Friday, January 06, 2006

Take it like a Christian

More on The Book of Daniel: Bob Waliszewski of Focus on the Family's teen ministries, complaining about the show's portrayal of Jesus said it shows Christ as a "namby-pamby frat boy who basically winks at every sin and perversity under the sun."

"When the pastor's teen son is sexually active and having many romps with his 15-year-old girlfriend, this Jesus says, `A kid has to be a kid,' " Waliszewski said. "I don't think NBC would have portrayed a Muslim cleric or a Buddhist monk, the Dalai Lama, in a show this way."

While the promos for the show do make Jesus look silly--though I'd say more hippie than frat boy--it's the last part that bugs me. We Christians are constantly drawing that "Muslim-Buddhist" comparison when complaining about the media. But it's an apples-and-oranges comparison.

Christians of all stripes are by far the majority religious group in this country. We use politics and the courts to push our agenda, from the Ten Commandments on public property to making sure a nativity scene appears at City Hall at Christmas. We also wield enormous economic clout and use it to influence corporations on their personnel policies (no domestic partnerships or we won't buy Ford!) and advertising buys (remember "Christmas" on the Wal-Mart holiday ads?). Evangelical Christians have been incredbly successful at this; George Bush is, after all, leader of the free world, along with his coterie of evangelical Christians. Lefty religious folk like me, not so much, St. Jimmy Carter the notable exception.

All that activity is fair game in a democracy, but like it or not, that makes "us" Goliath and everyone else David. You try to save your sacred grove of trees, as a tribe of Native Americans did recently, from road-building in this context. Even though the tribe said the loss of the grove would "destroy" their religion, Swing-vote Sandra (Day O'Connor) wrote in her opinion against them that the federal government had every right to do with "what is, after all, its own land" any way it pleased. ("Its own land"--that's rich indeed.) Think she would have written that opinion if it had been Christians in the dock? I don't.

Nope, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So I think we should take our knocks from wherever they come, and even thank our detractors for the much needed brotherly and sisterly correction.


At 3:53 PM, Anonymous fluffycat said...

I watched the first 2 hour presentation of the "Book of Daniel" and found it quite amusing.
Jesus does seem to be a bit silly and his humor a bit off the wall but don't we all have to do what Jesus said in that program "be ourselves" so that we can grow into the persons Jesus would want us to be. If Jesus were to pierce everyone who sins with a well place bolt of lightening, where would any of us be. Even in His real life on earth, He allowed those who followed him to grow at their own pace. When the season finally ends, then we can judge the entire program and either continue it next year or elimnate it altogether from TV. I am willing to bet there is, as Daniel describes his family, very many families who live their lives as his does: a prescription addicted father, a gay son, a daughter who sell drugs, a lesbian sister in law, a wife who likes her martinis.
I am sure that there are bishops who are harsh, and bishops who seek consolation unfaithfully in the arms of another because their spouse has alzheimers.
What does Jesus do in all of this mess: supports, consoles, forgives and helps the fallen get up to start again.


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