Not sure how applicable the term “counterculture” is here. Are conservative Armaggedonite Christians countercultural? The current connotation of the word is “new age” and/or “hippie,” but seems like there are just as many holy rollers embracing the end as any other group.
This is an interesting point, and speaks to issues raised elsewhere in these pages, and in my 2012 book description as ‘the commodification of countercultural values’. When “new age” and “hippie” values are co-opted by the mainstream (chiefly mainstream commerce) in the way they are in the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) demographic, how can they be described as countercultural: surely they are simply cultural?
At the same time, conservative Christians who live according to their beliefs are in many ways countercultural, as they run counter to a secular, liberal mainstream culture. What’s the most countercultural example of sexuality on TV at the moment? I’d argue it’s Bill Henrickson’s polygamous family on Big Love. A fundamentalist Mormon hardly springs to mind as countercultural, but his polygamous lifestyle is wildly countercultural, and his desire to normalise it in the eyes of the community makes him something of a radical (albeit wearing a suit and tie). In a couple of conversations recently with more mission-minded Christians, I’ve bought the issue up of framing Christianity as a countercultural movement, and their eyes have lit up: from a cynical point of view they see the value of being countercultural in the eyes of the Boomer generation, who fetishized the countercultural to the point of suffocating it, and of course the young are always interested in that which superficially passes for radical; more genuinely, the gospel message is inherently radical and countercultural, both in a historical and contemporary context.
So in short, I think the term works in the title from whichever direction it’s viewed, even if those views aren’t themselves necessarily reconcilable.