These protests are usually effective, but only if by effective we mean it gets them to stop supporting these causes. If by effective we mean we're changing their hearts and minds about the matter, I believe we have failed miserably.
I received an email from them about 2-3 months ago, ranting and raving about a new show on ABC, called "GCB"... short for "Good Christian Belles" (based on a novel with a similar but not so classy title). This was from one of the first emails I received regarding this program.
"This show is described as "a wicked new drama that digs up sins from the characters' past and leads to scandal." They make sure no one is seen as a saint. Church members are seen scheming for revenge to an extent far greater than what has ever been seen before on network television. ABC's promotion states the good girls have gone bad and get rowdy.
The first episode used Biblical references, hymns, prayer, and scripture to portray Christians in a negative light. The twisted plot included gossip, theft, spreading lies about someone having an STD, cheating, and porn in the script. The very first scene had a husband running off with his mistress to Mexico with money he had stolen from investors."
Now, while as a show, I agree it is extremely inappropriate, I didn't like the way we went about getting it off the air. The majority of complaints I read on it related to how the programs portrayed Christians in a negative light. I never sent a letter of protest. Something didn't sit well with me. Finally, I received this email from OMM (One Million Moms)
"One Final Attempt to Have 'GCB' Cancelled!May 9, 2012
Two months ago, ABC launched the TV series "GCB," a show centered on a bigoted portrayal of Christianity. For ten weeks, episodes have mocked and portrayed Christians in a negative light. This program is about as far from true Christianity as it could be.
Last Sunday, ABC aired the season finale of "GCB." This week the network will make a final decision on whether or not the show will be cancelled or renewed for another season.
Now is our last chance to send a strong message to advertisers, letting them know we are outraged by their sponsorship of a show that openly ridicules the Christian faith and depicts its followers as spiteful hypocrites.
ABC has to decide if they will continue to push their agenda through a show that belittles the beliefs of millions. ABC will announce on May 15 whether or not "GCB" will be in their fall lineup or if it will be dumped on the cancellation heap.
Kristin Chenoweth, one of the lead actresses from "GCB," describes herself as a "nonjudgmental, liberal Christian" and describes the premise of "GCB," saying, "It's so wrong, it's right." And that "The show is funny, it's silly."
She goes on to claim, "I would never do anything that would make fun of my God, my Christianity."
Really Ms. Chenoweth? Because that is exactly what the show does! Christianity is constantly portrayed as a joke and Christians are made to look like buffoons.
Before the show even aired, Robert Harling, the creator of "GCB," claimed, "Church is sacred...we will never, ever be disrespectful."
Now he sings a different tune, stating in a recent interview, "We knew it would be controversial. We knew it would be provocative."Help us send a clear message to the advertisers and to ABC that "GCB" will not be supported"
After getting this email it all clicked for me. This show is a portrayal of what the World sees in those who call themselves God's people. Christ followers. It is not a slam on Christ.. it's a slam on His people...
And then it made sense.
ABC isn't slamming Christ's image... His OWN people are! We are the ones portaying Christ in a negative light. We are not living what we believe! We are claiming to have a love in us from Christ, but we are unwilling to show it to others. Sure we wear our Christian T-Shirts, and have our Christian lingo, but when the rubber meets the road, most Christians through themselves into neutral and coast... When the opportunity to love those who don't understand us arises, we instead attack them.
By protesting these companies, we aren't sharing the love of Christ, we are threatening them with our money. That does NOT convince others that what we believe in is worth trusting.
I can tell you I have the recipe for the best chocolate cake. I can tell you all about the ingredients, how I bake it, what it looks like... but until I give you a piece of it, you have no reason to trust me. We can talk about God's love, grace, forgiveness, justice and mercy, but until we give others a piece of it, they have no idea what we're talking about, nor do they want to.
By protesting and whining...what we're telling them is "you're absolutely right, that's how we act, but if you keep saying it, we won't give you our money." Not, "we're sorry this is the image we've portrayed, we will try to make it better." Instead of apologizing for being the people portrayed in this program, we are behaving just like them. idle threats do not lead to a change of heart.
Here's the bottom line. The world is depraved... and it won't be getting better... scripture makes it clear that it will only get worse from here. Our job is to love in the name of Christ. Not to be outraged at the honest opinions of others, even if those opinions hurt our feelings. They should hurt our feelings. They should hurt us so deeply and break our hearts and compel us to change. Something's gotta give!
So how do I think we should have responded? I think we all should have tuned in (without the children), watched a few episodes, heard them out, and then come together to figure out where we went wrong in portraying Christ's love so poorly. Then, like we come together and protest, we should have come together and apologized. Overcome evil with good. Loved them more. Not been spiteful or hateful. Fits of rage are not a mark of a child of God. We should have responded in love and peace, without sacrificing truth. But love, not being right, is what can turn a heart.
We want to say, "well Jesus said if the World hated Him, it will hate us as well"
Here's the problem with that. Jesus spoke truth. Jesus lived what He taught. He didn't sacrifice His message to cater to the desires of the people but He also treated them with love. They hated His message. We should be joyful when people are offended by the gospel, not when they are offended by us.
We inflict more harm on each other within the church than non believers do to each other. Christians tend to be more lazy on the job. How many times have you been cut off and honked at by a driver with a Christian fish? (it kills me when people say "I don't want to put the Fish on my car because I don't drive like a Christian...I'll give you a minute to figure out where the problem is there).
It's like boasting of sobriety with a tall sangria in your hand. It's like being a dietician and being 200 pounds overweight. It's like being a hairdresser with fried hair. Something just doesn't sync together there, right? They will know who we are by our love. Not by our money, not by our picket signs, not by our "outrage" not by our protest letter. By our love.
Time is simply too short to not just live what we believe. Stop just saying it... start living it! Then shows like GCB won't even be an issue!