Sunday, December 17, 2006

Calling Out Donald Wildmon (Not for the Last Time)

I want sensible religious leaders of other faiths to condemn the violent, radical, and just extreme actions and pronouncements of their fringe elements. This entails that I do the same thing with the Christian extremists. Which brings us to Don Wildmon, head of the American Family Association, and his latest silliness about television.

On the CBS show "Two and a Half Men," Charlie Sheen plays an irresponsible womanizer who writes and sings jingles. On a recent show Sheen's character altered familiar Christmas carols to celebrate what he hoped would be an imminent sexual encounter. To Wildmon and AFA, this means that Sheen, Hollywood, and CBS are mocking Christ, Christians, and Christmas.

Let us regain some perspective here. Charlie Sheen is an actor. He does not write the show. He did not invent the character. He did not create the premise of the show. Moreover, his character is not supposed to be admirable or a role model – the whole point is that he is a skunk. And the point of the songs was to celebrate the skunk's hope of sex. They were not about Christ, Christians, or even Christmas. Don, get a grip.

Wildmon recently slammed Rosie O'Donnell (and CBS again) for saying on "The View"'s 9/11 anniversary show, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We're a democracy here." I say O'Donnell is mostly right, though the issue is more the violence of radicals than their connection to the state.

I am not saying that Don Wildmon and the American Family Association represent violent, extreme, or even very radical Christianity. I think Wildmon represents fusspot Christianity. And representing Christ, Christians, and Christmas as fusspots truly invites mockery.


Unknown said...

Preach it, Brother.

Rosie O'Donnell *should* be ignored for different reasons, however -- including the incredibly racist Asian stereotypes she shared on a recent show.

Mark Smith said...

"fusspot Christianity"

I LOVE IT! I gotta use that. You haven't trademarked it yet, have you?

Mark Smith said...

Also, I agree with Alex. Rosie has lots of problems - including her attack on Kelly Ripa for an innocent comment about homosexuality.

Gruntled said...

If it will help diminish fusspot Christianity, by all means, spread it far and wide.

And I have learned all kinds of things I didn't know about Rosie O'Donnell.

Kelly said...

I think "fusspot Christianity" may be my favorite new descriptive! Fusspot Christianity is focused on all that we are against instead of highlighting all that with which we hope to be, forgiveness, peace, reconciliation, mercy, etc.

Anonymous said...


Criticizing Charlie Sheen for silly Christmas jingles is ridiculous. Does the Baby Jesus really need defending from a guy who used to "date" Heidi Fleiss?

Next thing you know, Mr. Wildmon will be admonishing 8 year old for destroying Christmas by changing the words to "Jingle Bells." (Because Batman does not, in fact, smell.)

Anonymous said...

Fusspot Christianity is certainly a winner of a phrase. It's a gentle term but effectively undermines the premise of the fusspots' arguments. And perhaps will remind me when I'm in danger of practicing it.

I do thoroughly agree that (as described) this protest does more to hurt Christianity than to help it. I wonder, though, what positive steps one might take to try to enhance the image of Christianity in the media. For the most part, Christians are portrayed as fanatical, prissy (and in need of being taught how to have fun), judgmental, or practiioners of various vices.

I've pondered what it would take to have a TV show with a happily married family who goes to Church each week - the data support the link with stable marriages - and I don't think it's going to happen.

Anonymous said...

"I've pondered what it would take to have a TV show with a happily married family who goes to Church each week "

Actually the Simpsons go to church nearly every week. :)