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Tuesday, July 25, 2023
WND Gets Blowback After Criticizing Christian Show For Not Hating Gays Enough
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like the rest of the right-wing media, WorldNetDaily unsurprisingly published "news" articles and columns attacking companies like Target and the maker of Bud LIght for committing the offense of not hating LGBT people. For instance:

But if a company considered an ally isf ailing to sufficiently hate LGBT people, however, they won't be held to the same standard -- and, as WND found out, there will be some blowback for doing so. On May 30, WND republished a Daily Caller article taking aim at a popular Christian show WND had previously praised:

The popular TV show “The Chosen” defended having a pride flag on set after facing criticism on social media, according to its Twitter posts on Tuesday.

Jon Root, a Christian conservative commentator and Turning Point USA contributor, tweeted out screenshots Monday of a behind-the-scenes YouTube video showing a pride flag on the set of the TV show, which portrays the life of Jesus and his ministry, and asked why the pride flag was there. The Chosen Twitter account replied to Root Tuesday, saying that “we will work with anyone on our show.”


Dallas Jenkins, the creator of "The Chosen," told the Daily Caller News Foundation that there is no “religious or political litmus test” for employees.

“I love our cast and crew, especially because even though they all come from different backgrounds and beliefs, they work their butts off for the show and the viewers,” Jenkins said. “The show’s official stance on anything is to be found in the content of the show.”

Root told the DCNF that he was “shocked” by the show’s position.

“This is not the response of a show that is truly dedicated to honoring the ‘authentic Jesus’ and everything He stood for,” Root said. “The response showed that 'The Chosen' unapologetically supports sexual depravity and has no problem promoting homosexuality & transgenderism. Promoting and accepting unrepentant sin is not the way Jesus lived or taught His followers to live.”

Root also asked Christians to boycott the show on Twitter, referencing similar moves after Target and Bud Light promoted trans and LGBTQ ideology, and encouraged prayer for Jenkins, the cast and crew.

Not only did that not happen, WND faced pushback for publishing the article. On June 1, WND published a "letter to the editor" from Angela Hunt, "a novelist, youth pastor's wife, and happy grandmother," angry about the article:

I was tremendously disappointed to read the story "'Godlessness': Super popular Christian TV show defends gay-pride flag on set," which was followed by a subtitle quote of "Unapologetically supports sexual depravity and has no problem promoting homosexuality."

Are you kidding? A little investigation would have revealed that a cameraman had placed a small rainbow flag on his camera stand, which was visible in a behind-the-scenes video about the filming of "The Chosen" season four. This flag was not a statement from leaders of "The Chosen," and when asked about the flag, director Dallas Jenkins simply said that he "would work with anyone" on the show.

When you decide to build a house, do you require that all contractors, subcontractors, plumbers, electricians and carpenters be born-again Christians who agree with your doctrines? Does anyone? Dallas Jenkins is committed to providing a quality series, an excellent sacrifice to the Lord, and the series has already resulted in the salvation of many viewers AND people among the cast and crew.

The night of His betrayal, Jesus prayed (in regard to His followers): "I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one." We are not to cloister ourselves in holy communes, but to live in the world and shine the Light.

Over and over again, we tell ourselves to love sinners and hate sin – so why are we spewing vitriol against our brothers and sisters in Christ? Dallas said NOTHING to defend "sexual depravity" or homosexuality. Instead, he defended his right to hire excellent people to work on a story about the Light of the world.

I fear this article – about an incidental object brought in by a crew member – was intended to create mischief. At first glance, a casual reader would assume that a huge rainbow flag was flying above the set of "The Chosen," and nothing could be further from the truth.

I believe WND owes an apology to the leaders of "The Chosen."

A June 5 article by Joe Kovacs featured Jenkins' response to the manufactured controversy:

"To be clear, there is no flag flown. A three-inch flag doesn't fly anyway. And there's been no statement made by 'The Chosen' about Pride or Pride Month or anything like that. There's no promotion of anything happening, unlike some of the headlines and some of the hysterical rantings we've seen."

"This turned into a bit of a culture war, a kind of an intra-Christian culture war and we're getting compared to companies that actively promote whatever woke agenda that people are concerned about."

Jenkins indicated having the flag there on the set was "nothing new."

"For a long time, our cast and crew have wildly different beliefs. They run the spectrum, and they sometimes wear T-shirts or hats that go across the entire spectrum from a Pride flag or a MAGA hat or a Jesus Saves shirt. And no one's been triggered. No one minds," he explained.

Kovacs concluded with both positive and negative anonymous reaction from a source he didn't identify.

And it wouldn't be an LGBT-related controversy if anti-LGBT activist Michael Brown didn't weigh in, and he did just that in his June 7 column. He stated, "My goal here is not to fuel the fires of Christian gossip, nor is it to deepen the controversy. To the contrary, I want to respond in the most constructive and helpful way possible." Brown's idea of "constructive," of course, was to criticize Jenkins for pointing out that, while "The Chosen" is not a religion or a ministry, there were homophobes among his critics:

But it is at this point that I take issue with Jenkins and encourage him to offer a public apology.

That’s because some of the show’s prominent actors had some ugly words for those who took issue with the pride flag. As reported on the Not the Bee website, "Multiple ‘Chosen’ actors who portray Jesus' disciples decry ‘homophobia and ignorance’ of fans after show defends LGBT flag on set."

So, some of the very people who were part of the crowdfunding of "The Chosen" and some of the people who represent the core viewers of the program were trashed by some of the show's prominent actors. Surely, this is not the kind of thing where you say, "Hey, everyone is allowed their viewpoint, and I do not police what they post."Rather, at this point, it's important to show some solidarity with your viewers and not just with your employees.

The fact is, without the viewers, there would be no employees. Shouldn't this be a real concern, not out of a desire for fame or fortune but out of Christian love and ethics?

To give further context to the online interaction in question, Giavani Cairo, who plays the apostle Thaddeus, tweeted, "Another one of the actors on 'The Chosen' here. Anyone who is going to go at one of our family members for something like this, is no fan of ours. They can close the door on the way out. 'Love one another as I have loved you' We stand with our brother ‍🌈❤️.”

Talk about being tone deaf. Cairo plays the role of an apostle – yes, he's an actor, but everyone knows him now as Thaddeus. He quotes the words of Jesus in his tweet, calling us to love another as Jesus loved us, then he trashes a concerned viewer. Really?

To paraphrase, "Jesus calls us to love another, so get out of here, you jerk! And be sure not to come back. We stand with LGBT pride, not with you, the concerned Christian viewers."

Of course Brown wants anti-LGBT hate to be treated as a virtue. He continued:

Do these actors and crew members have the right to express themselves freely? Absolutely.

Is it good that they showed solidarity with one of their own? To a certain extent, yes.

But they should have been far more considerate of the people who watch their work and help fund it. And they should ask themselves some deeper questions about Jesus, the Bible, Christian love and LGBTQ pride.

In my view, the right thing to do from here in order to honor the Lord and honor the viewers, is this: First, Jenkins should apologize for these hateful and harsh comments, saying that they absolutely do not speak for him or the team behind "The Chosen" and that he regrets the pain they have caused.

Second, the actors should make clear that while they love and stand with their crew and personally reject hateful attitudes, they owe the viewers an apology for their harsh, judgmental and un-Christlike comments.

I believe most viewers would forgive and move on. Isn’t this the path of wisdom, love, integrity and truth?

Yes, Brown is complaining that it causes "pain" to have one's homophobia called out.

But WND eventually got over it; it published an outside article on July 18 touting that production of "the Chosen" won't be interrupted by strikes by writers and actors.

UPDATE: To show just how sensitive it is to accuse its own side of the same things it gets clicks for doing when acceptable targets are attacked, the head of the Daily Wire apologized for publishing a similar attack on "The Chosen" over the rainbow flag, declaring it's "hardly the fault of the show" -- even though the Daily Wire employs rabid homophobes like Matt Walsh and Michael Knowles who have aggressively promoted boycotts against Bud Light and Target over their insufficient hate of LGBT people.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:02 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 1, 2023 5:40 PM EDT

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