frgavin on August 27th, 2012

It is hard to characterize TV as a Christian witness, or even a broadly moral one.  Even as the internet begins to eclipse it, TV retains considerable power to influence tastes, attitudes and world view.  Most of what it puts out today is antithetical to most religious and traditional world views.  I think that most American Christians have learned to roll our eyes and click the remote.

A significant Christian and world leader from recent history, retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu certainly understands the power of TV.  It was a key battleground in his crusade to end racial segregation and inequality – apartheid – in South Africa.  The world looking in via the TV screen was the strongest weapon in Tutu’s political and moral arsenal.

So you would think he might recognize and say something about all of the TV garbage that coarsens and corrupts cultures around the world.

You would think that his Christian sensibilities would lead him to condemn a glitzy ABC offering called “Revenge,” a series rendering stylish and sexy that which the Word of God condemns.

Or the cutesy “The New Normal” which has cool people assuring us that the kind of family spelled out by God in creation, and affirmed by Jesus and his apostles, is abnormal and irrelevant to the well being of humanity.

Or anything to do with the Kardashians and their very American celebration of self-absorption, materialism and excess.  (Do you even need a link?)

Imagine a world in which getting even was considered uncool and ugly, families were intact and humble living prevailed.  But those petty issues don’t seem to move the Nobel Prize winner and a group of similarly recognized international moral figures with whom he is speaking out.

So what are they protesting?  NBC’s new “Stars Earn Stripes,”  a reality show in which

Hosts Samantha Harris and Gen. Wesley Clark join eight celebrity competitors in military-inspired challenges for charity.


The producers, hosts and celebrity contestants reveal what it’s like to face the challenges of real American heroes.

Now, only a fool would argue that peace is not a prominent feature of the kingdom of God.  Yet in this age, God allows legitimate force to prevent greater evil, and when soldiers asked what they needed to do to enter the coming kingdom, they were told only to refrain from abusing their legitimate authority, not to adopt pacifism.

Tutu and a gaggle of other selective moralists have decided that “Stars Earn Stripes” is the one show that could negatively influence the otherwise wonderful world of television:

“Trying to somehow sanitize war by likening it to an athletic competition further calls into question the morality and ethics of linking the military anywhere with the entertainment industry in barely veiled efforts to make war and its multitudinous costs more palatable to the public”

One wonders if the issue is peace or if it is the fact that American Special Forces members are the ones who put the celebrities through their paces, and that one of the celebs is (gasp) the husband of (scream) Sarah Palin.

Jesus had something to say about moral posturing in a world overrun by falsehood:


You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!  (Matthew 23:24 ESV)

Whatever status the Nobel Prize winners might have, it is just absurd to pick one show out of TV’s endless lineup of violence and degradation and launch a protest on behalf of “peace.”

Unless they are actually about ideology, desiring to propagandize against one particular nation’s military.  In which case, they are not militating for peace at all.

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