Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Family Guy and Pepsi: Shooting at the Wrong Targets!

The American Family Association recently called for a boycott of Pepsi because the company advertised during an episode of Family Guy: “On March 8, PepsiCo helped sponsor Family Guy, a perverted and sickening television program on FOX network. PepsiCo helped sponsor the program which pushed the homosexual agenda and denigrated Christ. At a ‘straight’ meeting, the speaker talks to gays about Jesus and tells them, ‘Jesus Christ, who hates many people, but none more than homosexuals.’”

I am not a fan of Family Guy, but I do believe it is meant to be satire, which means that the show is portraying an exaggerated version of Christians as many people see us. The problem isn't the show or the sponsors but the church itself, which is somehow communicating the message that God hates specific people – not that He loves each of us so much that He sent His son to die for us, as John 3:16 teaches.

The tone of the AFA’s email adds to this message – its loaded language suggests that Christians (and by association, Christ) are against everyone and everything. I cringe whenever I read statements from Christian organizations that portray homosexuals or other groups of people as enemies. Yes, I believe homosexuality is a sin, but it is no worse than heterosexual sex outside of marriage – or lying, pride, or greed, for that matter (James 2:10-11). Everyone would be my enemy if I hated anyone who ever practiced those sins! (Not to mention that Ephesians 6:12 teaches that people are not our enemies.)

Instead of worrying about the sins of unbelievers, we Christians should be taking care of the sins in our own lives. When we see Christian characters portrayed as spewing hateful anti-gay messages, we should look at ourselves rather than television producers and sponsors. Sadly, the church as a whole has failed spectacularly in showing the gay community the love of Christ. Rather than taking care of the physical and spiritual needs of the gays and lesbians we know, we sever friendships and hold up signs declaring “God hates gays.” (What a lie!) Could it be that our sin is worse than theirs?

As far as it depends on us, we are to live at peace with everybody (Romans 12:18). By treating homosexual people with respect and not acting as though their sins were worse than hers, Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner managed to live at peace with them – she was probably better loved in the gay community than in the church. Yet, several of her obituaries (including this one) point out that she always believed homosexuality was a sin.

It is possible that some of your gay and lesbian friends and family members will not forgive you for simply believing that what they are doing is a sin. But it is more likely that if you have broken relationships with the homosexual people in your life, you have somehow expressed that you believe their sins are unforgiveable.

Needless to say, I will not be boycotting Pepsi. Instead, I will be praying that God will remind me of any time that my actions have suggested to anyone – especially the gay men and lesbian women I know – that God hates them, and I will be asking forgiveness for that sin.


4 comments:

  1. I think your basic idea is right on...in general, we don’t love people and see them as Jesus did...sinners in need of saving.

    For some reason, I have this nagging question in the back of my mind after reading this that the fire has gone out of our desire for righteousness in this country. Really, it’s a righteousness issue, it’s a church breaking through the walls into our society and making ourselves the attraction that Jesus was so that men would come after Him and desire to know and serve Him. Not pointing the boney finger of judgment and looking for a sin bigger than our own. Our righteousness should be like that of Daniel...that though they tried to find fault in him they could find nothing in his personal life, nor any neglect in his work, either!

    And I need to admit: My initial reaction was that I wanted to say, well, what about letting them know what their sin is? How will they know unless they are told? But it’s the job of the Holy Spirit to convict and convince, let our love so shine before men that they will praise the Father in Heaven, we need to be people embracing that verse and then I remembered taking the spec out of my own eye before taking the plank from my brother’s...and I started thinking of the Daniel example and I think the Holy Spirit was reminding me on all these things. Those people KNEW Daniel was different and it so impacted the government that the KING was not able to sleep. That is the kind of pull we need in government! It is life changing...

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  2. Here's what I want to know ... rather than boycotting Pepsi, does the AFA have the guts to call for a boycott of the Fox Corporation, which includes Fox News?

    I won't hold my breath.

    Seriously ... you're right. The only reason anyone can pull off those stereotypical TV characters is because we give them so much material.

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  3. I agree with what you are saying. The AFA is making Christianity look harsher than it needs to be.

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  4. I'm not a fan of Family Guy. I have an admittedly crude and sometimes abrasive sense of humor, but Seth Macfarlane takes things too far for me.(!) His jokes sometimes make me laugh, but leave me feeling a little soulless.

    I have met a lot of people who are passionate about Christianity who think that simply pointing out sin is enough to cause people to change their ways. Muslims think that Christians sin (it even has a name: "Shirq") just by believing in a trinity. Yet if one came up to you and pointed to a Qur'an verse, and told you that you are sinning, would you suddenly drop your beliefs? Only in Jack Chick tracts do people have sudden changes of heart in this manner. Yet I see a lot of facebook comments that suggest taking this flawed aproach.

    The only times I have seen people change their minds about deep religious convictions is (A)when they are given a direct sign from God (which does not happen often - I have seen one, and have been asking for a specific second one for years with no result), or (B)when they see a striking example to be emulated. When they see someone who is living a life that is full of meaning, passion, and confidence, to the point where they stop what they are doing and say "I want to know more about this guy because he has his act TOGETHER.", THEN they can start to make a gradual shift. My gut feeling is that anyone who makes an immediate 180-degree turn in faith has built that faith on sand, and will just as quickly turn to a different faith later. The enthusiastic woman who started me on my path to Christianity is now a new age lesbian with a functional drug addiction.

    I speak only from what I've seen. Set an example that others will be inspired to follow, and the world will have much less to laugh at.

    -Louie

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Thanks for your comments! Agree or disagree, but please comment respectfully.