#69 – Megachurches. Religious beliefs are not entirely unpalatable to the bogan. After all, most organised religions offer immediate forgiveness of sins, the prospect of everlasting bliss, a sense of belonging, and the capacity for miracles that will bail the bogan out of the situations that it gets itself in as a result of its own negligence. But with the proliferation of bright lights, loud noises, and shiny gadgets in the last few decades, worshipping marketing-driven consumerism has to a large extent usurped the stoic Christian heritage of many bogans’ ancestors.
Like the vengeful force that modern Christian advertising portrays him not to be, God has struck back on these desecrations of his temple. He has sought to conquer the glitzy, schmaltzy, commercialised modern world by… bringing it inside a church and selling it to bogans. Well, at least that’s what Brian and Bobby Houston have done, the senior pastors of the Hillsong Church. This Pentecostal megachurch emerged in Western Sydney in the 1990s, sporting the jumping, singing, and clapping that has been exported from the most morally reprehensible churches in the South of the United States. The bogan greatly enjoyed being immersed in this colour and sound, and was doubly thrilled to learn that there was much merchandise that could also be acquired. The bogan does not measure the strength of a belief or affiliation through dedication or quiet contemplation, the only known calibration is the purchase and display of prominently branded products. And purchase they did.
Hillsong has turned itself into a commercial juggernaut, releasing over 40 albums, holding enormous Amway-esque conferences, spawning offshoot Hillsong locations, and even creating a television program with a global reach. In return, the church asks only for a vague acknowledgement of family values, affiliation sometimes referred to as “spectator religion”. Considering that bogans prefer to be entertained than to do things, it’s a snug fit. Not content in its own bubble, this insidious undertaking has sought to utilise its newly loyal bogan army in the task of reshaping Australia. Politicians from both of the mainstream parties have attempted to curry favour with the congregation. This did not work well, as curry is a dish from a non-Christian country. The final reason that bogans love Hillsong, is that the church encourages them to watch Australian Idol.
At the command of the pastors, Hillsong’s bogans vote in large blocks for Idol contestants who giddily gush about their religious beliefs on the program. It’s sheer bogan catnip that their commercial music church ordains reality television celebrities, ensuring that the bogan will keep coming back to the church for each episode. Guy Sebastian.