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I Don’t Want To Boycott ‘The Chosen,’ But The Cast And Crew Are Forcing Me To Walk Away

dallas jenkins talking to actor on The Chosen set
Image CreditThe Chosen/YouTube

According to several ‘Chosen’ actors, tolerance is apparently a one-way street.

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I have never been one to jump on the boycott bandwagon. Sure, if I have a choice between a seller that shares my values and one that doesn’t, I will choose to do business with the former. And if I turn on a program or walk into a store that assaults me from every side with the demand that I embrace something I can’t, I will turn around and leave.

However, until recent backlash efforts like those against Bud Light and Target, I haven’t seen boycotts accomplish much. And I find it impossible, as a consumer, to keep all my choices “pure.” The world is too complex.

So when a report surfaced last week of a “pride” flag on the set of “The Chosen,” followed by a call for a boycott, I shrugged (setting aside my sadness that rainbows now more immediately stand for LGBT “pride” than God’s promise to Noah). It’s a movie set, for Pete’s sake. I would be surprised if there were not someone working on the set who is celebrating pride month. As long as the show itself isn’t explicitly pushing the agenda, I don’t care what individuals on the set do.

I was also satisfied with the initial response from “The Chosen” creator Dallas Jenkins:

We’ve made it clear from the beginning we don’t have a religious or political litmus test for who can work on our show. 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. The show’s official stance on anything is to be found in the content of the show.

That was good enough for me. It doesn’t impede my viewing that someone on the set was displaying a pride flag any more than it has impeded my enjoyment of any number of presentations over the years that the people who worked on them probably engaged in all manner of behaviors I would not condone. I can appreciate an artistic creation without expecting every individual behind it to share my belief in the Bible as the actual Word of God.

But while the show says it doesn’t have a litmus test for those it hires, several “Chosen” actors made clear, as the week went on, that it does have one for viewers:

https://twitter.com/GCairo06/status/1663750736914546691
https://twitter.com/TheJordanRoss/status/1664048214574497794

Tolerance is apparently a one-way street.

In a nearly 20-minute video released Sunday, Jenkins responded to the week’s events, saying that nothing has changed with the show and that it has always followed a hands-off policy regarding its contracted workers’ personal lives.

“Our cast and crew … sometimes wear T-shirts and hats that go across the entire spectrum, from a pride flag or a MAGA hat or a ‘Jesus saves’ shirt,” he said. “No one on our set minds.”

Regarding the actors’ comments, Jenkins said, “They said some things I wouldn’t have said.” But he stopped short of condemning the actors’ words or calling for them to apologize. He also said that the actors weren’t responding to all viewers who expressed concerns, only those who were being mean.

For the record, here is a sample tweet from Jon Root, whom Jordan Ross accused of “hate, homophobia and ignorance”:

https://twitter.com/JonnyRoot_/status/1664338906572271616

Who’s actually being hateful here?

I have some sympathy for Jenkins. A self-identified libertarian and conservative evangelical, he seems like a faithful Christian and a genuinely nice guy. I wouldn’t want to be in his position right now.

But since he is in this position, it’s time for him to rise to it. “The Chosen” has so far been crowd-funded by tens of thousands of fans, who have given millions of dollars to a cause they believed in. Jenkins owes those people more than looking the other way when a few of his actors spit in their faces. He owes them the courage to say that calling sin “sin” is not hate. It’s love, and it’s exactly what Jesus did throughout His earthly ministry and what He still does today in His Word.

As with pretty much everything I watch these days, I came to “The Chosen” late. However, once I started watching, I found much to appreciate. I have recommended the show to others. I have defended it against some of the concerns expressed by my fellow Christians.

But right now, I’m not sure if I can go back. If I don’t, it won’t be because I have decided to join a boycott. It will be because watching simply makes me too sad.   


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