Although faith-based cinema has been around for years—in 1970 pioneering Christian heartthrob Pat Boone starred in The Cross and the Switchblade—it is now attracting a more glamorous talent pool of former semi-stars who are trying to resurrect their careers by going full Christian. Along with Cameron, Baldwin will join a faith-based A-list including Lee Majors (The Six Million Dollar Man; the forthcoming Jerusalem Countdown), Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer; A Christmas Wish), Kevin Sorbo (Xena: Warrior Princess; Soul Surfer), and former Love Boat star Gavin MacLeod, who confirmed to Fox News in 2009, “I know who my Admiral is.” According to Ken Raney, the president of the Christian film website ClashEntertainment, Hollywood just “can’t keep God down.”
Christian Hollywood is merely an expanding part of a broader tapestry. Erstwhile celebrities are increasingly hawking all manner of branded goods in the multibillion-dollar Christian marketplace. MC Hammer grew up Pentecostal, hit it big, strayed, filed for bankruptcy, and is now an ordained minister. He also runs a mixed-martial-artists management company. Kim Alexis, the one-time face of Revlon’s Ultima II cosmetics, entered the Christian marketplace about 10 years ago, when she launched a set of inspirational exercise CDs, including Praise Workout with Kim Alexis: My Redeemer Lives. Lisa Whelchel was briefly famous in the ’80s for playing Blair, the over-coiffed brat on The Facts of Life. Now she’s a home-schooling enthusiast and the best-selling author of a series of worship guides for busy mothers.