“The Book of Daniel” has run it’s very short course on network television, and boy has it stirred up the Christian community along the way.
The series was about a Pastor, who is addicted to pain pills, who is married to a lovely woman, who happens to be an alcoholic. They have three children, one 16 year old girl who sleeps with her boyfriend, one teen-age son who is gay, and one adopted Chinese boy who is a rebel. They have lesbian relatives, crooked priest friends and Daniel talks to a wimpy Jesus – in his car, in the yard, at the mall……
Some of the Christian community has been horrified at the portrayal of pastors, priests and especially Jesus in this series. Boycotts have been rampant, nasty letters have been circulating, and anger is high. Donald Wildman (The American Family Association) and Reverend Lou Sheldon have been the leaders in the boycotts and letters. They truly believed that their boycotts would get the show off the air – for if the advertisers don’t buy ads the show will die.
And AFA has just recently announced that they have “won the battle!” “The Book of Daniel” has been pulled off the air by the network and the AFA believes it’s because of them.
The Hollywood Prayer Network wants to let you know that the entertainment industry is NOT run by money and it is not hindered by boycotts. It is run by WORLD VIEW and decision to air shows or pull shows is determined by world view. There are TV shows that have been on the air for years and not getting good money from advertisers, or even good ratings, but the executives and the creators want it on. There have been shows that have been top shows with high ad dollars being paid and huge numbers of viewers, and the network execs have found reasons to pull them. The reason is because “they want to.” Just like we do want we want, and we fight for what we want and we’ll spend money on things that we like. That’s human nature and Hollywood is no different. We don’t blame human beings for acting human, but we have to understand that Jew or Gentile – we’re all alike.
Therefore, HPN wants our members and readers to know what inside sources have confirmed; “The Book of Daniel” was taken off the air, not because of the AFA or any Christian efforts to kill the show succeeded, but just because people didn’t watch it. It wasn’t because of advertisers, it was because it wasn’t strong enough as a drama. It wasn’t a show that appealed to middle America. It wasn’t a great show. We didn’t have to get all upset and fight a battle that only the Lord can fight. We just need to pray about shows that upset us, and not watch them!
Yes, it’s great to take the time to write an intelligent, personal letter to a network Exec. or a creator of a show, telling them why you can’t watch their show (or why you love their show, in those cases!). But it is NOT helpful to the Christians working and ministering in Hollywood, for Christians to write nasty, demanding letters or boycott shows with mass postcards, pre-printed messages and angry notes. That only hurts our cause and makes the non-believers hate us and Jesus. If seekers are to know that we are Christians “by our love” then we must all act loving toward them.
There is a verse that I think is important when wondering how to respond to projects that portray our Lord in a bad light, that misrepresent Him or even defame His name. And it is Paul in Philippians saying: “But that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that people are telling about Christ, whether they are sincere or not. That is what makes me glad.” Phil. 1:18.
Let’s rejoice that we have opportunities to turn into good, what the enemy may be trying to use for evil. Let’s ask the Lord to use us to preach the truth of the gospel in conversations about TV shows where He is portrayed wrongly. Let’s engage in culture and lift up our Lord when others are throwing Him around because they don’t know who He is. And let’s trust that the Lord can handle the non-believers. We just have to show His love, His forgiveness, His patience, His kindness and His truth – yet with gentleness and reverence.
I personally found incredible opportunities to share my faith with people who saw “The Book of Daniel” and didn’t have an opinion on the portrayal of Jesus. In that light, I’m sorry it’s over. My friend, who worked on the show, had the unique opportunity to share his faith with the whole producing and writing staff in the writers room every week, because they were talking about Jesus. Now that is over as well.
So, please don’t think that by boycotting a show, that we are winning a battle. Instead, please believe that when we PRAY for a show, we are fighting a winning battle. We encourage you to ask the Lord what your place is in seeing revival in Hollywood and then join us in lovingly offering our hope to those in Hollywood who don’t have any hope. And then let the Holy Spirit change and convict hearts!
Stay always in His grip,
By Karen Covell, Hollywood Prayer Network