Bracelets with the initials WWJD—”What Would Jesus Do?”—may have been popular a few years ago, but they weren’t often seen on the wrists of A-list celebrities.
Now, celebrities are actually sporting Christian-themed merchandise, though not necessarily as a sign of faith.
A variety of shirts, hats and other fashion accessories featuring Jesus and Mary are popping up in Hollywood, with some observers saying the fad results from Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”
A Web site called TeenageMillionaire.com sells some of these products. The “Jesus Is My Homeboy” hat sells for $22, and the “Mary Is My Homegirl” tee sells for $32. Several other Christian-themed items are also available.
“We were way ahead of the curve on the Jesus fashion thing,” wrote TeenageMillionaire.com founders Dougie Williams and Chris Hoy on their site.
“Although we are quite sure that the success of Mel’s film is in a large part due to our reinterpretation of this classic iconography,” they joked, “we are not going to hold our collective breaths waiting for a cut of the gross.”
“We looked at the popular icons of the 20th century and Jesus definitely topped the list,” Hoy said in a Fox News article. “This shirt has been in our line for about three years, but it’s just now getting all the popularity. The movie’s out; there’s just a big buzz.”
“The Passion of the Christ” has grossed upwards of $360 million in the United States alone.
“It’s a fun, little Hollywood trend that was sparked by the success of the movie,” E! Networks lifestyle director Elycia Rubin told Fox News. “Obviously, fashion influences movies and movies influence fashion.”
Some of the celebrities who have worn the “Christian chic” are Ben Affleck, Madonna, Pamela Anderson and Ashton Kutcher.
TeenageMillionaire.com is just one of several companies selling Christian-themed fashions.
Another Christian apparel company, New York-based Datomana, sells tees with logos like “God Is Good,” “Jesus Loves Me” and “Fear No Evil.”
The Kerusso company, based in Berryville, Ark., tells consumers to “Change Your Shirt, Change The World.”
Kerusso offers some edgier shirts, while still marketing to church groups. It features tees with messages like “My Savior Is Tougher Than Nails” and “Soak Up The Son.”
“It’s everywhere. It’s at all the stores,” Craig Gross, founder of the anti-porn site XXXchurch.com, told Fox News about the trend. “This is the latest thing. A lot of people are wearing them not because they want to display their relationship with God, but because it’s the cool thing to do.”
Cliff Vaughn is culture editor for EthicsDaily.com.