The Christian Crusade was the brainchild of Billy James Hargis, an ordained minister in the Disciples of Christ denomination. Hargis founded his avowedly anti-communist ministry and political action organization in 1950, demonstrating a keen knack for mixed media marketing from the very start as he frequently appeared on radio and television, lectured widely, released countless records, and publish ed pamphlets and books. (For additional items that Hargis produced, see: For God and Country, Disarmament and the Phoenix Papers, and "The Marxist Minstrels," below.) Among his most famous publicity stunts, Hargis helped organize (on behalf of the International Council of Christian Churches) the release in West Germany of 100,000 balloons featuring printed Bible quotations that were intended to float into the Soviet-aligned nations behind the Iron Curtain, a project that ran from 1953 to 1958. As conduits for his evangelism, Hargis also founded the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Church of the Christian Crusade and American Christian College, both of which provided him with a base from which to draw supporters for his political causes.
The reusable trash bag pictured here is one example of Hargis’ creative marketing tools. The message of cataclysmic choice reads, in part: “As you deposit your trash in this handy litter bag, remember . . . as this trash would deface the countryside, godless communism would permanently deface America—annihilate Christianity—and enslave your children.”