praise music off limits for corporate sponsorship?
Earlier this morning, the top news story on Google News's U.S. page was "Chevrolet blends marketing, religion." Yes, it was beating the sniper story. (Google News uses algorithms, not human editors, to choose stories and their placement, so this means that Google's search engine saw many articles on this topic being posted and thought the story was particularly hot.)
In the past, Chevrolet has sponsored countless concerts and music tours, from rock to jazz to country—even gospel music. But its sponsorship of the Come Together and Worship tour, with Michael W. Smith, Third Day, and Max Lucado, has Jewish groups and others upset.
"America is increasingly multiethnic and multireligious. So, for an American icon like Chevrolet to link itself to one religion, Christianity, and then one specific group within Christianity is divisive," American Jewish Committee spokesman Rabbi James Rudin told the Detroit Free Press, which first reported the opposition. "The majority of Americans are not evangelical Christians and it would be very, very bad business for Chevrolet to put the idea into people's minds that they're the evangelical brand."
The Free Press story was picked up by the Associated Press, The New York Times, and other papers. The Times reports that Christian Music Trade Association president Frank Breeden and Rudin spent yesterday debating the issue on the talk show circuit.
"Every religion has representatives in the United States, and we're all in this together, especially at a time like this," Rudin told the Times. "I think it's a very divisive way of reaching the public. … Chevrolet is talking about the 'family values' of this market, but nobody has a monopoly on ...1