Measuring GPMs: The God-O-Meter

I often chide “Christian” music which simply takes whatever pop form is currently commercially successful (say, boy bands or Britney-like pop tunes) and then merely substitutes “Christian” lyrics. I like to refer to this as ramping up the “JPMs”–the “Jesus-per-minute” factor. The strategy is one of naive sanctification–as if “holy” lyrics somehow save or redeem the form.

I was reminded of this when the NYT’s “The Caucus” Blog pointed to Beliefnet’s “God-O-Meter” (pronounced Gah-DOM-meter). According to the site:

The God-o-Meter (pronounced Gah-DOM-meter) scientifically measures factors such as rate of God-talk, effectiveness—saying God wants a capital gains tax cut doesn’t guarantee a high rating—and other top-secret criteria. Click a candidate’s head to get his or her latest God-o-Meter reading and blog post. And check back often. With so much happening on the campaign trail, God-o-Meter is constantly recalibrating!

GPMs on the campaign trail, JPMs on the music charts–same ridiculous strategy: ramping up the semantic references to the divine hardly redeems the surrounding politics or commercialized music. References to God don’t thereby sanctify or redeem domestic policies that oppress the poor or foreign policy that breeds war. In fact, if Jewish prophets have anything to say about it, ramping up the GPMs only makes this worse (see Jeremiah 7). Better to be honest oppressors than pretending to cover your oppression with God-talk.