Stephen Baldwin and America’s Culture War

Posted on August 9, 2006 

Stephen Baldwin and America’s Culture War

A battle over a sex shop in a small town near New York shows how a local problem can quickly turn into a culture war in America. At the center is a famous actor who became a born-again Christian after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Like his three older brothers, Alec, Daniel and William, Baldwin is an actor. He played his best-known role 11 years ago in the film “The Usual Suspects,” which won two Academy Awards. He has also starred in a host of insignificant films, has done a few sex scenes, has been featured on reality shows, has smoked, gambled, and gotten drunk. Like his brothers, he’s always been considered a bit rough around the edges — and a Democrat. But on Sept. 11, 2001, Baldwin became a born-again Christian. He gave up smoking, stopped drinking and started showing up at US President George W. Bush’s campaign events.

Baldwin grew up on Long Island, spent some time living in Arizona with his wife and then moved to Nyack nine years ago. The town’s residents are used to celebrities and hardly even noticed him. At least not until two years ago, when Baldwin began posting large signs bearing scripture on his front lawn. Last February, he showed up in front of the future porn shop with a digital camera to take pictures of construction workers, who were updating the building to meet the planning board’s requirements. Baldwin told a reporter with a local paper that he planned to photograph each of the porn shop’s patrons and their license plates. The photos, he said, would be offered to newspapers or posted on the Web.


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