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Scumbag Christian is an advice animal image macro series featuring a photo of American actor and Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron with a Scumbag Steve hat photoshopped onto his head. The captions typically associate the character with hypocritical biblical beliefs, homophobic attitudes and creationist debate arguments.
The first instance of an image macro with the name “Scumbag Christian” (below right) used an image of Buddy Christ, the parody religious icon from the 1999 satirical religious movie Dogma , and was shared on FunnyJunk on May 20th, 2011. A Scumbag Christian image macro with this background was also submitted to the Atheism subreddit on August 9th, 2011. Subsequently, the name “Scumbag Christian” was used for a Quickmeme page using a photo of actor Kirk Cameron. The initial instance (below left) was shared on the Atheism subreddit on September 11th, 2011 with the caption “Tattoos are a sin Leviticus 19:28 / has piercings.” The post received more than 450 upvotes within 2 months.
On September 13th, 2011, a compilation of Scumbag Christian were posted to the The Friend Atheist blog. The free-thinker blog Sparrows and Sandcastles posted an article about the series the next day, encouraging discussion on the topics it presented. On October 31st, a derivative with the caption “Doesn’t celebrate halloween because it’s a pagan ritual / puts up Christmas tree” reached the front page of Reddit.
The same day, a thread was posted to the MMA enthusiast forums on Spladde.com that featured various “Scumbag Christian” images. Additional derivatives have since spread to 9gag, Reddit and on Tumblr under the tag “#scumbag christian”. The Quickmeme page has accumulated 563 submissions as of December 8th, 2011.
Kirk Cameron is known for playing Mike Seaver in the 1980s American sitcom Growing Pains and Cameron “Buck” Williams in the Christian film series Left Behind. According to an ABC Nightline article from May 7th, 2007, Cameron was an atheist in his teens before becoming a born-again Christian during his time on Growing Pains. Afterwards, he partnered with fellow evangelist Ray Comfort and famously attempted to disprove evolution with a banana in the viral “Atheist’s Nightmare” video and with a photo of a fictional duck-crocodile hybrid called the “crocoduck”.
Search queries for “scumbag christian” spiked in November of 2011, shortly after reaching the front page of Reddit.