Wednesday, February 08, 2006

BOYCOTT BOYCOTTING! Part 3 of 3

So, if you’ve been reading the prior posts, you know that I am ranting about the organized protests of television shows, movies and theatre in the name of Christianity. I’ve mentioned that I think these protests promote the wrong things, while doing little to nothing to curb negative things. But even if it did work, I still oppose the idea – at least in the manner that it is being done.

Why?

Because, speaking as a born-again Christian, it isn’t who we are.

During the last presidential election, John Stewart (THE DAILY SHOW) interviewed a leader in the Democratic Party. In selling Senator Kerry as a candidate, the leader listed all the things wrong with George Bush. John asked him if Kerry was only “not-Bush,” or if there was anything that made him his own man. The leader responded that, of course, Senator Kerry wasn’t defined by Bush, he was his own man. John asked for examples.

And the leader repeated a list of things that were wrong with George Bush.

The democrats did not lose the last presidential election because the majority of voters love George Bush. They lost because their campaign was telling America only what to vote against, without ever offering something to vote for.

Let me speak to the Christians reading this for a minute: We have been spreading lies.

We have been telling people in loud, proud voices that the term Christian is defined by what we don’t like. We have been telling people that Jesus came to this plane because G-d so hated the world that he sent his only rebuker.

Did Jesus speak in negatives? Yep. Were there things in his culture that required standing up and saying “stop that!” Absolutely, with an overturned table here and there to make the point clearer. Was Jesus’ message defined by what he was against? Not on your life.

Or, more appropriately, not on your soul.

Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love G-d; the second greatest – to love our neighbors. Do this, and we won’t even have to be bothered by the “shalt nots.” We will be too busy doing the right thing to get bogged down in the harmful things.

Writer Robert G. Lee put it best: “Christianity is not a reactive religion, but a proactive one.” And Pope Benedict has come out with his first encyclical, speaking to what love means to the Christian – a positive, proactive, agape love.

Jesus said they would know we are his followers by the love we show. And yet somehow we seem to prefer they know us by what movies and tv shows we don’t want to see.

Here’s a test for you: the next time any organization asks you to join a letter writing campaign, or a picket line, or a boycott against a show, ask them first what shows they are actively for.

Get a list of the shows where they organized a letter writing campaign in order to let the writers know that they were doing truly interesting work (where was the campaign for BOOMTOWN?).

Ask for the number of their membership that showed up to chant in support of a movie that entertained us as families – adults and children – without having to go crass (where is the Christian campaign for HOODWINKED?).

Ask them how many advertisers they swamped with letters saying that they would go out of their way to buy their products because they chose to advertise during smart, quality programming (did the advertisers of LOST get a boost in sales the week “23rd Psalm” aired?).

If they can’t produce their list, if they are only against and never for, if they only understand the tactics of hatred and not the tactics of love… I guess you might want to reconsider what is Christ-like about their Christ-ian boycott.

And then write a fan letter to some poor tv writing schmuck that got something right.

Just my thoughts,

-Sean

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We have been telling people in loud, proud voices that the term Christian is defined by what we don’t like.

Funny; in my experience Christian is defined by Young Earth Creation Science and Pre-Trib Secret Rapture Eschatology.

We have been telling people that Jesus came to this plane because G-d so hated the world that he sent his only rebuker.

Now THAT is a great line!

Alice Bass said...

Great rant, SG! And so true. When Disney was boycotted, oh so many years ago, I was working at the theme park in Orlando. I felt like a missionary left in China. I was so alone! And accused by my co-workers "Why did they leave us? To hell with them!"
On gay days at the parks the boycotts are horrible. And the reaction of the red-shirtted gays even worse. So defensive and angry. But then there are the families that choose to visit the parks on gay days, to be present with their children, to love and demonstrate what family love looks like. I picked one such man from an audience of red-shirt angry boys during a show. I put the family man in the show, and when I made him the king in our playlet, and asked him to greet his subjects he said:"The Lord be with you." And every one of those red shirts replied, "And also with you."
Being present works.

Gaffney said...

Anonymous: I've looked up several lines attributed to you in my Bartlett's -- you are one smart dude. Or dudette.

Alice: Always nice to hear your pratical feedback. Show our love through positive example? What a radical notion.

-Sean