The American Family Association is continuing its campaign against The Book of Daniel on NBC. I just received another e-mail calling on me not to watch the show, of course, but also to ask my local affiliate to stop airing it, and also to ask the advertisers not to sponsor it.
In support of this, they quote mail in which their viewers discovered, horror of horrors, that the characters in this drama are human. They have problems. They do things they aren’t supposed to do. But I ask this: In precisely what way does this distinguish them from the rest of humanity? I imagine that the leaders and staffers of the AFA live in a world in which people don’t struggle with these kinds of problems. Perhaps they believe that evangelical churches are never plagued with these issues.
Some people need to listen to the opening sermon in the show. We sin. We struggle. And our pastors and church leaders do so no less than the rest of us. If we can’t acknowledge this fact and get on with healing and building up, then Christianity does, indeed, have a problem. But our problem is not NBC for portraying Christians as people. It’s with us for trying to pretend that we’re so much better than other people.
But all of that is beside the point here. Why cannot the AFA simply issue a note to its members that they have previewed this show and that they don’t recommend watching it? Why do we call for affiliates not to air it and for advertisers not to sponsor it? This certainly suggests that the issue is not helping their constituency make good choices. It’s about controlling what the American people can see, hear, and think.
There is a proper way to deal with shows that we disapprove. We don’t watch them. We tell our friends we don’t like them. If we’re a big organization, we can tell all our members and those we influence not to watch them. Then people make choices.
And to provide more evidence, currently featured on its web site (January 9, 2006) is a headline indicating they may boycott Ford Motor Company. Their complaint against the company? Ford is fostering the “gay agenda.” (This started six months ago. To get more details, see Another Swing of the Pocketbook (from MSNBC).
I emphatically reject these kinds of efforts. The only thing I will boycott or advocate boycotting is a bad product. By not buying bad products I encourage people to produce good ones. That goes for TV shows or cars.