I ran across an interesting news article on Fox News about the recent controversy over VeggieTales and NBC.
- Talking Veggies Stir Controversy at NBC (FoxNews.com article).
- Statement from BigIdea, producers of VeggieTales.
In short, NBC decided that Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber cannot reference God in any way other than historical references. That means various changes may need to be made to the show, including possibly removing their famous closing tag line: “Remember, God made you special and He loves you very much. Goodbye.”
NBC is attempting to promote values without promoting religion. This raises many questions, but I’ll address only a few.
1. Can you have good morals and high values apart from God?
Philosophers, ever since about the 17th century have been trying to reason out using human logic how to attain values and virtue. In the end, the result was such a relativity and subjective mix of ideas that nobody is able to tell what is right or wrong anymore. Why? Because when we try to reason out values, or try to decide that the source of virtue is within ourselves, we will always fail. We are sinful creatures whose reasoning and morals are tainted by our sinful nature. Up to the years not long after the Reformation, values were seen as coming from God (while there may have been some mavericks, the overall social view held to this). Aristotle and Augustine typify this belief. Without a final authority outside ourselves from which morals and values derive, there are no morals or values. Rather, there is only chaos, selfishness, and a lack of righteousness. In short, without God, there is only sin and hopelessness.
However, with God’s grace, when we accept Christ, we have peace, hope, and eternal life. Apart from Christ, there is no life.
2. Is NBC playing religious politics or being fair?
Until they attempt to broadcast a show promoting the beliefs of other religions targeting kids, this question is difficult to absolutely answer. However, I am inclined to believe that if another faith promoted their religious beliefs, they would not be forced to change their views or statements. For example, if a Muslim show targeting children was to be broadcast by NBC, I’m not convinced that NBC would require all non-historical references to Allah be removed. Their argument would be about promoting peace and fairness and not wanting to offend all the Muslim viewers. All the while, they have no problem offending Christian viewers. This is an anti-Christian double standard, but it is a standard one would expect from a secular, worldly organization. When people are blinded by sin, as all are without Christ, then they work against God’s purposes and His people.
3. Should VeggieTales give in and change their shows?
Since VeggieTales signed a contract, they should abide by the terms. The best option may be to keep the show on and make as few changes as possible in order to abide by NBC’s rules. This allows them to keep their word, just as Jesus instructs. Consider that this may be an opportunity for VeggieTales to have children around the nation tell their parents they want to own Bob and Larry’s show, which will include all the references to God. This could be an open door for a potential evangelistic outreach to children. Whatever VeggieTales decides to do, they must do whatever God wants them to do and whatever glorifies Him.
My take is this: NBC is hoping to censor out and remove all references to the Christian God, the God of the Bible, the true and living God. They found a show that is very popular and overlooked the Christian message. After the contract was done, they discovered Christianity in the show and are now wanting that removed. I disagree with NBC’s decision and pray they chance their mind. However, I pray that Phil Vischer and the crew of VeggieTales follow God’s guidance with this and do what He desires. Doing so will glorify Him and He will bless them for it.
I support and encourage children of all ages, from birth to senior citizen, to watch VeggieTales. It is a wonderfully done program used by God to reach millions.