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The Moral Substitute

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Hey, kids! Let's play Faith and Redemption, the Christian-blessed alternative to Magic!

"Can't you see? You're not making Christianity better, you're just making rock n' roll worse."
Hank Hill on Christian Rock, King of the Hill

Sometimes even Moral Guardians have to accept that The New Rock & Roll isn't going away. They can't stop people from watching/reading/playing/listening to it, and even if they succeed in instituting a Censorship Bureau, it's still not up to their standards.

Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. If those works aren't up to their standards, they will make works that are. And they can even throw in a message about their beliefs and views in these works. Thus they make The Moral Substitute. So now all those children can have their fun, while their responsible parents don't have to worry about that strange new music they didn't grow up on. Everybody wins and nobody loses, right?

If everything works out, sure. However, almost by definition, creating the Moral Substitute means directly competing with what it is the substitute of, while explicitly targeting a more specific demographic. Imagine creating a competitor to Coke and Pepsi but targeting only middle-aged mothers at the expense of appeal to the general population. If that sounds like a troubling investment to you, then you see why production values tend to be lower. Adding to the complications of course is the need to produce absolutely nothing even mildly offensive to the specific demographic you are targeting. Put it all together and the Moral Substitute suffers from a reputation of being an overly bland case of Follow the Leader. And those that weren't offended by the original are very unlikely to embrace this product (even if they are technically part of the target demographic).


Of course if you are in the target demographic you just might appreciate something catering to your particular mindset. Cue possibly small but reliable following. Enough of this exists to keep the phenomenon going as new media fads emerge.

As one might expect works may end up Totally Radical and/or Poor Man's Substitute, and might give the impression that morality is Popularity Power and breed the message that moral acts are worth performing only if they're "cool". Not only will that make even the most moral people cynical about morality, but kids who have already declared themselves or have been declared by others as uncool will not be deterred - and in fact might even be encouraged - to do bad things, especially if they wanted to be bad in the first place.

This trope is named for American Protestants and evangelicalsnote . They are unusually, and famously, vigilant Moral Guardians (that trope's also named for them), they represent an enormous market, and their sheer doggedness has turned this trope into an entire subculture with its own music, movies, books (including booksellers), and video games, some of them of genuinely high-quality and able to compete with "mainstream" works toe to toe. (Evanescence in music and VeggieTales in animation, for example.) But it is not limited to them, not by any stretch of the imagination. The global spread of American popular culture (just maybe funded by the CIA) forced the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact to work very hard at this. They created their own Boy Scouts, their own pop music, their own action movies, their own Westerns, even their own chewing gum, in a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to keep out that decadent bourgeois stuff from the West. There are even Nazi examples of this trope, from both the original article and from neo-Nazi groups.


This is a Super-Trope of Christian Rock (US evangelical Protestants like to call themselves "Christians", to the exclusion of everyone else), but less so than you'd expect, especially as time has gone by. While it may have been true in the genre's early days, since then Christian Rock has evolved in different directions from the rest of rock and carved out a separate identity, and the genres don't match very closely; they have fairly little in common today beyond the name and the use of guitars. Not to be confused with Good Counterpart.

Compare and contrast Religious Edutainment, which similarly aspires to teach morality but doesn't necessarily mimic secular works.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Superbook, which was produced in part by CBN and is marketed as the safe alternative to "Satanic" anime like Dragon Ball Z.

     Asian Animation 
  • Proving that Tropes Are Tools, one of the first successful animated movies produced in South Korea, Robot Taekwon V, owes its origin to this phenomenon. At the time, Japanese cultural exports were strictly forbidden in South Korea as a result of World War II, but many children there were still fans of anime such as Mazinger Z. This inspired Kim Cheong-Gi to create his own animated Humongous Mecha movie aimed specifically at a Korean audience, which later spawned theatrical sequels.

    Comic Books 
  • The Eagle was launched by an Anglican vicar who saw local children reading adult-oriented American horror comics, and wanted them to read more wholesome material. He made sure to focus on quality, and brought out a very popular and fondly remembered comic which gave us Dan Dare (who was originally created as a sort of military chaplain in space, but changed to a straightforward pilot to better appeal to children).
  • Spire Christian Comics, a Christian comic book publisher during The '70s which included a series of comics featuring a version of Archie Comics featuring the characters as Christians — yes, red-headed Archie Andrews and his friends appearing in comics with an explicitly overt Christian message, not Expys of the Riverdale High bunch.note .
  • The Jewish Superman clone "Shaloman", who'll help anyone who shouts "eOy vey!".
  • Author Todd Hignite suggested that Chick Tracts were made as a substitute for Tijuana Bibles (Short, pornographic, Underground Comics typically featuring unauthorized appearances of copyrighted characters). They both have similar format, writing styles, and try to appeal to similar demographic, with Chick tracts instead focusing on Evangelicalism as opposed to Rule 34. But in doing so, Jack Chick was Two Decades Behind, because by the time he started drawing his tracts in The '60s, the Tijuana Bibles had largely disappeared (replaced by the countercultural Underground Comics movement).
  • Back during the manga bubble in the mid 2000's, quite a few OEL Christian "manga" were made, most infamously Serenity. There were also a manga adaptation of The Bible.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mallard Fillmore was launched as a conservative counterpart to the left-leaning Doonesbury. It's not unusual for newspapers to run both strips side-by-side.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Gamera was originally intended be a more kid-friendly alternative to Godzilla, featuring a relatively non-threatening, Friend to All Children giant monster in a series that was lighter on the carnage and senseless death. The '90s reboot tried to move away from this origin, but Gamera the Brave whole-heartedly embraced it.
  • High School Musical is a pretty tame movie series, but there is still a religious alternative: Sunday School Musical, released by The Asylum under their Faith Films imprint - although in this case, the reduced production values aren't due to this trope so much as due to the M.O. of The Asylum being reduced production values.
  • In order to counter the allegedly less-than-flattering portrayal that the 1996 film adaptation of Evita gave to Eva Perón, the Argentinian government commissioned Eva Perón: The True Story, a dueling movie released that same year.
  • The Marriage Chronicles has a cover reminiscent of Love Actually and similarly boasts the concept of following multiple couples and their love lives, but the film comes down heavy on the "saved" aspect of Christianity and it's all married couples.
  • Old Fashioned was deliberately positioned as this to the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey, down to both films being released on the same date (Valentine's Day 2015).
  • Romper Stomper is about a gang of skinheads. The director wanted to show them listening to racist music, but he didn't want to give exposure and royalties to the real thing, so he hired politically acceptable local bands to create original racist rock to be played during the film. In this case it is the artists, rather than the art, who are the moral substitute.
  • A Matter of Faith serves as this for God's Not Dead. The original film argues that evolution is true and compatible with Christianity. This film provides creationists with a film that's similar but advances that perspective.
  • This is pretty much the reason why the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (lit.  Festival of Filipino Films) was established. Appalled by the shameless commercialization through Christmas Rushed films viewed by indie and auteur filmmakers as low-brow trash with no artistic or literary merit, the PPP was conceived as a more intellectual alternative to the Network Decay that plagued the Metro Manila Film Festival in recent years.
  • The producers of the 2017 period musical Ang Larawan cited similar reasons as to why they came up with the film, describing it as an "alternative" to the countless rom-coms and horror movies mainstream studios churn out every so often, though they did not necessarily intend to compete toe-to-toe with the big-ticket entries.

    Food & Drink 
  • A whole industry of vegetarian products exists to provide replacements for burgers, bacon, and other meat products. Tofu is the best-known meat substitute in the West. There is also turkey bacon and ham for people who do eat meat but don't eat pork (those who keep kosher or halal dietary laws, for example).
  • Non-alcoholic wine, beer — and whiskey for some reason. Ariel non-alcoholic wine even managed to win some awards.
  • Many soft drinks started out as (or were later marketed as) "temperance beverages", alternatives to intoxicating liquor. Coca-Cola specifically marketed itself as "The Great Temperance Beverage" around the turn of the 20th century — even though it had begun life as a hangover cure, and its original formula had included cocaine. More recently, they've been rediscovered by the Straight Edge movement (itself described in more detail below) for the same reason; former Minor Threat guitarist Brian Baker has a tattoo of the Coca-Cola logo to reflect his love of the non-alcoholic drink, which CM Punk homaged with a Pepsi logo tattoo.
  • Coffee is a common substitute for alcohol; the word "coffee" comes from an Arabic word for "wine", and was originally introduced to the West as "the wine of Arabia." It's popular with religions that forbid alcohol use, such as Islam and some Christian churches — although Mormonism bans both wine and coffee. (For a while, the Mormons drank ephedrines instead.)
  • Coffee also became a Moral Substitute for tea during The American Revolution, because several tax and trade acts that involved tea really pissed off the Americans. Patriots disavowed tea as a symbol of British injustice, but still needed their caffeine, causing a rise in the popularity of coffee. (It also helped that during that period, 80% of the world's coffee was grown in Haiti, which was (1) fairly close to the Americans and (2) a possession of France, an American ally.) At the same time, tea became the moral substitute to both coffee and chocolate in the British Empire, as it was grown in British colonies rather than its rivals, as chocolate and coffee were. For this reason, tea drinking was seen as patriotic in England the way coffee drinking was in America.
  • In regard to cola itself, there are strange, mutually-exclusive Conspiracy Theories that either Coca-Cola, or Pepsi, or both are anti-Muslim or pro-Israel (not that the Conspiracy Theorists in question make any distinction between the two; both are agents of American capitalist imperialism). Some fundamentalist Muslims reject cola altogether (which is strange since Muslims first introduced most of the world to the kola nut), while others have created a number of alternatives like Mecca-Cola, Qibla-Cola, and Zamzam (created when sanctions against Iran prevented importation of Coke or Pepsi). This can only be further complicated by SodaStream, a home soda maker that advertises its natural ingredients, lack of High-Fructose Corn Syrup, and independence from the big companies, but has a factory in the West Bank.
  • After World War II, Coca-Cola became associated with American hegemony, which resulted in many socialists and Marxists in Western Europe opting for Pepsi instead. For years, Coke was not available in communist Laos, but Pepsi was.
  • During the postwar, pre-civil rights era, Pepsi was also the moral substitute for Coca-Cola among African Americans. Walter Mack, the president of Pepsi-Cola during The '40s, was a staunch progressive who noticed that most advertising at the time either ignored black people or employed ethnic stereotypes. Concluding that the "Negro market" was an untapped well, in 1947 he hired an all-black sales team led by Edward F. Boyd to create aspirational ads that depicted happy, well-off black people drinking Pepsi, hire famous jazz singers like Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton to endorse the soft drink, and highlight the support that the chairman of Coca-Cola had given to the segregationist Georgia governor Herman Talmadge. When they got threatened by the Ku Klux Klan for it, they simply used those threats to burnish their anti-racist credentials. While the advertising was cut back after Mack's departure in 1950 out of fear that Pepsi was becoming a "black drink" (a sentiment expressed in far less polite terms) and alienating white consumers, African Americans' affection for Pepsi stuck around through The '50s; during that time, black people were three times more likely to buy Pepsi than Coke.
  • Confucius supposedly promoted chopsticks as an alternative to forks and knives, which he equated with violence. It wound up sticking, such that chopsticks are now inextricably associated by Westerners with East Asian cuisine. However, forks were not commonly used as eating utensils anywhere until about 1500 years after chopsticks gained widespread use in China.
  • After Chick-fil-A head Dan Cathy expressed his opposition to same-sex marriage, several liberal activists posted online recipes for "non-homophobic" alternatives to the restaurant's chicken sandwiches, while others advocated patronizing KFC instead. Conversely, Chick-fil-A became the moral substitute for other fast-food places for conservative Christians, especially after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz expressed support for gay marriage.
  • The Chasidic-created McDavid's chain, which is a little odd since McDonald's already operates kosher restaurants in Israel.
  • Star Spangled Ice Cream, a defunct brand of ice cream that tried to be the "conservative, patriotic" answer to Ben and Jerry's. Flavors followed similar naming conventions, but had a conservative twist. Flavors included "Smaller Governmint", "Iraqi Road", "Gun Nut", and "I Hate the French Vanilla".
  • In the early 19th century, abolitionists in New England attempted to cultivate sugar beets, or "free sugar", as a moral substitute for cane sugar, which were grown with slave labor on plantations in the Caribbean. However, the power of the slaveholding Southern states blocked serious government investment in cultivation to make beet sugar more palatable compared to cane sugar, and beet sugar remained a curiosity until the 20th century.
    • A similar effort was spearheaded by Napoleon in Europe, promoting beet sugar as patriotic against the "English" cane sugar. As there was actually a practical reason (imports of cane sugar from the Caribbeans and the American continent had been almost completely cut off due the concurrency of the Continental System, the Royal Navy blockade of Europe and the Haitian Revolution) this effort was far more successful, with beet sugar cornering the market and remaining the preferred sugar in the entire continent to this day.
  • Nowadays, vegetarians may prefer beet sugar as well, since a lot of white cane sugar is whitened by filtering with animal bone char. Other alternatives include crystallized sugarcane juice and cane sugar that hasn't been completely whitened, such as turbinado. All these alternatives have somewhat different flavors from white cane sugar; turbinado, for instance, contains molasses and is therefore similar to light brown sugar, though usually drier and coarser.
  • On a more successful level, this is part of the reason why the northeastern United States has such a large maple syrup industry. While it had been used as a sweetener since before Europeans arrived, abolitionists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries recognized it as a high-quality sweetener that didn't require intensive slave labor to harvest. The fact that it was made in America, and thus didn't have to be imported from European-owned sugar islands in the Caribbean, also gave it a patriotic appeal.
  • In 1977, Anita Bryant, a '60s pop singer and spokesperson for the Florida Citrus Commission, became an outspoken anti-LGBT activist, launching the Save Our Children campaign to push for the repeal of anti-discrimination ordinances in Miami and elsewhere. Many LGBT rights supporters responded by boycotting the Florida orange juice that she promoted; since most of the US' orange production comes from Florida, this meant effectively boycotting orange juice in general unless one could prove it was sourced from elsewhere. One consequence of this was that gay bars in the US could no longer serve screwdrivers, which were made from orange juice and vodka, and so instead, they came up with the "Anita Bryant Cocktail", which swapped out the orange juice for apple juice, with proceeds going to support LGBT rights activism.
  • Since Catholics are required to abstain from meat on Fridays, they tend to eat a lot of seafood on that day instead, since the rule only applies to land animals. In fact, it's for this reason that the first non-burger item that McDonald's added to its menu was the Filet-O-Fish: it was invented by Lou Groen, a McDonald's franchise operator in a largely Catholic neighborhood in Cincinnati who noticed that sales regularly took a plunge every Friday, so he came up with a fish-burger. Ray Kroc recognized the market as well but didn't like Groen's idea, and invented the Hula burger - a slice of grilled pineapple with cheese on a bun - in response. Kroc was so confident about it that he made a wager with Groen - whichever one sold better in a test market would become a regular menu item. The fish won by a landslide.
  • Some especially strict churches use grape juice in their Communions so the congregants don't drink any "sinful" alcohol. Of course, if a big part of the ministry involves addiction counselling, and therefore many of the congregants are recovering alcoholics, serving them real wine is probably counter-productive. There's also the issue of giving alcohol to underage members of the congregation, which may or may not be exempted in a given area's law. Since wine *is* grape juice, it's seen as "close enough" and reasoned that the important part is the ritual, rather than its components (it's still a shock to find that a church you're visiting goes with the opposite of the one you were raised on).
  • Bubble gum and sunflower seeds are popular stand-ins among baseball players for chewing tobacco. In fact, Big League Chew is shredded bubble gum packaged in the same manner as chewing tobacco.


  • Several churches, appalled at the pagan influences of Halloween and the monsters seen in traditional haunted houses, have taken to doing "Halloween alternative" parties like the "March of Saints" as done in Catholic parishes in the Philippines and elsewhere, wherein children disguise themselves as Biblical figures or saints. Some take this to extremes by setting up "hell houses," in which the attendees are shown scenes meant to portray the decadence of secular culture, finally ending in a room occupied by Satan, claiming that all of the characters they had seen are now firmly in his grasp. This was parodied in King of the Hill and The Simpsons (though Flanders runs a "Heck House") In the worst of these, the Hell House is marketed as a normal haunted house, and is thus a Bait-and-Switch, and in some the attendees must either agree to be saved (i.e. become born-again Christians) or must traverse the length of the building in order to get out. The whole concept is parodied in a Something*Positive sequence starting here. Perhaps more common are the Harvest festivals and parties, which feature game booths, contests, and the requisite candy, typically hosted in whatever part of the church has an open floor and forgoing the ghouls-and-ghosts theme (converting the holiday into Thanksgiving Lite).
    • Alternatively, some who do celebrate Halloween instead made it a point to dress up as fictional characters or celebrities in lieu of the usual ghoulish if not outright demonic costumes, either due to religious concerns or simply because the aforementioned occult or monster costumes can be disturbing to some regardless of beliefs.
    • Christmas and Easter even started out as Christian substitutes for pagan celebrations (this is actually sort of debated, though there are certainly pagan influences). Jehovah's Witnesses cite these origins and refuse to celebrate them. Other more devout Christians have complained about the commercialization and secularization of Christmas, so this might be coming full circle. Then again, this could count as an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, as seeing signs for Christmas shopping a month in advance before Halloween would annoy anyone.
  • With the growing awareness of Christopher Columbus' genocidal treatment of native tribes, there's been a movement in the U.S. to replace the observance of Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day or Native American Day, with several cities and states doing so.
  • Similarly, some American Indians observe a National Day of Mourning instead of American Thanksgiving, seeing the latter holiday as a reminded of the genocidal treatment and assaults on their culture by white settlers.
  • Easter Bunny alternatives:
    • Easter Lambs and their moulds are marketed to Christian consumers who wish to avoid pagan symbolism and associate the season with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are a reference to Jesus being known as the Lamb of God.
    • The Easter Bilby is a native, conservation-themed equivalent available in Australia, where the rabbit is an introduced pest.

  • Frank Peretti is essentially the Christian counterpart to Stephen King, with his emphasis on horror-related tropes. For the most part it's a bit downplayed, as his books can come across as Darker and Edgier compared to most Christian fiction. In a more played-straight sense, his Cooper Kids series is essentially a Christian counterpart to Indiana Jones. However, unlike many other attempts to tell a Christian version of Indiana Jones, Peretti remembers to keep the stories fun. It helps that they started out as campfire stories.
  • SpineChillers Mysteries, a Christian answer to Goosebumps. Similar cover font and art design, but all the spooky stuff turns out to be faked (because Satan has no real power), and prayer works coincidental miracles. Strangely enough, there were alternate printings of the books that took out the more overt religious references.
  • Kirishin, a Christian publisher in Japan, has held multiple contets for Christian light novels.
  • The rise of cheesy Airport Novel and techno-thrillers from authors such as Tom Clancy and Dan Brown found its moral substitute with the Left Behind series: Fundamentalist Christians try to stop the Antichrist with high-tech weaponry. It spawned a lot of imitations; many books like this start out like normal "apocalypse" books (with the usual waking up one day to find something wrong, everybody in a frenzy), but slowly everything starts becoming Jesus-related.
    • Christian Nation is this to the Left Behind series, only told from the secularist POV and with the roles reversed.
    • The Last Days Trilogy tells the same story as Left Behind, but preaches a pre-wrath Rapture instead of a pre-Tribulation Rapture.
    • For those who prefer the preterist interpretation of the Book of Revelation, The Last Disciple series by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer has you covered, with its story sticking closer to the latter end of the 1st Century AD.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia weren't written as this, although C. S. Lewis was very conscious of and open about his inclusion of Christian themes in the books. However, these days (especially after The Film of the Book in 2005), it seems to be treated as such against secular kid-lit fantasy lines like Harry Potter. Still, the Narnia fanbase isn't entirely composed of Christians.
    • His Dark Materials was written as a substitute for the Narnia books — from an antitheist viewpoint.note 
    • Also directly subverted in Lewis' other multi-book morality play, The Space Trilogy — the books start out as a very upfront religious allegory and then turn out to secretly be political allegory instead, with the somewhat Christian-unfriendly aesop that violence is sometimes necessary to do good (granted, this concept also turns up in the Narnia novels and was played up in the big-screen adaptations).
  • The 2017 book The Little Lamb from Bethlehem is the Christian counterpart to the 2005 Christmas book The Elf on the Shelf. It even comes with its own plush lamb and book gift set, just like The Elf on the Shelf, but relating to The Nativity instead.
  • The inspirational romance genre is the moral substitute for steamy, bodice-ripping romances. While the above link to the Other Wiki doesn't note it, leading publisher Harlequin has a successful imprint (Steeple Hill) that only turns out books of this kind using the parent company's Strictly Formula approach.
    • Taking this methodology a step farther, there exists Christian spanking porn. Of course, the makers deny that it's porn at all and prefer the term "Christian domestic discipline romance fiction". They claim it was created for Christian couples to explore what God intended for marriage (i.e. According to the makers, He wants husbands to spank their wives) without having to look at anything icky.
    • Similarly, there's also a significant number of "Amish romance" books for a Christian audience that seem to be intended as a moral substitute for Fifty Shades of Grey style books. Many actual Amish people aren't amused by this, since the authors are typically not themselves Amish and they feel it portrays an inaccurate version of their lifestyle that's actually a mouthpiece for evangelical Christian values, especially around concepts of sexuality and salvation, that they do not share.
  • The Twelve Candles Club is a Christian — specifically, conservative evangelical — alternative to what the author saw as filth and immorality found in secular preteen novel series like The Babysitters Club. The approach is... odd. Basically, each book starts with a fairly standard BSC-style plotline, the characters make it to the second-to-last chapter without mentioning religion in any way, but then, when all hope seemed lost, one of them would suggest that the group pray about their problem. They would do so, and the problem would suddenly be solved by some miraculous coincidence.
  • Some reviewers consider Twilight to be the moral substitute for other vampire and romance novels, such as the works of Anne Rice, which are generally less pro-abstinence. More than that, this series of Livejournal posts makes a pretty solid argument that it's the Mormon Alternative, especially since Stephenie Meyer is a practicing Mormon.
  • The New Basic Readers were a series of grade school primers published in the 1930s through the 1960s, featuring, among other characters, Dick and Jane. They were published for the public school market. A division of this company, the New Cathedral Basic Readers, were the Catholic School equivalent. They kept all the secular stories of the original, but would add a few religious-themed stories (ie, the kids read a Bible story, or buy a Blessed Mother necklace for their mom, or have a nun for their teacher).
    • There was also a version for Seventh-Day Adventist schools.
  • Older Than Radio: "Anti-Tom" literature, or plantation literature, was a genre that was popular in the Southern US in the 1850s. Written to counter Uncle Tom's Cabin and the damning portrayal it gave of plantation slavery, such books instead sought to "tell the truth" about slavery, romanticizing it as a noble system that existed for the good of black people. Abolitionists were frequently used as strawmen, presented as either misguided idealists and do-gooders who didn't know what they were talking about, or moustache-twirling Damn Yankee villains who were conspiring to destroy the Southern way of life. In turn, after the Civil War, the slave narrative emerged as a substitute for the substitute, seeking to portray the harsh realities of the old slavery system.
  • The Truax was written in The '80s by Terri Birkett, the wife of a hardwood flooring factory owner, and published by the National Oak Flooring Manufacturers' Association as a counter to Dr. Seuss' environmentalist tale The Lorax.
  • Jerel Law's series Son of Angels openly advertises itself as the Christian alternative to the work of Rick Riordan, whose popular young adult-oriented series (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, etc.) draw upon Greek, Egyptian, and Roman mythology for their universes and characters.
  • Vox Day wrote his novel A Throne of Bones (The start of his Arts of Dark and Light series) as a "literary rebuke" to the popular fantastic series A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • If David Eddings is to be believed, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Idylls of the King is essentially a moral substitute for the more violent and bawdy Le Morte D Arthur.
  • The Berenstain Bears started out as a secular series of children's books, but when Stan Berenstain died in 2005, his son Mike took over the series and began incorporating Christian elements, including a Christian-themed spinoff series called Living Lights. Mike has stated that this was because of the fandom the series had among Christian parents; while he and his family were Jewish, and Jan and Stan Berenstain had long insisted that the series be secular so as to keep their appeal as broad as possible (hence why there was never a Hanukkah-themed book), the books' G-rated morality made them a hit among Christians, leading Mike to write new books aimed at them for a Christian publisher.
  • G.P. Taylor's Shadowmancer series is considered the Christian alternative to the Harry Potter book series.
  • The Book of a Mujhadeen was written by Chechen terrorist leader Shamil Basayev as a radical Islamic version of Brazilian author Paulo Coelho's The Manual of the Warrior of Light, a esoteric Christian book that teaches there is a "warrior of light" inside each of us. Basayev was impressed with it enough that he used it to draw the benefits of becoming a mujhadeen, so he admits in the introduction of rewriting most of it, removing all the excesses and adding Quranic verses, hadiths and stories of the lives of Muhammed's companions, as well as sections about guerilla warfare and ambush tactics.
  • Spiritally Correct Bedtime Stories serves as this to Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, with the political correctness of the latter replaced by heavy religious themes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fox News created two shows that aimed to be the conservative version of the left-wing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
    • The Half Hour News Hour, it was not as well-received and was soon cancelled.
    • Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld worked out better thanks to it having better time slots,note  and being more of an imitation of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn (which wasn't a left-leaning show anyway) rather than the Daily Show.
  • Fox News itself once styled itself as the moral substitute to left-leaning news sources. They gave up after they realized putting talking heads of both sides on together was not enough to prevent ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, and CNBC from decrying Fox's bias. MSNBC has become the go-to cable news channel for liberals in turn.
  • And, bringing it full circle, the One America News Network and Newsmax TV are marketed to those who believe that Fox News' generally conservative lean (especially in their daytime and weekend news programming, which skews less explicitly partisan than their Prime Time Talk Show hosts) isn't conservative enough. Donald Trump often promoted OAN and Newsmax whenever he felt that Fox News went too hard on his policies, and after the 2020 Presidential election (where Fox News was the first to call the pivotal swing state of Arizona for Joe Biden), both networks saw a surge in viewership, with Trump reportedly considering buying Newsmax and turning it into his own personal cable news network.
  • All TV channels owned by the Venezuelan government. All of them try, with various grades of success, to promote an "alternative" view to the "imperialist" (read: American) channels, who means that most shows are devoted to how wonderful the government is and how evil the oppressors are. One of the channels was deliberately built as an "socialist" alternative to commercial channels, and even is trying to do "social" Soap Operas. It seems that the effort is not working, though; the combined ratings of all government channels are inferior to the least popular of the commercial channels, and even the directors of some of those channels admit that they are not attracting enough viewers.
  • The requirements various countries have of a mandated amount of locally produced TV and film. This was famously lampooned by the Canadian Sketch Comedy show SCTV, which had to fill Canadian TV's extra two minutes per half-hour with "Required Canadian Content". Miffed at the fact that a Canadian production, with all-Canadian writers, actors, and producers, was not enough in and of itself to meet requirements, they decided to fill those two minutes with all of the most over-the-top Canadian stereotypes they could possibly cram into two minutes. The result was Bob & Doug McKenzie, who became so popular that they not only eventually made it into the American feed of the show, but they were the only characters on the series to have their own feature film, in the form of Strange Brew.
  • The PAX television network was intended to be a family-friendly alternative to the major broadcast networks, but ended up being mostly infomercials and reruns, along with at least two notable originals (Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye and Billy Ray Cyrus as Doc). It's since changed its name to ION and its programming now consists entirely of infomercials and reruns, with the occasional movie during prime time hours (including, oddly enough, Hogfather during the Christmas season). It later consisted of reruns from CBS primetime shows, including Ghost Whisperer, NCIS, and Criminal Minds, indicators of some definite Network Decay.
    • ION is now producing its own scripted series again with Saving Hope, but it's too soon to tell if that series will turn out to be this trope applied to series like Grey's Anatomy or House, or more of a Follow the Leader, or something else entirely.
  • NET was America's first non-commercial, public service TV network, and was funded by the Ford Foundation and other non-profits starting in 1952 in order to supply educational programming and serve as an alternative to the Lowest Common Denominator fare on the commercial networks. However, it never emerged as a serious competitor to commercial TV, and by 1967 it started to accept government funding in the form of the public Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Two years later, new President Richard Nixon, a firm opponent of NET's editorial stance, created PBS, another non-commercial network, in order to "keep NET in line politically" with the threat of being shut down in favor of PBS. NET management did not listen. In 1970, NET aired a documentary about the deceptive businesses of large US banks, and an infuriated Nixon essentially shut NET down by the fall of that year, with PBS getting the CPB's funding instead.
  • Dooley and Pals was one of many Barney & Friends imitators, with the same premise of kids hanging out with a fantasy creature, but a Christian-themed version of it was created alongside the secular version, under the name "The Dooley and Pals Show Children's Ministry". The only change made for the Children's Ministry version is that the "Fun Facts" segment is replaced with "Fun Bible Facts", with bible quotations relating to the episode's Aesop. note  Other variants on the Barney theme include:
    • The songs from the 1990s show The Reppies were (awkwardly) redubbed to mention God for airing on Christian-oriented channels such as Smile of a Child.
    • The Huggabug Club aired on both Smile of a Child and PBS. There is a trio of costumed characters, one of which is implied to be Jewish, and references are occasionally made to both Judaism and Christianity.
    • Colby's Clubhouse is more direct and deliberate, with the titular anthropomorphic computer telling his large troupe of singing, dancing children about God and referring to the Bible. It did have a spinoff called "Colby's Place", a Christian KidCom mocked by Chadtronic here.
    • The Donut Man, starring Rob Evans. It gave birth to the Almighty Loaf.
  • Bibleman is a moral substitute for superheroes/superhero shows in general. Unlike some alternatives however, it is aware of how silly and campy it can get, and the actors are clearly having as good a time as anyone while not detracting from the message.
  • Evangelist Ty Adams created an alternative to The Real Housewives series, called The Real Housewives of the Bible, which is supposed to profile 12 women from The Bible. It apparently emphasizes the solution instead of the problem.
  • Trinity Broadcasting Network, one of the largest religious broadcasters, has two sister channels targeting children and teens/young adults with inoffensive, usually pro-Christian programming. Smile of a Child TV is advertised as an alternative to the Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network channels, while JUCE TV is a Christian take on MTV and the like for teens and young adults.
    • JUCE TV's 15th & Park is a Christian music showcase analogous to BET's 106th & Park.
  • In the 1980s, Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) offered Another Life, a slickly-produced alternative to secular soap operas.
  • In the late-1970s, Westinghouse created the Home Theater Network (HTN), which was intended to be a family-friendly alternative to all other pay networks. The channel bought the rights to current movies that didn't carry an R or X rating. The service never truly took off and was discontinued in 1987. It ultimately became a footnote in American television history because it carried travelogue interstitials branded as "The Travel Channel"; said brand was purchased by the Discovery Channel after HTN closed, and the rest is history.
  • In 1987, HBO created Festival as a mini-pay service for older conservative audiences who didn't want to subscribe to the younger-appealing channel. Its lineup included newer and classic films, along with a variety of specials. Unlike the similar HTN, Festival did carry R-rated films, but unlike HBO, those films were censored. As the case with HTN, customers weren't interested in Festival and the service was discontinued in a matter of months. HBO would have more success with HBO Family, which simply doesn't feature anything "harder" than PG-13 content; subscribers to Showtime and/or Starz/Encore networks get similar channels.
  • The Gospel Bill Show serves as this to other Western series, though it was produced during a period where the genre was not commonly seen outside of reruns.
  • The 1987 miniseries Amerika, about the United States under the control of the Soviet Union, was made as a right-wing response to the "left-wing" The Day After (though President Ronald Reagan, a hero to American conservatives, staunchly defended the latter production). While The Day After was about what would presumably happen if nuclear weapons weren't outlawed, Amerika was intended to portray what would presumably happen if they were. Needless to say, when it aired, the United States and the Soviet Union were starting to be on good terms, so the subject of Amerika became moot and the ratings were dismal. On top of that, Amerika has never been available on video, unlike The Day After.
  • HBO's miniseries Chernobyl, a dramatization of the Chernobyl meltdown and its aftermath, came under fire in the Russian press, as they saw it as Western propaganda designed to make the Soviet government look bad. (The fact that an American network made a show about Soviet heroes also felt like a blow to national pride.) This led the Russian TV network NTV to make their own TV series about the disaster, one based on a conspiracy theory attributing the meltdown to an act of sabotage by the CIA.

  • The entire genre of white power and neo-Nazi music, which includes rock, metal, ska, and even rap, of all things. As noted above, "moral substitute" is perfectly compatible with Blue-and-Orange Morality.
    • There's also Saga, the neo-Nazis' answer to Madonna. Madonna is a devotee of Jewish mysticism, see.
    • National Alliance leader (and secret author of The Turner Diaries) William Pierce was well aware of the irony. He despised rock music and preferred that young people listen to classical music or opera, but was pragmatic enough to decide that if white youths were immature enough to be into the rock scene, that was what his label Resistance Records was going to give them (provided it could impart a "white power" message, of course).
    • The tween singing duo Prussian Blue began their career as a white-power alternative to Disney's multicultural teen pop stars. They've since renounced racism, though, saying that their mother, who is still active in racist causes, was a Stage Mom who tried to use them as a mouthpiece for her views (though they remain on decent terms with her).
    • In The '70s, the British rock scene saw the rise of the "Rock Against Racism" movement in response to what was seen as racist attitudes in the rock music world, with the catalyst being Eric Clapton's praise of the controversial right-wing MP Enoch Powell during a 1976 concert. White supremacists in the UK responded with "Rock Against Communism" concerts featuring white-power bands like Skrewdriver, Skullhead, and No Remorse. While both Rock Against Racism and Rock Against Communism eventually faded out by the end of The '80s, "rock against communism" is still a catch-all term in the British music scene for racist Punk Rock and oi! music.
  • During the Second World War, Hitler had tried to purge the German airwaves of everything "degenerate" and un-German. Towards the middle of the war, however, his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, had realized that most people didn't want to spend the whole day listening to Wagner, stirring martial music, and Oom-pah-pah traditional tunes (while Allied bombers droned overhead), so he did the logical thing and founded a cover band. (Some of its members were Jews who had hidden their parentage.) They proceeded to create what was essentially 1940s Weird Al, if Weird Al sang about the degeneracy of the Allies and the pure martial virtues of Germany.
    • The Nazis also sponsored concerts of good, wholesome, Aryan music and also exhibitions of Entartete Muzik ("Degenerate Music") like Jazz (Negermusik, guess) and Swing (a lot of swing musicians were Jewish) so audiences could hear for themselves how much superior the Nazi music was. They also had similar exhibitions of Aryan vs. "Entartete" art. It ... didn't work out how they expected. "Real" jazz music was never completely eradicated in Germany and afficionados risked severe sanction if discovered - an extreme case of Keep Circulating the Tapes. It was still preferred to the officially approved form which was thought to be a pale, watery, insipid imitation and "ersatz" in every sense of the word. Spike Milligan, who had cut his performing teeth playing jazz and swing trumpet, sent this up savagely and accurately when he had Hitler, Goering, Himmler and Goebbels start their own Nazi Jazz band. The result is as dire as you could expect.
  • Pat Boone made his career out of taking somewhat-racy popular music (especially Rock & Roll) and defanging it, going back to the 1950s when he released a tamer version of Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti", which had itself been bowdlerized from Little Richard's original version (which was about the mechanics of gay sex), so in effect Boone defanged something already largely toothless. He rode this to become the second highest-selling artist of The '50s, with several of his covers, including "Tutti Frutti" and Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame", reaching higher positions on the charts than the original recordings (though the originals are today recognized as the First and Foremost versions). He's still doing it to this day; In a Metal Mood, an album of Boone converting such songs as Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Ronnie James Dio's "Holy Diver" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" (which made its way to become the opening theme of The Osbournes), has earned a So Bad, It's Good cult following (amusingly, Boone has since claimed his church threw him out for even touching metal music). Little Richard recorded "Long Tall Sally" in an effort to produce a song that Pat Boone couldn't cover. Boone gamely tried, but Richard's version ended up beating his out on the charts.
    • There are anecdotes of teenagers hiding their rock music in the sleeves of Pat Boone albums.
  • In a curious inversion of the usual order, atheist activist Michael Newdow (best known for his challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance) released a CD of "solstice" carols with the religious elements removed for the enjoyment of his fellow atheists. Lyrics here. It's odd.
  • During the latter years of the Cold War, the Soviet government promoted the career of Dean Reed, an American expatriate living in East Germany, as an alternative to decadent "rohk" music, which had replaced decadent "jast" music on their hit-list.
  • Chris Rice parodied the concept of moral substitutes in his "Cartoon Song." He stopped playing it live in 2004 because too many people were missing the point that God wants His believers to do the praising themselves, not through their choices of entertainment.
  • Although most Christian rock bands don't really fit here, the band ApologetiX makes blatant use of this trope, as all of their songs are popular secular songs with new Christian lyrics, like a Christian version of "Weird Al" Yankovic. The most interesting one of their songs is "Spirit Inside." It's a parody of "Spirit in the Sky," which already was a Christian songnote  (and got further tweaked into one by DC Talk), but apparently ApologetiX still thought a moral substitute was needed!
  • There is a movement in Christianity called the Sacred Name or Hebrew Roots movement, which believes that it is incorrect to use translated names of God and Jesus, but instead that only the Hebrew names should be used. They have their own praise and worship music, and they sometimes cover popular contemporary Christian songs, but with all instances of God, Jesus, LORD, ETC. replaced with Yahweh and Yahshua or a variant thereof.
    • The Catholic Church in recent years has gone in the opposite direction—citing Jewish tradition that the name of God is too sacred to be pronounced, liturgical music (hymns used during Mass) has replaced Yahweh with Dominus, which in English translates to Lord.
  • The Black Eyed Peas started out as a less violent, socially conscious alternative to the Gangsta Rap artists that dominated rap music in The '90s. This changed once Fergie joined, with their hit albums Elephunk and Monkey Business turning them in a more party-pop-oriented direction.
  • For that matter, Alternative Hip Hop in general has long been dominated by a streak of resistance against the violent subject matter of Gangsta Rap and, later, the flaunting of luxurious lifestyles that defined Glam Rap. Many rappers who rejected the value sets of those two genres often embraced alternative hip-hop as a substitute for it. Most famously, the TV show The Boondocks had a soundtrack dominated by it, and frequently took pot shots at the hip-hop mainstream for selling what it saw as a self-destructive, materialistic lifestyle to young black people.
  • The Jonas Brothers were marketed by Disney as this to Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and other pop-punk acts that exploded during the Turn of the Millennium whose music talked about topics like cheating spouses or notches on bedposts. Some posters and promotional materials for the Jonas Brothers even bordered on making them look like a Mockbuster of these bands, using similar color schemes and font styles to the other bands' current albums.
  • The entire Straight Edge music scene and subculture emerged as a backlash against what was perceived as out-of-control violence and drug use within the Hardcore Punk scene in The '80s. Ironically, the militancy of some straight edge adherents led to the perception that the movement was a gang.
    • The "gang" mentality, by the way, was lampshaded clear into the stratosphere by WWE's CM Punk between 2009 and 2011. His "hardcore straight-edge" gimmick, originally heroic, took on a diabolical "cult" flavor, with Punk's followers essentially a group of skinheaded thugs and Punk himself looking disturbingly like Charles Manson (until Rey Mysterio shaved him bald).
  • "White Metal" or "Unblack Metal" is this to Black Metal, which is amusing since black metal is one of the few genres that have a notable number of actual Satanists.
  • In The '80s, Televisa, then (and still) the most powerful Mexican TV network, was faced with a dilemma. As one of Mexico's self-appointed Moral Guardians, they had to ostracize any music that plays harder than 2 on the Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness to prevent the "family values" crowd from viewing them as traitors, but doing so meant losing those profitable demographics that enjoyed rock music. So they decided to Bowdlerise rock music, playing children's bands like Timbiriche.
  • Will Smith built a good chunk of his music career in The '90s on this trope, marketing himself as the less vulgar and violent alternative to the edgy Gangsta Rap and militant Hardcore Hip Hop popular at the time. He never used "hard" swear words in his songs, and one of his lines in "Freakin' It" had him challenging gangsta rap artists to "write one verse without a curse" (a reference to Eminem dissing him over how clean-cut his music was).
  • Ditto for MC Hammer, who made a point of including a Christian song on every one of his albums, and is today a Pentecostal minister. His attempt to stay relevant and go "gangsta" with the 1994 album The Funky Headhunter cost him a large chunk of his fanbase, and was one of the factors that set off his rapid decline.
  • There also exists Christian rap, which tends to be even more niche than Christian rock. Brendan O'Connor famously parodied this with "Who's In The House?" back in 2000.
  • Gospel music is an inversion of this. It has a rich history as a uniquely American music form, based on African call and response and rhythmical patterns. A lot of early secular soul and R&B music was influenced by this tradition.
    • This also applies to much of the history of Christian art/music/literature etc. - it doesn't fall under this trope as it isn't a substitute. (Although it may be substituted for, as noted elsewhere.)
  • Indeed, this goes back quite a ways: many standard Christian hymnals began life as pub songs that had been refitted with lyrics suitable for praise and worship, to better engage churchgoers of the time.
    • Not explicitly Christian (the full lyrics are at least Deist if not specifically Christian, but it's rare to hear more than the first verse), but the same thing happened when Francis Scott Key wrote a patriotic poem about a battle in the War of 1812, which was later set to the drinking tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" and became America's national anthem.
  • Christian rock band Daniel Amos wrote the song "Home Permanent" (from their album Vox Humana)—among other things, it poked pun at the practice of creating Christian alternatives to everything, and turning random merch into evangelistic tools.
    I gave a toy top to my little brother
    It says to "Spin from sin", and to my mother
    I gave a recipe book, it's like no other
    Now she makes chocolate Bibles—a witness to my unsaved father
  • Garage rock is usually the domain of rough, gritty girl put-downs, songs about pretty, sexy girls, and rants against the establishment. Wisconsin band The Rehabilitation Cruise had two songs in the mid-'60s praising the moral majority — the pro-war, pro-military "I Don't Care What They Say", and "Miniskirts", which seemingly chides teenage girls for wearing the then-edgy attire.
  • Cimorelli. Combined with Bowdlerization, they function as the "Good girl role models" substitute to mainstream girl groups. It does help that they have a Catholic upbringing.
  • A Folk Music singer named Janet Greene very briefly gained attention by marketing herself as "the conservative Joan Baez".
  • Similarly, The Spokesmen's "Dawn of Correction" is a pro-Vietnam War, anti-communist Answer Song to Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction."
  • The Children of God, a communal Christian sect with...some unusual beliefes, used to take this Up to Eleven. Not only was most secular media banned, so was all other forms of Christian media! Therefore, members of the sect made their own music and videos with messages befitting the group's beliefs, much of which is only made available to members of the group.note 
  • A big part of the success of the song "Whoomp! There It Is" by Tag Team was because it was this to the lurid Gangsta Rap and hyper-sexualized Miami Bass that dominated Hip-Hop in the early '90s. In the words of Todd in the Shadows, who covered the song for One-Hit Wonderland, it was a strip club anthem that one could play outside the strip club, combining the energy of a 2 Live Crew song with PG-rated lyrics and only a small handful of sex and drug references that were easy enough to censor, helping to turn it into a staple of American sports arenas. One of Tag Team's members, DC Glenn, noted this in an interview.

    Print Media 
  • Even pornography is not immune to this trope. Larry Flynt, upon briefly becoming a born-again Christian in 1977, tried to redesign Hustler magazine into a moral alternative to Playboy and Penthouse, mainly by showing married couples and promoting a message of sex-positivity (within marriage, of course). The first issue published after his conversion quoted him as saying "we will no longer hang women up like pieces of meat." This brief period where Hustler was a Christian skin mag ended the following year when Flynt survived an assassination attempt at the hands of a white supremacist, who was upset over how the magazine featured interracial couples. This left Flynt paralyzed from the waist down, and he renounced Christianity soon after.
  • Brio was published by Focus on the Family as the Christian substitute to teen magazines like Seventeen and Sassy. This article by Stassa Edwards of Jezebel, who was raised in an evangelical household with a subscription to Brio, goes into more depth on how it positioned itself as the alternative to secular teen girl mags, whose politics and messaging often leaned sharply feminist (especially in The '90s when Brio was launched, before many of them underwent Magazine Decay).
  • Investor's Business Daily was founded in 1984 by William O'Neil as an alternative to The Wall Street Journal that pushed O'Neil's two pet interests: his personal investment method (called CANSLIM) and ultraconservative politics. It eventually became popular among readers who felt that the right-leaning WSJ wasn't conservative enough.
  • William F. Buckley Jr. thought that the conservative movement and media in The '50s were falling down a far-right rabbit hole, specifically citing how The American Mercury, which he had written for and edited in the early '50s, went from a respected upper-class conservative magazine to a clearing house for unreformed neo-Nazis. In response, he created National Review as an alternative to both the more liberal-leaning magazines like Time and Newsweek and the radicals of the extreme right, decreeing from the start that anti-Semites, fascist sympathizers, and overt white supremacists were not welcome (though he did defend segregation until the late '60s).

  • Air America Radio was created as the liberal alternative to conservative talk radio, and managed to pick up such hosts as Jerry Springer and former Saturday Night Live stars Janeane Garofalo and Al Franken (a future senator). It sputtered on for several years on corporate life support (Even Neal Boortz, noted for his opposing views, donated money!) before it got shut down.
  • NPR has become, like its television counterpart PBS is for children's programming, an unintentional one for broadcast news due to the perceived sensationalism of U.S. cable news.

  • The Soviet Union promoted the "Spartakiads" from 1928 to 1937 as an alternative to the "bourgeois" Olympic Games until World War II forced them to put the event on the back burner. After the war, they finally broke down and sent a team to the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, though they continued to hold Spartakiads within the Soviet Union all the way until 1991. They also organized the one-off Friendship Games in 1984 after their boycott of the Los Angeles Olympics that year.
  • After the tit-for-tat boycotts by the US and Soviet Olympic teams of the 1980 Moscow and 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Ted Turner created the Goodwill Games in 1986 as a non-politicized alternative to an event that he saw as having become more about national/Cold War posturing than sport.
  • The creation of the Gaelic Athletic Association in Ireland was tied in with Irish nationalism, with the idea of promoting traditionally Irish sports. In particular, though, Gaelic football was codified and organized in the late 19th century specifically as an Irish alternative to rugby, which had quickly become a popular sport, but, of course, originated in England. While it was descended from centuries-old games, Gaelic football only had its first formal rules drawn up in 1887, making it younger than American Football or Australian Rules Football. And the GAA was serious about Gaelic football as the only acceptable form of the game for the Irish to play. Until 1971, a player could be banished from the GAA if they were discovered to have played rugby, Association Football or Cricket.

    Tabletop Games 
  • "Christian Power Cards", a Moral Substitute for Pokémon cards, featuring characters from The Bible.
    • But not Apocamon which are creatures from the Book of Revelation Pokémon-style.
    • Also, Redemption.
  • After a number of Christian fundamentalists got it into their heads that tabletop RPGs (particularly Dungeons & Dragons) were Satanic, someone came up with DragonRaid. RPGnet actually gave it a favorable review, with some interesting commentary on the overall "watered-down substitute" phenomenon. Ironically, the game was criticized by the same fundamentalists despite its Christian viewpoint; they figured any fantastic roleplaying was evil.
    • There were several attempts at Christian (TM) Games during that period, including a Chutes-and-Ladders knockoff called "Revelations", marketed to "mothers worried that your children are into games with Dungeons and Demons and The Occult".
      • Which is kind of ironic, considering the original Snakes-and-Ladders was an Indian game about virtues and vices quite consistent with Christian moral.
  • The board game Kosherland, which is Candyland, but with all the candy imagery (and candy-themed cartoon characters) replaced with imagery and cartoon characters about food that orthodox Jews can eat.
    • "Uh-oh, you landed in cholent swamp; you lose a turn!"
  • A Catholic version of "Go Fish" has players go "Fishing for Saints".
  • Among certain circles that decried standard playing cards as featuring Satanic imagery (or "making fun of the Holy Family" or being used in gambling, or fortune telling, or...), the card game Rook became popular as it had no imagery whatsoever... aside from the eponymous crow-like bird. Uno and Dutch Blitz are also big hits in such communities.
  • The white power alternative RPG Racial Holy War, which you can find a thorough mocking of here.
  • Going from far-right to far-left politics, there's Class Struggle, which aims to teach players about Marxist theory. It was actually published by Avalon Hill.
  • As seen in the page image, "Faith and Redemption", described as the Christian alternative to Magic: The Gathering. Of course, among the MTG community, a joke has sprung up that basically predicts that Magic will make a set based on the Judeo-Christian mythos...though they've taken cues from holy texts before.
  • Inverted by Cards Against Humanity, which is a self-consciously immoral alternative to the relatively tame Apples to Apples.
    • And there is a christian version of BOTH of them!
  • Kickstarter-funded "Farewell To Fear" is a progressive, pro-science alternative to fantasy tabletop Role-Playing Games that in their words are full of "all sorts of legacy concepts that are rather disgusting to us; sexism, classism, racism, institutional violence".
  • Settlers Of Canaan is an aversion: the makers are just Christian fans of regular Settlers of Catan who noticed the similarity of "Catan" to "Canaan" and decided—with permission!—that a Bible-themed variant of Catan set in the ancient Canaan would be fun.
  • There's a version of Monopoly called Bibleopoly where the goal is to be the first to build a church.

    Theme Parks 
  • Disneyland started out as one: Walt Disney wanted a clean, inviting place that he could take his daughters to that was completely unlike the dirty, sleazy amusement parks and carnivals of the 1950s. His approach was so successful that it ended up becoming the standard in the industry; out of necessity, the other parks either had to improve their standards to entice new customers or risk going out of business.
  • Heritage USA, part of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's PTL media empire, was planned as the Christian version of Disney World, and wound up becoming fairly popular after its opening in 1978. Today, however, the park is best known for playing a role in the scandal that led to Jim Bakker's downfall and subsequent imprisonment. The park was closed in 1989, and parts of it have since been redeveloped (mostly by various ministries), while the rest lingers in various states of decay.
  • The Holy Land Experience is an Orlando, Florida theme park that uses the production values of the Universal and Disney Theme Parks (even hiring designers who'd worked on them) to recreate Biblical times and places, primarily focusing on the ministry of Christ. Instead of rides, the main draws are live shows (passion plays, etc.) and opportunities to interact with performers who play Christ, his disciples, etc.
  • There are a number of Young Earth Christian Creationist theme parks and museums in the U.S. that intend to counter the accepted scientific theories about evolution and the age of the Earth:
    • The Creation Museum in Kentucky by Answers in Genesis, which intends to be the substitute for mainstream science museums, all while espousing that the story of Genesis is literally true, Science Is Wrong, and dinosaurs. Because of its claims, such as the Earth being only 6,000 years old, dinosaurs being herbivores and co-existing with humans, the reason for all of society's troubles (and weeds) being Adam and Eve's sinning, and Charles Darwin's theory influencing Adolf Hitler, it has become mocked in the skeptics community.
    • The short-lived Dinosaur Adventure Land theme park in Pensacola, Florida, by the creationist Kent Hovind. The park was plagued by legal troubles since its inception, from lack of zoning permits to undeclared revenue by Hovind which caused him to be jailed for tax fraud. It was finally closed down and seized by the government in 2012.

  • American Girl examples:
    • After the doll brand was involved in controversies over claims that the company's charitable contributions supported pro-abortion and pro-gay rights groups, several alternate doll brands popped up intending to be more moral alternatives. In some cases, they all but called out American Girl by name when criticizing "other" companies in their publicity. American Girl remained the leader in brand recognition, marketing, and quality; most of these rivals have quietly gone out of business.
    • Maplelea Girls isn't concerned with religion one way or the other; it's concerned with Americanism. The brand is Canadian, and encourages Canadian children to get over their Cultural Cringe and leave a brand that wears its Americanness on its sleeves for one that embraces Canadian national identity.
    • And then there's Dolls From Heaven, a line made by a Catholic family as a way for children to be closer to God through dolls patterned after saints.
  • Barbie examples:
    • Dara and Sara, the officially-sanctioned Iranian Barbie doll substitute.
    • Fulla, a popular attempt at trying to create an Islam-friendly alternative to Barbie. There are also less successful attempts such as Razanne.
    • Several alternatives promote "a more healthy and realistic" body image than Barbie; the most common complaint is her body proportions, which just don't match with human ones. At least one version also has molded nipples, supposedly so young girls didn't think that the fact that their breasts weren't featureless lumps meant there was something wrong with them.
      • As of 2014-15, the most notable example of this sort of thing was the Lammily doll, meant to be proportioned on the average figure of 19-year-old American women. A curious optional extra for which includes a set of stick-on body marks — yes, your doll can actually get zits and scratches if you so wish!

    Video Games 
  • The game developer Color Dreams launched the Wisdom Tree label in 1991, and re-released their old games with new titles and Christian themes slapped on. Some notable games that they made included Bible Adventures, Sunday Funday (a rebadged version of the old Color Dreams game Menace Beach), and Spiritual Warfare (a thinly disguised Zelda clone — which is actually not half bad, by virtue of picking a very good game to rip off). These games did not carry the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality, and came with special cartridges that were designed to get around the lockout chips in Nintendo's consoles.

    It is widely believed that the reason Color Dreams turned into Wisdom Tree was not out of piety, but so that they could get around Nintendo's licensingnote . Nintendo's primary pressure tactic was refusing to sell their games to retailers that sold unlicensed games. Christian bookstores were immune to this, as they didn't stock video games in the first place. Seeing an opportunity, the newly-renamed Wisdom Tree convinced the bookstores that their games would bring kids to God, and started selling their games to them. Another theory is that Color Dreams changed their modus operandi after Nintendo sued them for selling unlicensed games — after all, what sort of evil company (and a Japanese one, at that) would hate on a Christian game developer anyway?
  • On a more secular note, Chex Quest takes the gameplay of Doom to a more family-friendly setting, placating parents who are concerned about their kids playing disturbingly violent shooters while still being fun to play. Product Placement notwithstanding, it was later lauded by critics and Doom fans alike as a solid if not tongue-in-cheek total conversion, and gained an enduring cult following in recent years, to the point a remake was made for Steam decades later.
  • Seanbaby reviewed a Christian version of Dance Dance Revolution (entitled Dance Praise) in one issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, concluding with an offensive but somewhat pertinent quote: "[What I learned was that] Christian anything sucks more than regular anything."
    • He also reviewed Bible Adventures and Sunday Funday. After comparing Sunday Funday's gimmick of quoting scripture versus Menace Beach's gimmick of having your girlfriend's clothes disappear between levels, he concluded that "If you suck at making things but want people to buy them anyway, crap with Jesus sells better than crap with tits."
  • A Christian Guitar Hero clone, entitled Guitar Praise, which includes a lot of groups listed on Christian Rock (and one song from a Not Christian Rock group, Flyleaf), and even got a Stryper-centric spinoff in the same vein as GH and Rock Band's band-based games.
  • There's a Catholic-themed clone of DopeWars called, yes, Pope Wars. It's somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
  • There was a PC game spawned by the Bibleman video series by a company called Covenant Studios. It played sort of like Diablo with jerky controls, sprites that moved at a snail's pace and weapons of a purely defensive nature — even the character who had a laser gun at the time. Instead, there's a clunky system to destroy enemies with random Bible passages. To top it all off, Bibleman, the character the series is named after, has to be unlocked before players can take control of him. Oddly, despite this winning combination, the purported PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance versions never materialized. At last check, the developers' site had disappeared off the face of the internet.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has made a number of animal rights-themed Flash parodies of popular games.
  • Similar to the PETA example above, environmental activist group Greenpeace had a series of flash games on their site that were usually ripoffs of other video game series and all had strong environmentalist propaganda.
  • Word of God claims that Ultima IV (the Trope Codifier for the Karma Meter) was intended to be this to the first 3 games, after hearing the complaints of Moral Guardians. A prime example of Tropes Are Not Bad since said game revolutionized the RPG genre.
  • In The '80s, home computers were marketed as an educational alternative to video game consoles to anxious parents fearful of anything that could threaten their children's attempts to get into a good college. Commodore in particular attempted to scare parents away from mind-rotting consoles toward their computers. Their ploy seems to have worked, as the Commodore 64 actually had a lot of great videogames and it is considered a factor in The Great Video Game Crash of 1983. The moral panic surrounding youths' Internet use has made this somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight.
  • Edutainment Games, especially in The '80s and The '90s. This also plays into the idea of home computers as an educational substitute for consoles mentioned above, as these games were more common on computers than consoles. Some edutainment titles like Mario Is Missing! were ported over to consoles.
  • The Left Behind books have an ongoing series of Real-Time Strategy games as well. They generated some controversy over the idea of "kill or convert" approaches to heathens, though the emphasis does lean more towards conversion rather than combat. The first game, at least, has some genuinely interesting ideas and mechanics for urban warfare with a strong "hearts and minds" theme, but is crippled by a lot of amateur mistakes for the genre and its obsessive devotion to ideological purity rather than good gameplay. For example, the main menu shows a CGI rendering of The Creation of Adam with Adam wearing white boxer shorts, and completing missions unlocks bonus (Christian rock) music and informational documents... like why evolution is wrong and how archaeology proves the Bible.
  • Religion aside, this is the reason there exist a market for "kiddie" Edutainment Game consoles like the V.Smile, LeapTV, and even Sega's Pico console. Many parents don't want their toddlers playing the Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000 games that their older siblings play (or playing this trope straighter, don't want them playing games like these at all, period). Hence they get their kids consoles like these in hopes of placating them without them realizing what they're missing. Of course, the fact that these consoles get a lot of Licensed Games as well means that they do have a Periphery Demographic.
  • Pokémon GO was the subject of a moral panic in Russia, with the media and politicians claiming that it was threatening the morality of the nation's citizens and was being used by Western governments to promote youth revolt and potentially spy on top-secret locations. As a result, the Moscow city government started working on their own, edutainment version of the app called Know Moscow.Photo, in which people in Moscow would 'catch' historical Russian figures.
  • PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is, in China, eventually reskinned as "Game for Peace" in May 2019, which turns the premise into a virtual reality PLA training program. Blood is no more, bullet impact is changed into bright green light pulses, and defeated enemies gave their inventory in a crate and then waving before disappearing.
  • The short lived "Little Ark" series was this to Living Books, with the stories based on ones from The Bible rather than picture books.
  • The controversial Ethnic Cleansing. You play as a Nazi skinhead or a Klansman who goes on a rampage through the ghetto and the subway, murdering black Gangbangers (who make monkey and ape noises), Latinos (who are dressed like banditos and say "I need to take a siesta" when shot), and Jews (who are dressed like Hasidim incarnate and shout "oy vey!" when shot). As you can probably guess, it was made by a white supremacist/neo-Nazi group.
  • Onesimus: A Quest For Freedom is a modified version of Jill of the Jungle based on the Epistle to Philemon - a very slightly modified version. Beyond editing Jill into Onesimus, a few reskinned enemies, and dropping Bible verses into the game here and there, it's pretty much exactly the same game, right down to Onesimus using Jill's voice samples.
  • Captain Bible In Dome Of Darkness was a Christian education game that copied LucasArts and Sierra Adventure Games of all things. The hero, Captain Bible, would point and click his way towards saving a city covered by the Dome of Darkness by quoting Bible Passages.
  • Follow JC Go is the Catholic counterpart to Pokémon GO. Instead of catching Mons, you collect both Catholicism's ever-updating roster of saints and characters from the Bible. Instead of battling or rival factions, players collect characters by answering Bible trivia questions - if the player answers correctly, the charcters join their Evangelical Team, or "eTeam." "Follow JC Go" also places more emphasis on the pilgrimage-like aspects of walking games, forcing players to trek to random spots on a map to receive a character. Players can revitalise their health by amassing food, water, and "spirituality," the latter being achieved by visiting a church or hospital for a quick prayer.

    Web Comics 
  • Filthy Figments, the "positive" alternative to Slipshine, for those who object to eroticism with men holding the strings. It's just as smutty as regular porn but it's drawn by women.
  • Adam4d is basically the Christian version of webcomics like The Oatmeal having a somewhat similar format and art style, but all the strips are related to Christian themes.

    Web Original 
  • Alt-tech is THE moral subsitute to traditional social network sites, hosting providers and domain registrars. Alt-tech started when groups related to the FLOSS philosophy started to be concerned that traditional social networks were harvesting their users' information for commercial purposes and to collaborate with the US government. This made that alternatives to traditional social networks such as GNUSocial, Quitter and Diaspora made available. Although they focused on decentralization and privacy, they were not as successful and are only being used by free software and FLOSS enthusiasts. However, it was during the Donald Trump administration that alt-tech companies started to be much more known, after both mainstream media and traditional social networks began to establish editorial policies focused on the left side of the political spectrum and social justice. As a result, many hate groups, neo-Nazi associations, and people with controversial or contrary opinions found themselves with their social network accounts, bank accounts, websites, and web domains closed.note  While it's understandable that these social networks strive to keep these groups off their servers, they also affected people with conservative policies and news sites that are not aligned with mainstream media, who accused these companies of censorship. As a result, new alternatives emerged in order to spread their message.
    • If you want to know all the privacy and transparency focused alternatives to traditional social network sites, among other tools, the website lists most of them.
    • DuckDuckGo promotes itself as this to Google over privacy concerns because it doesn't track users' search results. Other alternatives to Google are Qwant and Startpage. Mozilla Firefox has also become this to people concerned about Google Chrome's privacy issues and those who don't want to use a browser developed by the search giant.
    • Gab, Minds and Parler are Twitter/Facebook clones, created as a "free speech alternative" to social networks like Facebook and Twitter which are accused of leaning toward the left and censoring conservative voices. As such, they have been so far mostly embraced by conservatives.
    • Mastodon is another Twitter clone, more decentralized and managed in a more autonomous way, depending on the server you are on. Mastodon servers have been very popular in Japan, as several manga artists and fanartists have had problems with Twitter due to the drawings they make.
    • BitChute, Rumble, and LBRY are YouTube clones also going this way, mainly due to YouTube's policies against videos that are not considered "advertiser-friendly".
    • Epik and BitMitigate are the alternatives to traditional hosting providers and domains such as GoDaddy and Cloudflare, respectively. Although their main focus is the buying and selling of domains, Epik made headlines because it publicly announced that it would provide hosting and domain services to Gab, after GoDaddy and Amazon deplatformed them. Although Epik is in favour of freedom of speech, they do not accept forums and imageboards whose moderation is not effectively implemented, such as 8chan. However, Epik has Gab, Bitchute, Hispachan and Infowars as customers.
    • Another company similar to Epik that accepts sites like 8kun on a free basis is Vanwatech. Created by former 8chan users, they offer much more freedom of speech solution than Epik does. This company has been controversial in hosting Qanon-related sites.
    • Do you want a website and domain in a country where you're sure that your site will not be shut down due to countries where censorship is enforced on copyright grounds? Enter the offshore hosting and domain register business. These companies are not based in the United States, but in countries where privacy laws are tougher such as Iceland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland so reporters and whistleblowers can do their job without legal complications.
    • Due to the new policies of Reddit, several users created an alternative platform called, where they accept all kinds of speech. Also, when Reddit deleted the r/The_Donald subreddit, users started a Reddit-like on their own called and the Win Network.
    • SubscribeStar is Patreon's moral substitute, due to deplatforming policies towards conservative voices and to remove obscene and adult content from their servers.
  • Conservapedia, founded by Andrew Schlafly (son of Christian Right activist Phyllis Schlafly), is the conservative Christian version of Wikipedia, created to counter what Schlafly saw as a left-wing, anti-American slant on that site. Frequently mistaken for satire (and, being a wiki, some of it probably is), but intended to be taken seriously.
    • Its editors started the Conservative Bible Project, an attempt to produce a Bible translation free from "liberal bias." Yes, the people behind Conservapedia tried to produce a Moral Substitute for The Bible. The project seems as though it will remain perpetually unfinished, though, given that very few of the people involved with it had any knowledge of ancient Hebrew and Greek, and those few who did found themselves driven out. Even its target audience of conservative Christians (including Jack Chick and Joseph Farah, owner of the arch-conservative news site WorldNetDaily) found the whole thing disgusting, if not blasphemous.
    • Conservapedia later spawned its own secularist substitute in the form of Rational Wiki, which was founded after some of Conservapedia's more scientifically-literate editors got fed up with Schlafly's attempts to push a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint in their articles on evolution and other scientific subjects. Initially focused on debunking pseudoscience and religious fundamentalism, and mocking Conservapedia's use of such in their articles, it has since expanded its mission to ripping political extremism and conspiracy theories as well, while dropping many of its associations with Conservapedia (though it still mocks them from time to time).
    • And then there's Liberapedia, which is one part the liberal alternative to Conservapedia, and many parts over-the-top satire.
    • A Storehouse of Knowledge, made by a former Conservapedia administrator who got fed up with the site.
  • Infogalactic was created by Vox Day for much the same reason as Conservapedia, namely his belief that Wikipedia's editors leaned too far left for his liking. Notably, whereas Conservapedia largely takes an American neoconservative and Christian Right view, Infogalactic leans more towards the alt-right.
  • There's message boards for Christian Furries. And for "confurvatives".
  • MyPraize, a Christian alternative to MySpace.
  • There have been a number of attempts at "patriotic" (read: right-wing/conservative/Tea Party American) alternatives to Facebook out of a perception that the site's owners hold a left-wing bias and are censoring conservativesnote , recent examples including Tea Party Community, FreedomTorch, and ReaganBook (now re-branded as FreedomBook). Typically, however, these sites wind up either failing to resonate beyond their niche audience, or crawling with trolls after a few months before being shut down.
  • This video has Seth Andrews lecture about it.
  • GodTube, the Christian alternative to YouTube.
  • Similarly, there is Islamictube, an Islamic alternative.
  • Moral alternatives to streaming services:
    • Pure Flix Entertainment, the Christian alternative to the Netflix subscription streaming service.
    • Butch Hartman started a Kickstarter for a "Family Friendly" alternative to Netflix called Oaxis. However, he withheld the information that "family friendly" meant "Christian" from his fans before he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for it.
    • On a grander scale, Disney+ is one of these to streaming providers (including Hulu, which Disney acquired a 60% ownership in following their purchase of Fox), as it does not carry any R-rated content.
  • Family Friendly Gaming website and magazine promotes itself as "the first ever Christian video game magazine", specifically a Christian alternative to traditional (or "secular") video game review websites/magazines who "call good evil, and evil good", reviewing video games (and also video on demand) in a conservative Christian perspective. It's usually treated as a laughingstock by a few video game fans who find them, for the blatant Fundamentalist Moral Guardianship and poor reviews that would earn many an 8.8.
    • is also a video game site that reviews games in a Christian viewpoint, but is more rational than Family Friendly Gaming and also takes a secular viewpoint for its reviews.
  • Stuff Christians Like, compared to Stuff White People Like, though it leans more in the Affectionate Parody direction. This is lampshaded by its first post and in the book article: "Stuff Christians Like: Ignoring all Copyright Laws".
  • Spoofed in a YouTube video starring a troupe of rapping kids promoting the "Christian Side Hug," which avoids the "sinful" crotch contact of the traditional hug. No, as much as it might seem to be par for the course, and as much as you might want it to be, it's not even the tiniest bit real.
    • It seems like the video may not be a parody, and those guys were dead serious. It's supposed to be a parody, yet Word of God states that they were serious about keeping physical contact to a minimum.
    • And, of course, the "side hug" is a real thing which is suggested for anyone working with children, in hopes to avoid anyone suggesting that there's intentional crotch contact.
  • This trope, in conjunction with New Media Are Evil, has been cited (especially by the "old media") as a major reason for the declining quality of news coverage in the Turn of the Millennium and beyond. The thesis is that, before the rise of the internet and cable news, most places had only a few mass-market newspapers and TV stations that had to moderate their reporting and editorials in order to avoid alienating large sections of the populace and going out of business. Anybody looking for more partisan journalism had to either turn to magazines like The Atlantic and National Review (which still tended more towards the "establishment" wings of their respective political viewpoints), or do some serious digging. Today, on the other hand, it is possible to get several news sources that conform to a strictly ideological point of view, while lambasting more moderate sources as biased. The Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and Russia Today all explicitly style themselves as the "honest" alternatives to a "biased" Mainstream Media (from conservative, liberal, and pro-Russian perspectives, respectively), while there exist countless blogs and news websites that do the same, and often take their biases to far greater extremes than the cable news networks.
  • While piracy is obviously a moral gray area at best, The Pirate Bay Clean (TPBCLEAN) bills itself as being a more modest alternative to torrent sites, particularly the original Pirate Bay, as most if not all of them are littered with pornographic content and ads for adult sites. There is an option to turn them off on TPB and the others, but for the most part adult content tends to be enabled by default, hence the initiative for a "family-friendly" alternative, besides the fact that most of the Indian programmers the author hired weren't up to doing work on a site that served smut.
  • In the late 2010s, Apple has also started doing this, promoting their hardware and software as a more privacy-focused alternative to similar offerings from Facebook and Google. In particular, they emphasize the fact that they do not sell user data to corporations and advertisers, which is a key component of the business models of many other tech companies (Facebook and Google included), leading to scandals over the misuse and leak of data. They also promote their Apple Arcade subscription service as a more ethical, consumer-friendly take on mobile gaming, a field otherwise notorious for its reliance on microtransactions and advertisements.
  • There is a Christian distro of Linux Ubuntu called Ubuntuce or Ubuntu Christian Edition. Along with the standard Ubuntu applications, Ubuntu Christian Edition includes Christian software like Gnome Sword (a Bible study program for the Gnome Desktop), utilizing The Sword Project, Xiphos, OpenLP, and Quelea. It also includes fully integrated web content parental controls by Dansguardian. Its latest version was released in 2012.
  • is a moral substitute to Steam and anything else with Digital Rights Management included, because it wants users to own the stuff they bought without losing access to the stuff they bought, as they stated in their FCK DRM initiative as to why DRM is a terrible idea.

    Western Animation 
  • VeggieTales is a Christian Moral Substitute to (often Merchandise-Driven) Saturday morning cartoons. Unlike most examples here (and indeed, contrary to the expectations of those who haven't watched it), it's actually high quality for its genre and is often enjoyed beyond the Animation Age Ghetto and even beyond its Christian target audience (to wit, the jokes are actually funny and the references are actually clever, and it's wholly independent of the show's religious angle), in addition to having pioneered the use of 3D in children's animation. Just goes to show that Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • At least until it was syndicated for national broadcast, meaning all references to Christianity were removed. However, after a Creator Backlash and protests from Moral Guardians, the references were restored.
    • 3-2-1 Penguins!, which was also produced by the company behind VeggieTales, is a Christian Moral Substitute to Science Fiction cartoons, and has even less focus on Christianity.
  • There's a Christian edit of Jay Jay the Jet Plane, in which the original voiceover narration and some dialogue is replaced with audio mentioning God and the Bible.
  • The Kingdom Chums, a Christian equivalent to the Care Bears and other similar cartoons (but featuring only three toys). Judging by the videos on YouTube, there was a series, although it was obviously too obscure for IMDb and Wikipedia.
  • Davey and Goliath, a stop-motion cartoon from the maker of Gumby...
    • ...only to have this trope inverted with Moral Orel, its very immoral substitute.
    • JOT was made as a Moral Substitute for Davey and Goliath, believe it or not. More specifically, it was made to be a Southern Baptist equivalent of the show.
  • Gospel Duck is a children's Christian multimedia character that just so happens to have the exact same distinct voice as Donald Duck. And looks suspiciously like him, too.

  • Branson, Missouri, in the words of The Simpsons, is "Vegas if it were run by Ned Flanders." The city offers elaborate hotels, shopping, and tons of live shows, but there's no gambling or "party scene". The shows focus on G-rated entertainment, especially musical revues — oldies, country, and Broadway are the most frequently appearing genres. Other shows include grand-scale musical adaptations of Bible stories, and such headliners as Yakov Smirnoff, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tony Orlando, and Jim Stafford. (Another Simpsons episode had the chorus of a revue declare: "We took Nick at Nite and made it a town!")
  • There have been alternatives to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from every direction. The Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, for instance, had the Pioneers, and Nazi Germany had the infamous Hitler Youth. A number of churches have also created their own "scouting" organizations, such as the Pathfinders (Seventh Day Adventists), the Royal Rangers for boys and Missionettes for girls (Assemblies of God), and Awana (Southern Baptists). More recently, due to the increasingly conservative bent of the Boy Scouts of Americanote , there are also a few scouting organizations that have sprung up with more moderate and non-denominational views on Christian doctrine (such as the Christian Service Brigade), and others with the aim of being more accepting of gays, lesbians, and non-Christians.
    • The Boy Scouts themselves were partly inspired by an organization called the Boys' Brigade, which was (and is) an explicitly Christian youth organization. Therefore, the Boy Scouts were the "less moral" substitute (which is pretty funny when you consider the controversy over their views on religion and homosexuality). Also, as the name suggests, the Boys' Brigade has even stronger military overtones than the Boy Scouts: humorist Clive James, who was a member of both groups in his youth, commented that the Scouts emphasize "woodsy lore" and the Brigade prefers "parade ground drill." For example, the adult organizers of the Brigade are called Officers (with the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain), and younger members can become Non-Commissioned Officers, with ranks running from Private through Staff Sergeant.
    • After the Scouts recent decision to keep the ban on gay scout leaders, but allow gay young men to participate in scouting, the author of this article R.I.P, Boy Scouts of America invokes exactly those words:
    But here’s the good news. I and dozens more will be convening for a coalition meeting of pro-family leaders next month in Louisville, Ky., to discuss the creation of a moral alternative to the Boy Scouts.
    • Unfortunately, the backlash somewhat worsened in 2018 when it was announced that, effective the following year, that they would allow girls to join, prompting some conservatives to add "because they're indoctrinating feminism" into the list of reasons why they no longer supported them. Even odder is that it also earned them a lawsuit from the Girl Scoutsnote  for poaching potential new recruits.
    • On the other side of the controversy, Campfire USA has promoted itself as a more inclusive alternative to Boy Scouts, because they allow all children to join.
    • Ditto for Camp Quest, a summer camp organization founded in 1996 by Edwin Kagin, the head of the Free Inquiry Group of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and his wife Helen. Since Boy Scout camps did not permit non-religious children to attend, they decided to start their own camp that would be more welcoming of them.

  • Some parents who school their children at home do so because they perceive public school as un-Christian or un-whatever their religion/worldview is. It's also possible for Christian parents to give their children a complete Christian education, all the way from pre-school to Ph.D. Many evangelical Christian schools and their associations market themselves as a moral alternative and a refuge from the cultural influences present in public schools.
  • The American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Pat Robertson, is a Christian conservative counterpart to the ACLU that litigates for pro-Evangelical Christian, pro-life issues (even though the ACLU also does work defending the civil liberties of Christians in regards to the free exercise of their beliefs). The Thomas Moore Law Center is the Catholic alternative to ACLU and ACLJ in turn.
  • The 19th century French thinker Auguste Comte devised a humanist "Religion of Humanity" complete with its own feast days (to commemorate figures in Western history) and clergy.
  • Nazi Germany pushed Nazi-compatible substitutes throughout the arts and sciences.
    • Early on, the Nazis advocated "Deutsche Physik" as an alternative to the physics mainstream. Led by advocates like Philipp Lenard, Rudolf Tomaschek, and Johannes Stark, it was popular among those who felt physics to be too dominated by Jews like Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, and briefly attracted a number of "old guard" physicists who rejected the paradigm shift presented by the theory of relativity. It fell out of favor in the late '30s once the sturdiness of the "Jewish physics" became apparent even to many Nazis, though they only acknowledged this through clenched teeth and refused to give any credit to Jews, instead favoring "Aryan" physicists like Werner Heisenberg (who they had ironically harassed and bashed as a "White Jew" for supporting relativity just a few years prior). Deutsche Physik, as short-lived and often overblown by modern observers as it was, still had a disastrous effect on scientific research in Germany, and the Jewish scientists who found themselves driven out of German universities under the Nuremberg Laws would go on to contribute massively to the Nuclear Weapons programs of Germany's enemies.
    • Soon after the Nazis rose to power, they clamped down on "entartete kunst" (degenerate art), a catch-all term that referred to modern art, jazz music, anti-war paintings, and anything else that the Nazi Culture Police viewed as 'un-German', holding it up as a symbol of the perceived decadence of the Weimar era and alleging that it had been promoted by Jews and communists in order to degrade the German spirit. As a reaction, they instead pushed art that upheld 'blood and soil' themes of militarism and racial purity, often infused with classical Greek and Roman influence. Hilariously, as Cracked pointed out, an exhibition of the banned art (the only legal venue for such work) to show the German people how evil and Jew-corrupted it was wound up attracting far more visitors than a nearby exhibition of Nazi-sponsored art.
    • Bizarrely (given many of the examples on this page), the Nazis promoted a moral substitute for the Christian faith and churches: Positive Christianity, which threw out the "Jewish" parts of the Bible (including the entire Old Testament and the letters of Paul of Tarsus) and recast Jesus as an Aryan warrior who rebelled against the Jewish authority of his day, while also demonizing the Catholic Church as a "Judaized" bastardization of the faith and lionizing figures like Martin Luther (the German theologian who started the Protestant Reformation) who they viewed as having worked to restore the "original" Christianity. Many Nazis (most notably Alfred Rosenberg, who came up with the idea) saw Christianity in its current state as a religion of weakness and submission, unfit for a Proud Warrior Race like they imagined the Germans to be, but at the same time, they realized that they had to make their peace with the churches if they were to hold power for any length of time, and so they came up with a Nazified brand of the faith that was more in line with their warlike ideals. The effort was largely a failure, with the Nazi-backed theology running into stiff opposition from the "Confessing Church" movement that wished to maintain their theological independence, and only a minority of German Protestant churches adopted it before the Nazis quietly sidelined their push for it.

      Many neo-Nazis and white supremacists, likewise, have developed their own substitutes for mainstream Christianity. Among those who still maintain some sort of Christian faith, you'll find what's known as Christian Identity, which proclaims white people to be the descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel, Jews to be impostors to the claim (often justified with the idea that they're actually descended from Khazar converts), and non-whites to be subhuman "mud races". A more moderate variation can be found in kinism, which proclaims that race and ethnicity are unbreakable, divinely-created bonds that are just as important as family, which in turn leads to the belief that segregation is mandated by God and that "betraying" one's race (i.e. mixing with other races) is as bad as betraying one's family. For those who think that's still not enough to distance Christianity from its Jewish roots, many follow racialized variants of pagan religions (Norse Mythology and, to a lesser extent, Classical Mythology are especially popular here, given the former's "Aryan" cred and the latter's association with the glory of Rome) or Satanism (on the grounds that worshiping the enemy of the God of the Jews is a necessary component of rebellion against them).
    • Arguably, fascism itself may count, as its proponents saw it as this towards socialism. It combined many of its economic proposals (broad populism, state control of industry, etc.) and its revolutionary spirit with ultra-nationalism and reactionary social views, in sharp opposition to socialism's international worldview. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler described both capitalism and socialism as two sides of the same coin, i.e. both controlled by Jews as tools to corrupt and destroy nations with by breeding class warfare, and both needing to be expunged from the body politic in favor of an ideology that would unite the nation in a way that transcended class lines. It's not for nothing that the Nazis called themselves the "National Socialists", the "National" part differentiating them from the "subversive" international (read: Jewish) socialists that they viewed as destroying Germany, and before the Night of the Long Knives there existed a substantial faction in the Nazi party (known as the Strasserites after its leaders, the brothers Otto and Gregor Strasser) that took the "Socialist" part very seriously — and viewed Hitler as having sold out the nation and the party to business interests and the elite (which led to them getting purged). This post on AlternateHistory.comnote  goes into detail on how, while socialism was explicitly oriented towards the working class, fascism was a "big tent" ideology that held something for those in all socioeconomic strata. Today, similar ideas can be seen in movements like third positionism, national anarchism, and the European New Right, which co-opt leftist imagery, strategies, and economic proposals in support of vehemently anti-leftist and anti-liberal ideologies.
  • The Soviet Union also had a long list of communist substitutes for the "decadent, bourgeois" culture of the West.
    • Similar to Nazi Germany's "Deutsche Physik", the USSR under Stalin pushed "Michurin Biology" (now better known as Lysenkoism) as a more acceptable alternative to Darwinian evolution and genetics, which they felt was too capitalistic, what with "survival of the fittest" and all that.note  Lysenkoism, meanwhile, rejected natural selection and held that communism (or "natural cooperation") was the state of nature, and proclaimed that different species of crop could be turned into other species. Over three thousand botanists and biologists who disagreed and advocated mainstream (i.e. real) biology were arrested, one of the most prominent examples being Nikolai Vavilov, who died in The Gulag. Stalin seems to have grown suspicious about toward the end, but once Nikita Khrushchev became Premier, he stopped the growing criticism (he found a kindred soul in Lysenko's non-compromising, deaf-to-counterarguments attitude), although he released the imprisoned scientists. Once Khrushchev was removed as well, the mainstream biologists managed to push through some proper inspections of Lysenko's successes, and once none were found, Lysenkoism fell apart.
    • Starting in the Stalinist era, the Soviet Union promoted Socialist Realism as a reaction to abstract art, which was seen as a symbol of Western decadence. Before that, they favored formalism, constructivism, and the avant-garde as seen in the works of Sergei Eisenstein, Maiakovsky, Meyerhold, and others; Stalin's rise to power saw the "traditionalists" within the Soviet art world (who favored realistic, albeit idealized, representations of everyday life) win out over the more abstract "futurists" (who wanted art in the workers' state to be just as revolutionary and radical as its politics).
    • The Intervision Song Contest was the Warsaw Pact's short-lived version of the Eurovision Song Contest. It ran from 1977 to 1980, before being canceled due to the rise of Solidarity in Poland (it was held in the Polish city of Sopot). Surprisingly, it's also managed to become this for a new generation — in 2014, Vladimir Putin restarted the Intervision Song Contest after years of discussing the idea, this time including members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation as well (though it's been stuck in Development Hell for a long time). Intervision's predecessor, the Sopot International Song Festival, also deserves mention here. It is still going strong today, though it's no longer a contest per se, but rather, one of Poland's biggest music festivals.
    • The Jewish Autonomous Oblast was the Soviet answer to Israel. It was an autonomous republic inside the USSR made for Jews (every nationality in the USSR was supposed to have one) that was rooted in secular Jewish socialism as opposed to Zionism, nationalism, or religion, which were seen as anti-socialist. The official language was Yiddish as opposed to Hebrew, and its monuments contained symbols of Judaism like menorahs. Unofficially, it was also seen as a way of advancing the settlement of the sparsely populated Far East. Soviet authorities invited progressive Jews around the world to help in the construction of the Oblast, but most of them spurned it in favor of Israel, a nation that was itself fairly socialist in its early days; the Jewish residents never exceeded a quarter of the population. The fact that it was located in the middle of the Far East along the Chinese border, a place with no cultural meaning for Jews, did little to endear it to them, nor did the opposition of the natives. The Oblast still exists today and is still officially a "Jewish Oblast", but only 0.2% of the population is Jewish.
    • There is a theory that a popular motif of the Soviet art depicting Marx, Lenin, and the current leader of the Soviet Union in a row looking forward grew popular because it acted as a Soviet version of the Christian trinity. Marx takes the spot of god because he was the progenitor of the ideology and has the beard to match the traditional Grandpa God. Lenin replaced Jesus as the man who made the ideology happen. Insert Current Leader Here is the holy spirit who, especially after Stalin, will set things back on track to realizing the communist utopia.
  • The US, in turn, promoted their own alternatives in the ideological war against the communists.
    • In response to the aforementioned Socialist Realism, the United States intelligence services promoted abstract modern art in the 1950s and '60s. While many such artists held political views that would've been suspect in the stridently anti-communist US, and modern art was frequently mocked in Middle America as a symbol of big-city elitism, the CIA still saw propaganda value in it. It served a dual purpose: as a symbol of American creativity and intellectual freedom versus the Soviet Culture Police, and as a rebuttal to the idea that America was a cultural wasteland dependent on Europe for all its artistic accomplishments.
    • It has been suggested that part of the reason for the early successes of the Civil Rights Movement was because a good number of pragmatic anti-communists viewed it as a way of challenging the Soviet Union's portrayal of the US as a land of virulent racism, blunting their egalitarian rhetoric in the Third World. It's uncertain how great a factor this was — many segregationists viewed civil rights as a communist plot, and indeed, American communists did play a role in laying the foundation for the movement, going to the South in the '30s and organizing several African American communities. Still, the idea of turning the US into a Moral Substitute to the USSR on race relations definitely gets played up in the pop-history version of the Civil Rights Movement, and anti-communists, even some who had been segregationists at the time, were quick to co-opt its successes once explicit white-power racism had faded into a fringe viewpoint in the '70s.note 
    • Before that, during The Great Depression, the New Deal was conceived as an alternative as well, a reform initiative that co-opted the egalitarian rhetoric and class angst of the socialists and reinforced government loyalty via a welfare state, relief efforts, government support for business, and labor and financial regulation. Many left-wing well-wishers, fence-sitters, and fellow travelers saw the government and the capitalist system as responsive to change and open to popular consensus, thus shifting away from radical politics. The American communists knew what was happening, and blasted the New Deal as an attempt to buy the workers' loyalty, destroy their class consciousness, and prevent the revolution, but their efforts quickly proved futile as recruitment dried up. Later generations of liberals saw the "New Deal" as a key reason for America avoiding revolution or uplift, unlike other nations in the '30s, and it became the prototype for the economic system now known as social democracy. During the Red Scare of the '50s, however, many conservatives would develop a backlash against the New Deal and liberals who supported it, and today, a system that was created to save capitalism and prevent revolution is now ironically seen as a socialist program.
    • Neoconservatism began life as the capitalist substitute to the idea of the "world socialist revolution". Many of the leading lights of the neoconservative movement were former Trotskyists and other anti-Soviet leftists who grew disillusioned with the mainstream left in The '70s, due to the rise of the counterculture and what they saw as an unwillingness to confront the Soviet Union (which Trotskyists were never a fan of). Even as they migrated to the right, however, they remained committed to the Marxist idea that one economic system served as the endpoint of history, and to Trotsky's idea that the revolution had to be worldwide. They just swapped out the nature of that revolution: instead of communism, it would be liberal, capitalist democracy that would sweep the world, backed by the power of the US military.
  • Before the New Deal, Otto von Bismarck, the conservative "Iron Chancellor" of Germany in the late 19th century, built the German welfare state as a substitute for socialism. Seeing how much support the socialists were getting from the working class by appealing to their poor standard of living, in the 1880s Bismarck pushed for universal health insurance, an old-age pension program, disability insurance, and other social programs in order to win the workers' support for traditional sources of authority.
  • Mahatma Gandhi somehow managed to be a substitute for both socialism and fascism:
    • As George Orwell and Leon Trotsky both noted, before Gandhi, colonialist revolt and resistance was seen in the context of global internationalism, socialism, and communism. Gandhi, however, created a mass anti-colonialist movement that essentially combined leftist practices and ideas (protests, sit-ins, boycotts) with fairly traditional and conservative values (family, tradition, vegetarianism). This essentially pushed the centre-left of India's independence movement towards the centre, with socialists and communists not able to get mass support outside of a few major areas of India. Before long, even the secular Nehru, despite his plans for industrializing India, started cloaking himself in traditional Indian habits and customs.
    • Likewise, Gandhi's reinterpretation of Indian tradition to further progressive ideas (the erosion of the caste system, religious tolerance, rights and education for women) also left the right-wing and quasi-fascists in the lurch, since Gandhi was the picture of Indian values in his clothes and was highly religious and Holier Than Thou. Gandhi would, in fact, be assassinated by a right-wing Hindu named Nathuram Godse who, at his trial, said that Gandhi's ideas of nonviolence were incompatible with Hinduism.
    • Gandhi's pacifism and anti-imperialism, moreover, alienated the military-minded such as Subhash Chandra Bose, who created the Indian National Army (the first non-segregated multi-religious Indian army with men and women serving) without any fixed ideological base outside of anti-imperialism (and which led to a tactical Enemy Mine with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan that never really did get broad support).
  • Similarly, the Catholic Church's 1891 papal encyclical Rerum novarum, critiquing both the excesses of contemporary capitalism and the radical socialism that had emerged in response to it, became the basis for distributism. An attempt to codify Catholic social teaching into an economic system, distributism can be summed up with the quote by G. K. Chesterton (one of the main proponents of distributism) that "the problem with capitalism is not too many capitalists, but not enough capitalists." It had an ideal of a regulated market economy where ownership of private property was widespread and diffuse ("three acres and a cow" was a popular slogan) rather than concentrated in the hands of the elite or the state, ensuring that there would be many small-to-medium farmers, manufacturers, and merchants and few, if any, businesses and banks big enough to thoroughly dominate the economy. They supported the rights of organized labor but opposed contemporary unions for their radicalism and class warfare, instead favoring a modernized guild system as an alternative that encouraged class collaboration.

    Distributism never took off on the level that socialism did, as its tight wedding to Catholicism limited its appeal to non-Catholics in its original form. However, ideas from distributism did influence anti-trust legislation in the US and the Christian democracy movement in Europe and Latin America, and later entered the secular co-op, credit union, and social credit movements. It would also be rediscovered in The '70s by two radically different groups of activists: the nascent environmental and back-to-the-land movements on one hand, who saw it as a 'green' alternative to contemporary capitalism and socialism (influenced by E. F. Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful), and neo-fascists on the other, who saw it as a model for building a 'racially pure' nation (influenced by A. K. Chesterton, second cousin of G. K. and a co-founder of the National Front in Britain).
  • In Texas the 1824 flag and the famous "come and take it" flag are gaining popularity as a non-racist alternative to the use of the confederate flag to represent southern pride and other anti-centralist values.
    • The less famous "Star and Bars" is generally preferred over the famous "battle flag" by Civil War reenactors, as the battle flag is now heavily associated with white supremacy. Those wishing to pay some respects to history by acknowledging the Confederacy, but not invoking the racism that the Confederacy has been associated with since the civil war, also generally fly the Stars and Bars.
  • The teaching of "Holy Ghost intoxication", or being "drunk in the Spirit", a spurious claim that comes from misinterpretation of Scriptures (mostly Acts chapter 2 and Ephesians 5:18) that is preached by the likes of Benny Hinn, Rodney Howard Browne, and Kenneth E. Hagin, is often preached in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches as an alternative to getting high from real drugs. John Crowder even goes so far as to call it "tokin' the Ghost". VICE has a YouTube video on the subject that can be seen here.
  • While it may be hard to imagine today given the rhetoric surrounding it, the health care reform plan that ultimately became "Obamacare" started out as a conservative, free-market alternative to Bill Clinton's plan (dubbed "Hillarycare" after his wife, the main architect of the plan) in The '90s, promoted as a way to advance the virtue of personal responsibility by requiring people to buy health insurance. Famously, Mitt Romney implemented such a plan at the state level as governor of Massachusetts. It was only after Barack Obama, a Democrat, championed the plan at the federal level that it was disowned by Republicans. This left Romney in the awkward position of having to be against something he favored as governor when he ran against Obama in 2012 (although he tried declaring it a state's rights issue).
  • Labor Day in the U.S. is held the first Monday in September, instead of May 1 like in other countries, because of the association of the latter date with those Dirty Communists. The American labor movement was itself a moral substitute for Communism, thanks to the influence of the staunchly anti-Communist AFL-CIO under Samuel Gompers eventually squeezing out the more radical Industrial Workers of the World. The early successes of the labor movement meant that workers could gain representation and fair treatment without overthrowing the capitalist system, which partly explains why Communism never became a significant movement in America.
  • A private committee in China established the "Confucius Peace Prize" in response to a Chinese dissident receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. The prize was proposed as a way "to declare China's view in peace and human rights to the world."
  • The Knights of Columbus were founded for two main reasons: a) to sell affordable life insurance to Catholic workers, who often worked in dangerous jobs, and b) to serve as a fraternal organization that Catholics could join in good conscience, since they were prohibited from joining organizations like the Freemasons under pain of excommunication up until Canon 1374.
  • In The New Russia, hardbass (pump-dancing to hardstyle music in public) emerged in 2000s Saint Petersburg to keep young people away from smoking, alcoholism, & drug abuse. Also, they make an assertive political statement.
  • Around 2008, a group of college students in Florida found themselves offended by provocative, Fanservice-laden ads for the likes of Mac lipstick and Calvin Klein. So they made their own sanitized versions and put them on public display alongside their sexy counterparts. A particularly jarring example would be their version of an ad for Viva-Glam lipstick by Mac. In the original version, a medium-sized paragraph appeared at the right side of the page enthusing that all proceeds from the lipstick goes to a fund "to help men, women and children who are living with HIV and AIDS". The sanitized version (rather crudely) enlarges the portion that mentions the fund's cause, and it becomes "to help men, and childern..."
  • Some computer science researchers have proposed using male model Fabio Lanzoni note  to test image processing algorithms as an alternative to "Lenna", a picture taken from an early '70s Playboy issue (though cropped to remove the nudity), seeing the use of a female pin-up as a sexist relic of the days when programming was a "boys' club" that sends a poor image to women getting involved in the industry.
  • A number of Christian motorcycle clubs and ministries have sprung up as an answer to the Hells Angels and similar biker gangs, offering the same sense of brotherhood and interest in motorcycles (mostly Harley-Davidsons, though some accept bikers with "metric" or foreign-made bikes), all while serving God and teaching the gospel instead of the usual decadent and sometimes criminal nature common with biker gangs. Some went so far as to adopting the two or three-piece patch, but this didn't occasionally bode well with regular outlaw bikers, as what motorcycle ministries found out the hard way.
  • Some countries have a more humane version of Bullfighting in which there's no killing or wounding of the bull. These include Portugal, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Venezuela where both the frequent "matador" individual style (albeit without killing or pinching the bull) and the collective "improvised bullfighting" (when a group of volunteers try to avoid the bull or bulls with more danger for the humans than for the bulls) are common. France also has a similar variant of improvised bullfighting using a cow. Mexico is gradually switching to the most humane versions as the traditional bullfighting is getting more and more unpopular. Many animal rights activists still consider these types of bullfighting cruel as it causes unnecessary stress to the animals, yet by far better than the other option.
    • Dog fights are pretty much illegal all over the world, however in some countries like Russia and Japan there's a legal variant which involve dogs trained to not bite each other, with a veterinarian on site and heavy supervision, were the dog wins by showing dominance and supremacy over the other. Still considered questionable to some people but certainly much more humane.
    • Interestingly, cock fights organizers generally despise illegal dog fights and reject any comparison arguing that their activity is very different, seeing themselves as the moral alternative. Cock fights are illegal in most countries and in those that not are still pretty controversial, however some people may argue that whilst bull and dog fighting may have some more humane variants as the mentioned above there's no way to do the same with cocks. Of course, a lot of people, especially animal rights activists, would consider all of them to be cruel.
  • The Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement often seeks to create and promote FOSS alternatives to popular proprietary programs. For instance, there is LibreOffice in place of Microsoft Office, GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop, Mozilla Firefox first to Internet Explorer, later Google Chrome, and last but not least, GNU and/or Linux as an alternative to all manner of propriety operating systems. note 
  • For many years, the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida was the gathering place for much of South Florida's upper crust, and a popular destination for fundraisers, galas, and charity events. However, upon the election of Mar-a-Lago's owner Donald Trump to the US Presidency in 2016, South Florida notables, charities, and others who either disagreed with Trump's politics or wanted to maintain an apolitical image began to take their business to The Breakers, a competing Palm Beach resort, while right-wing activist groups began to book their own events at Mar-a-Lago out of support for Trump.
  • The Tap Water Awards were a series of awards given out from 2001 to 2006 by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland for theatre, comedy, dance, storytelling, and Arabic poetry in contrast to the Perrier Awards, named after the brand of mineral water owned by Nestlé, the subject of a long-running boycott over its marketing of infant formula in the developing world. The Tap Water Awards ended after Perrier withdrew its sponsorship from what are now known as the Edinburgh Comedy Awards.
  • Multilevel marketing companies have been targeting conservative Christian denominations like evangelicals and Mormons because women are discouraged from holding jobs. MLM plans claim that women can be entrepreneurs while still being wives and mothers, even if success is a lot more difficult with MLM than the companies advertise.
  • In general, this is a common feature of many boycott campaigns. If a pressure group sees a business or service as engaged in behavior (mistreatment of employees or animals, environmental destruction, support for controversial political, religious, or social causes) that goes against their values, oftentimes they will point to an alternative company that provides a similar service without the parts that they find objectionable, and recommend that people buy from them or use their service instead.
  • The Olde English Bulldogge and the Retromop pug are intended to be more ethical versions of the English bulldog and pug dog breeds. They're bred to resemble what the breeds originally looked like before they became plagued with various health issues caused by being bred for more and more squished-in faces over the years.
  • Creation science was the fundamentalist Christian substitute for the theory of evolution by natural selection. In the postwar era, most American Christians generally accepted evolution and an old age for the Earth, seeing the Creation Myth in the Book of Genesis as metaphorical and natural processes as all part of the master plan of a God who worked In Mysterious Ways. However, the rise of the evangelical movement in the '60s and '70s, which took a literal interpretation of The Bible as a historically factual document as one of its theological cornerstones, led to many attempts to find proof that the events described in Genesis had actually occurred as written. A whole fleet of pseudoscientific ideas emerged from the foundation of creation science, from "flood geology" (a substitute for mainstream geology, claiming that most of Earth's geographical features were carved by The Great Flood) to baraminology (a substitute for Linnaean taxonomy, attempting to explain both observed evolution within species and how Noah managed to get so many animals on his ark), all propped up by a belief that the theory of evolution had produced numerous social ills (rising crime, loose morals, racism, nihilism, totalitarianism) and that its weaknesses were being covered up by a politically-motivated scientific establishment dominated by anti-Christian atheists.

    In terms of mainstream political acceptance, creation science had its greatest push in the '80s and '90s with the ascent of the Christian Right in the United States, only to face backlash (not least of all from actual biologists) as its weaknesses as a scientific hypothesis became apparent and Establishment Clause challenges kept it out of public school classrooms. This, in turn, led to intelligent design in the 2000s as a substitute for the substitute, one that scrubbed away the obvious religious references and focused more on perceived weaknesses in evolutionary theory in order to present itself as a non-denominational alternative to evolution. Given that many of the people promoting intelligent design had been promoting creation science just before, most people saw right through it, and the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover in 2005 all but ended the push.
  • Similar to the above is Hare Krishna creationism.note  Like its Christian counterpart, it purports to be an alternative to evolution by natural selection; unlike such, it goes in the opposite direction, proclaiming that modern humans have actually existed for far longer than scientists believe (as in, at least a billion years) and that life has been slowly devolving from more advanced precursors.
  • Many right-wing Christian organizations such as Focus on the Family counterprotest the Day of Silence, an unofficial day meant to focus on homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools, with "Day of Truth" or "Day of Dialogue" events that try to preach against homosexuality under the guise of "promoting respectable discourse".
  • Abstinence-only sex education arose in The '90s from conservative Christian outrage against sex education programs in public schools, which they felt promoted licentiousness and homosexuality. While they felt that sex education should ideally come strictly from the parents, most of them recognized that, between the easy availability of pornography and the fact that most states had sex education as a mandatory part of the curriculum, that was never going to realistically happen, and so they pushed for sex ed programs designed to steer young people away from premarital sex. Most studies on sex education have concluded that abstinence-only programs have, at best, been far less effective (if at all) at preventing Teen Pregnancy and the spread of STDs than comprehensive ones, and at worst can backfire by leaving sexually active teenagers with little knowledge of safe sex. Regardless, it remains popular in many parts of the US for moral reasons.
  • Due to Autism Speaks' controversial practices, many opposers have requested support for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) instead. ASAN is usually the go-to alternative for Autism Speaks amongst autistic persons and a few organizations.
  • Lebanese-born Australian fashion designer Aheda Zanetti came up with the burqini (or burkini) in the 2000s as a Muslim-friendly substitute for women's swimwear, combining the comfort and flexibility of a regular swimsuit with the modesty of a burqa. It unsurprisingly attracted controversy, especially in France, where head and body coverings are banned due to laws on secularism in the country where people are expected to abide by a "religiously neutral arena", though said ban was also ridiculed even by Western and liberal Muslim commentators—British Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz provided a critique of both the burqini and the ban, saying "Burkini is sad symbol of Islam today going backwards on gender issues. Banning it is sad symbol of liberalism today going backwards in reply." The burqini has also been adopted by non-Muslim women such as Orthodox Jews and skin cancer survivors or those with a high risk thereof, as it allows them the flexibility of swimwear and the protection of wearing full clothing regardless of religious beliefs.
  • German Studentenverbindungen (the local equivalent of college fraternities) originally required all members to regularly duel in a controlled environment (the "Mensur"). This did not sit well with Catholic students, due to the violence involved, so non-dueling Catholic Studentenverbindungen were quickly founded. In addition, due to the wide-spread antisemitism at the time, Jews were often barred from either, so they founded their own as well.
  • Discussed heavily in the New York magazine article "The Pious World of Christian Sonic the Hedgehog Fan Art", where the author, who was raised Christian, recounts just how common this was growing up, and how miserable and alienated it tended to make the kids involved. He argues that this is why Sonic the Hedgehog had such a large Periphery Demographic of Christian kids even though nothing about it was even implicitly religious: for a lot of them, it was one of the few "secular" franchises that was both legitimately cool and also family-friendly enough that it wouldn't offend their parents, giving them a safe outlet to engage with secular pop culture outside the Christian bubble.
    To be a Christian youth-group kid is to be in an eternal state of knowing that you are getting the second-hand versions of everything else that’s cool, and you’re often getting it years after everyone has already moved onto the next thing. That your parents and your church are constantly handing you the knockoff that’s not nearly as good, not nearly as fun, and certainly not considered "cool" by anyone other than the people handing it to you in the first place.

Fictional Examples

    Comic Books 
  • Viz magazine's Modern Parents have started their own more progressive versions of the Internet ("CareNet") and Greenpeace, complete with a motorised inflatable dinghy named the Rainbow Peace-Worker. Readers familiar with the characters can probably guess how successful they were.
  • A brief episode in Persepolis depicts the Islamic Republic of Iran trying to develop a Disney-style theme park based on their own mythology. They obviously didn't think this through: Iranian myth is full of unveiled women (and pagan gods, being a pre-Islamic mythology), and once they saw the design they realized that they could neither rewrite their mythic characters nor put veils on them, and they called the whole thing off.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bob Roberts parodies this idea by having the title character as the fanatically conservative child of hippies who uses the folksy musical style of '60s protest songs, with their left-wing populist themes, to express his decidedly right-wing ideology.
  • Reefer Madness: The Musical: in the film version, at the end of "Listen To Jesus, Jimmy," Jesus challenges Jimmy to "take a hit of God" and see if he can "handle the high". Jimmy refuses, saying, "I've got a new god now!"

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Dumbing of Age:
    • Joyce's favourite childhood show, Hymmal the Humming Hymnal (a parody of Psalty The Singing Songbook), with messages like "All the good things we do are God working through us". Joyce shows atheist Dorothy one episode of it, and Dorothy admits afterward that she was never going to enjoy it.
    • Another strip uses one of the real versions to illustrate Joyce's upbringing, when she observes that some board game geeks at a party are playing "some kind of secular version of Settlers of Canaan".

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons, with its broad satire of American pop culture, has parodied this trope on more than one occasion.
    • The episode "I'm Goin' to Praiseland" has Ned Flanders opening a theme park called Praiseland, a parody of Heritage USA and the Holy Land Experience. The park quickly becomes a dud, with visitors finding it too focused on Sunday School-style evangelism at the expense of entertainment, until an apparent miracle at the park (actually the result of a dangerous gas leak) causes attendance to skyrocket. Unfortunately, when Homer and Ned discover the gas leak that could turn into a gas explosion that could kill everyone if it comes into contact with a flame, Homer & Ned stop the orphans from lighting candles by pushing them away, which shocks the visitors into leaving Praiseland, which is shut down for good in the midst of the controversy.
    • In "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", Rod and Todd Flanders are seen playing Billy Graham's Bible Blaster, a parody of Christian video games.
      Rod Flanders: No, you just winged him and turned him into a Unitarian!
    • In "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", Lisa, disgusted by the questionable messages that the Malibu Stacy doll (a parody of Barbie) sends to young girls, creates the Lisa Lionheart doll as a more positive role model. She even gets help in designing the doll from Stacy Lovell, the original designer of Malibu Stacy who was kicked out of the company she created. Unfortunately, Lisa Lionheart flops despite a ton of hype, with everybody distracted by the new Malibu Stacy doll (with new hat!) that came out on the same day.
    • In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Ned was offering trading cards similar to baseball cards but based on religious figures. Bart, Milhouse, and Nelson were actually a little intrigued and almost fell for it until Ned told them that "learning about religion can be fun", the boys run away.
    • In "Homer & Ned's Hail Mary Pass", after Homer does a victory dance which Ned catches on video, it becomes a viral sensation, leading to Tom Brady, LeBron James, Michelle Kwan, Yao Ming, and Warren Sapp asking Homer to show them his victory dance. Later on, when Homer is asked to choreograph the Super Bowl halftime show, he can't think of anything, so he asks Ned Flanders for help, and Ned decides the Super Bowl would be the perfect venue for his halftime show about Noah's Ark. After the halftime show concludes, the Super Bowl audience hates it, accusing Homer & Ned of using the Super Bowl halftime show as a platform for promoting and imposing Christianity on the country with their "blatant display of decency".
    • In "Sex, Pies, and Idiot Scrapes", Ned mentions "AD/BC": A Christian cover band of AC/DC. One of their hits being "Kindly Deeds Done for Free".
  • King of the Hill:
    • The first Halloween Episode has a Moral Guardian do her best to destroy the holiday out of her belief that it's Satanic. Instead, she offered up a "Hallelujah House", which served mainly to beat children over the head with Christian aesops (like "Premarital sex kills instantly").
    • The page quote comes from an episode where Bobby gets interested in Christianity due to a group of devout skateboarders. Hank spends most of the episode looking kind of bad (since he started off wanting Bobby to care more about their faith, but hates the direction he's taking), but in the end he explains that he just doesn't want Bobby to treat something that important as a mere fad, like his long-forgotten Troll Dolls and Tamagochi.
  • An early Family Guy episode had Peter watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos: Edited for Rednecks where Sagan's voice was intermittently dubbed over with a hillbilly accent replacing the scientific explanations with religious ones.
    Carl Sagan: I'm Carl Sagan. Just how old is our planet? Scientists believe it is four bi-hundreds and hundreds of years old. Scientists have determined that the universe was created by a-Gooooooooooooooooooooood-ig bang. If you look at the bones of a-Jesus-asaurus Rex it is clear by the use of carbon dating that-Mountain Dew is the best soda ever made.

Alternative Title(s): The Moral Alternative, Moral Substitute


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