Next Sunday is the season finale of All-American Muslim, the TLC cable show that hit the headlines when the Florida Family Association successfully pressured some advertisers not to run commercials on it. I suggested last month ("Be careful about boycotts" and "Empires striking back") that it wasn't smart for a minority group, biblical Christians, to push boycotts, because the strategy is likely to turn around and bite us. I didn't write anything about the program itself because I hadn't seen it.
Now I have watched it-last night. It would be great to have a falafel of a show, high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. All-American Muslim, instead, is junk food, full of sugary sentiment. It doesn't deal with tensions within the Muslim community, as many embrace American freedom but some want to set up Sharia tyranny. Nevertheless, it's wrong to exert pressure on advertisers to force the show off, for two reasons.
First, it's not as if the perspective of the show is the only view that most American TV-watchers will get. Last month I watched an episode of Blue Bloods (a good CBS series about a police family) that centered on a Muslim terrorist threat to New York City. It's OK to have a show providing the "Islam is a religion of peace" perspective as long as we have other programs pointing out it's not that simple.
Second, John Milton had it right when he wrote in 1644:
"Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play on the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"
We have a problem if the TLC view is the only one out there. Happily, we now have hundreds of channels grappling. Sure, many promote sub-Christian and anti-Christian perspectives, but competition should energize us. We should work on producing programs that reflect Christian understanding of complexities, instead of trying to stifle those that don't.