NBC has abandoned, in the words of the American Family Association website , its plans to "Attack Christians with Spears." Britney Spears, that is.
The pop sensation turned trailer trash baby momma was to guest star in an upcoming episode of Will and Grace as a Christian conservative with a cooking show on which she made "Cruci-fixins." (No question that Will and Grace has seen better days, but you have to admit it's not a bad pun.) She'll still be on the show, but the offending material has been written out of the script.
NBC had previously been in hot water with angry Christian viewers over The Book of Daniel which portrayed a doubting Episcopalian minister. The show only ever made it three episodes before the network yanked it.
The whole thing smells a bit like the fracas around ABC's reality show Welcome to My Neighborhood which the New York Times reported on in late January. The show featured a slew of oddball families--gays! Wiccans! people with tattoos! and gasp! non-Whites!--trying to win the hearts and minds of neighbors and a McMansion in their tony Austin cul-de-sac to boot. The two gay dads won, and in the process inspired one of the neighbors to make amends with his own gay son. But ten days before the first episode was scheduled to be aired, ABC cancelled the show.
ABC, the Times pointed out, is owned by Disney. The same Disney that was targeted by Southern Baptists for hosting Gay Days ; the same Disney that has raked in over $281 million dollars in Narnia box office sales. Some have surmised that Disney didn't want to risk losing any of those who had newly forgiven its policies by showing Christians and gays holding hands. As Paul McCusker, Vice-President of Focus on the Family said, "''It would have been a huge misstep for Disney to aggressively do things that would disenfranchise the very people they wanted to go see 'Narnia.'"
I never thought I'd say this, but Why can't more people be like Mandy Moore? She was a comic genius in Saved!, in which she--a real-life Christian--poked fun at evangelicals. She proved that it's possible to hold a belief and still be comfortable making a joke at its expense. All these boycotts and protests of network TV are driven by fear--fear that faith can be lost forever if it's challenged at all. I think it's kind of sad.
At least we still have HBO.