Many of you remember the television series Married with Children. I sure do. It was one of those shows like Austin Powers that you just hated to love. I admit, I watched it from time to time and could not help but laugh even though it was filled with much adult humor that was probably not too edifying for my Christian walk. But it was kinda funny. (Okay, confession over.) As you may or may not know, each show was rank and filled with sexual humor. The misery of family life was exemplified and exaggerated through adulterous suggestions from the married couple, child neglect, and dishonor in general.
Well, what many of you may not know was that in 1987 when FOX first aired this show, the ratings were not good. In fact, FOX has all but decided to cancel this series. It was at this point that a certain activist began to publicly voice her displeasure at the shows raunchy theme and unhealthy influence. Once her voice became loud enough – you guessed it – the shows ratings sky-rocketed. This woman’s activism seems to have given life to a doomed show which propelled it to ten more years of stardom making it one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. Not only this, but the success it had in crossing the line influenced others to follow in the same suit. Since then . . . well, you know the story. The odd thing is that if it went for this protesters loud and passionate voice of moral activism, it is very possible that Married with Children would now be filed in the ranks of the lessons learned about what not to air.
What I have here are musings. I think that they might very well have some validity to them, but just see them as food for thought, not part of Michael Patton’s stated beliefs. I would like to hear your thoughts.
1. It would seem that Christian activism can often have the reverse effect. Could it be when Christians speak to loudly about issues, that the problem about which we are speaking worsens? If so, why?
2. Related to this (an possibly offering an answer) is the effect of legalism. If this woman’s voice brought attention to the “forbidden” message of Married with Children, didn’t this appeal to humanities desire to touch that which we are not supposed to touch? Legalism is such that the forbidden becomes desired. What would happen if we did not forbid such things? Let me step out on a limb with a very relevant answer (and I can already hear the cracking of the branch). What would happen if we no longer spoke so loudly about the dangers of pornography? No more promotion of Net Nanny from the pulpit, no more public statements about how pornography is destroying our culture, and no more public boycotts of those who support the industry. Is it possible that our regulating voice has given excessive life to the porn industry? What if Christians just said to people, “God has nothing against porn and neither does the Church. What God does have a problem with is lust. So, if you can look at porn without lusting, have at it” and leave it at that?
Look to the problem of alcohol as well. From what I understand the countries that do not have a law against underage drinking have less a problem with alcoholism than America. Why? Because it intrigues people to do what we are not supposed to. If drinking is forbidden, then I am going to do it. If it is not forbidden, its not quite as exciting. Sin excites.
I learned from a very wise man something that I will take with me until I die. Sin is like air in a glass bottle. There are only two ways to get it out. You can either try to suck it out (which won’t get you too far), or you can fill it up with something else (purpose, meaning, Christ). When you are filled with something else, the air will simply just disappear on its own.
Is Christian activism attempting to suck the air out of the bottle? Does Christian activism actually encourage immorality?