Hijacking Family Values 09/25/2003

Before we start, let's take a refresher course on "family values".  The original meaning of this term denotes a married man and woman who are committed to each other forever and committed to raising their children in a stable home with their code of conduct deriving from the Bible.  Monogamy, fidelity, love, honesty, purity... old-fashioned concepts like that.

Forces that work to undermine these values would, logically, include such things as divorce, adultery, pre-marital sex, lust, deception and homosexuality. Most Americans do not embrace every sexual practice as proper, yet remain somewhat tolerant of those who do not share our "family values." Sure, there are those within the Christian community who push their views upon others in an offensive, unhealthy manner, but the current trend is just the opposite.  Now those of us who believe in and live by Biblical values find ourselves on the receiving end of an onslaught of television programming (or, more accurately, re-programming) that pushes views on our children and grandchildren that we find offensive.

Even without actually watching these programs, we have to suffer through the racy commercials -- women strutting around in lingerie, couples engaged in foreplay, snippets of sexual innuendo -- that run during such innocuous programming as Monday Night Football. But this fall season, we see our values under full assault by the networks.

The Emmy-winning medical drama ER continues to create a comfort zone with homosexuality through Laura Innes' expanding role as the lesbian Dr. Kerry Weaver. Ellen DeGeneres returns to television with a self-titled, gay-friendly talk show alternative to Oprah and Dr. Phil. 

The new sitcom It's All Relative sums up ABC's view of morality on their website:  "Bobby's a bartender -- the only son of gregarious, salt-of-the-earth Irish Catholic parents from Boston. His fiancé, Liz, is a toney Harvard medical student and she's Protestant (no, that's not the problem). Liz has two dads, not one, and they're a worldly pair of well-heeled gay men." Aside from the obvious setup here -- the fact that this "comedy" provides the platform to preach to straight America the virtues of gay sex -- there are a couple of other subtle nuances of interest: first, the positioning of two gay men as good parents and, second, the standing of homosexuals (or at least their "offspring") as mainstream Protestant Christians.  Perhaps I have not yet been re-programmed, but this idea runs contrary to my experience and education as a teacher of the Bible.

NBC has perhaps the raciest new show in the British import Coupling.  In an attempt to outdo the long-running Friends, which not only embraced pre-marital sex, but virtually promoted it, Coupling promises to blow the knickers off of any morality left on television.  The characters barely wear clothes, discuss sex most of the time, and trade partners (both men and women) faster than you can say, "Profumo".

Will and Grace has featured a gay couple for years now, but the Bravo network has become the testing ground for NBC's gay programming.  Queer Eye For The Straight Guy shows us how witty, well-dressed gay men can help miserable straight people be fashionable, fun and more sensitive.  The show is so popular that the "Fab Five" recently gave Jay Leno a makeover on the Tonight Show.

Boy Meets Boy, a gay dating show featuring a lot of touching, kissing and grinding, twisted the whole Bachelor phenomenon by making the bachelor gay and the suitors all male -- but not all gay.  When James, the one picking his "mate", confronts Franklin, the one finalist who is secretly straight, he berates him for his deception.  The Bravo website sums up their encounter stating, "The experience has been extremely enlightening for Franklin, but James reminds him that the scales are not equal."  Translation: exposure to gay people will help some straight people accept gay sex, but at the same time we must allow some social favoritism in order to compensate for those who will never embrace such an act.

The upcoming American Pride takes the musical contest genre (think Star Search and American Idol) into country music, but that's not all.  The show does not promise the next country music star, it's promoting the first gay country music star!

Perhaps the most telling indicator of the networks' attitude towards family values is the content on ABC Family, the cable network that originated as The Family Channel.  (Incidentally, The 700 Club still runs on ABC Family -- likely a clause in the contract held over from the sale to Fox then to ABC -- but the ABC website lists it as a "tabloid" show!)

ABC Family runs rated ‘R' movies at 11:00am (edited somewhat, but still earning a TV14 rating), airs original romantic comedies with the tag line, "We Make Love... Fun", and produces a host of programming that most parents would not want their children watching, including a new dating "reality" show Perfect Match featuring thirty New York singles who take turns living with three other singles to see if they can spark a romance. A recent ABC Family concert from hip-hop singer Usher, specifically promoted the song "My Way" which goes, "I do any and everything you want to / Make your girl say ooh ooh... / She beeps me, whenever she wanna get freaky... / She likes it my way, my way / You can't satisfy her needs / She keeps runnin' back to see me do it my way".

This is ABC's idea of family values.

The examples of the networks' negative examples go on and on. Most people will keep quiet to avoid being called a "hatemonger" or "right winger", but the truth is that very few families agree with the values advocated on such programs or by such characters.

As Queer Eye's Kyan puts it: "We are building bridges one manicure at a time!" But do we really want our families going where these bridges lead?  I don't think so.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 981

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes. For more information, log on to www.lifetoday.org.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, randy.robison at loi.org

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.



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