The more liberally-tolerant we are asked to be on mainstream television, the less we see of tolerance towards traditional values in non-news programming.
“Modern Family” once again won the Emmy for Best Comedy Series. After 31 nominations over3 years, it is clear that the well-written series deserves its place in the lineup. The show’s stance as a primetime example of modern-day tolerance towards gay couples is an after thought. After all, the show’s pretty darn funny.
“George Lopez” broke ground a decade ago on network television with its sitcom. Today, the show dominates the Nick-At-Nite lineup, coming into the lives of millions of viewers that missed the first run of the series years ago. Of course, the fact that they were Latinos was a noteworthy item when the series started, a focal point that was lost on its beloved audience after the first side-splitting laughs.
From the reality show perspective, the roof always seems to be raised, even as the standards seem to continue to drop. From Flavor of Love to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, there seems to be a bevy of shows that entertainment, break social mores, and approach the issue of tolerance. There are shows about the supernatural evils of big money, gruesome fairy tales, political murder, and vampires.
I looked at today’s lineup and asked myself: where are the mainstream shows that conservatives could feel good about today? Aside from Fox News, where are the non-political shows (notably in the primetime schedule on network or cable) that Christian conservatives could enjoy?
After a throwback TV night on GMC, I wonder aloud if America is tolerant enough to have another show like Touched by An Angel, a popular regular series that actively and openly talks about God, morality, and Christian values. We pride ourselves as a nation to be able to view progressive-leaning programming in the mainstream. We uphold our ability to broadcast Muslim-cast reality series and shows with gay lead characters alike with a sense of pride in our social advancement. Yet, even as we move down that path, have we gotten to a point where a show like Touched by An Angel would be seen as “too Christian” for our television sets in today’s primetime schedule? Would sponsors and viewers see the value in such a sappy but quality Christian conservative show as they did for nearly a decade?
If not, what does that say about us as a nation?
People consider conservatives to be off the rails whenever Christians claim that religious freedoms are extended to non-Christian believers and agnostics faster (through lawsuits and the like) than they are to Christians in our society nowadays. A brief look at our entertainment landscape may show otherwise, however. In a land where anyone or anything has been capable of making money and having their “15 minutes of fame”, why does it seem as though the Christian conservative perspective (even the most benign of viewpoints within that realm) is being written off, more often than not, as being too radical for modern mainstream America.
When some conservatives talk about taking back America to a better time, perhaps they are referring to an era such as a few short years ago, a time when God can be discussed on network television on a weekly basis from a Christian perspective without scores of protests or mounds of legislation being filed. If so, I concur. I miss an America that allows for young people and families to experience entertainment in mainstream entertainment where Christian perspectives are not rejected, but embraced. Despite the successes of projects such as the Left Behind series and Fireproof, it is sad that in a nation where Christian values played a role in multiple events that shaped our landscape (from the abolition of slavery to the 20th century civil rights movement), the comfort level that Christianity enjoys in the mainstream media, world of entertainment, and national conversation continues to diminish. Even throughout our capitalistic past, Americans have found a way to make money in the entertainment world through the advancement of Christian stories in the mainstream, from Christmas specials that fearlessly mentioned Christ to borrowing Christian themes for modern cinematic classics. Yet now, the most congenial of Christianity in much of America is often relegated to the also-ran channels of cable lineups and genre-specific providers. Our society is progressive enough these days to include in our entertainment families headed by gay couples, abortion-based show themes, and politically-charged story arcs. However, we seem to have progressed past the point of including the God of our American forefathers – the same God that President Lincoln embraced during the Civil War and Southern Baptists embraced while facing down Jim Crow. It might be nice if we can regress our entertainment clocks back just a little bit if that means that we can get a little more God into our secular lives through our television and other forms of mainstream entertainment. In order to stop incurring so many boo boos during these turbulent times, perhaps it is high time to get back to putting a few more angels in our programming.
LENNY MCALLISTER is a senior contributor to Politic 365 featured on several national and international outlets including CNN, BET’s “Don’t Sleep! Hosted by TJ Holmes”, Current TV’s “Say Anything”, Radio New Zealand, and Sirius-XM Radio. Catch Lenny on America’s Radio News Network for analysis on the presidential race and upcoming debates. His new book, “Spoken Thoughts of an Amalgamated Advocate in Today’s America” is now available electronically on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com .