Open Letter to Big Idea

Dear Big Idea,

In 1993, the same year that Big Idea was founded, Paul Weyrich founded NET as a news network for conservative Christians. Four years later, in the midst of financial difficulties, the network went public. Weyrich lost his control of the network in a hostile takeover, and its most prominent hosts—including Cal Thomas, Alan Keyes, Armstrong Williams and Weyrich himself—left the network in protest of its selling ad time to companies they opposed. As a friend of mine put it, “Here’s Alan Keyes saying, ‘Don’t buy AT&T; support Christian long-distance companies,’ and the commercial comes on for AT&T.”

VeggieTales is an amazing franchise. You folks have done well by producing a high-quality product for a niche market that is starved for quality products. Yet every time you try to go “mainstream,” something goes wrong. _Jonah_ didn’t do as well as expected for example, and led to a bankruptcy and buy-out.

I’ve never understood why lesser-quality direct-to-video series have made it to religious cable channels, but VeggieTales never did. _Adventures in Odyssey_, for example, is a very high-quality cartoon series rivaling anything on broadcast, Nickelodeon or Disney. I don’t know how well it does, financially speaking, compared to _VeggieTales_, but it airs on both TBN & EWTN, and gets plenty of support from Chick-Fil-A.

Yet Big Idea skipped over Christian broadcasting and held out for an offer from “mainstream,” now selling out to the network my father-in-law calls “Nothing-But-Crap.” The network that replaces the anti-life, anti-Christian Katie Couric with the even more anti-Christian Meredith Viera. The network of _Will & Grace_. Yes, Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners, but He dined with the tax collectors and sinners who *repented*. He did not just hang out at brothels. Jesus also said, “If someone refuses to hear your message, shake the dust of your feet.”

I am all for doing everything possible to get Christ’s message across to a wider audience. I understand that we must sometimes hold back or be subtle for the sake of a greater good. But to take what is an explicitly Christian message (and really not that explicitly Christian, either) and then truncate it to meet the demands of a secular network whom you willingly entered into contract with to begin with, is another matter altogether.

Even my four-year-old, watching _VeggieTales_ on NBC, said, “It’s really weird. It’s like they chopped up a bunch of shows and mashed ‘em back together, then they forgot all about Qwerty!”

Then today, they were watching it, and I saw an ad calling for toleration of homosexuality.

No more VeggieTales on NBC in this family. It’s probably only a matter of time before we dump _VeggieTales_ altogether, if your pattern of selling out for the Almighty Dollar continues.

You cannot serve both God and Mammon.

Pax et bonum,

John C. Hathaway

2 responses to “Open Letter to Big Idea

  1. Joy Schoenberger

    Phil Vischer has posted his explanation of what happened to Veggie Tales on his blog:

  2. John C. Hathaway

    Hi, Joy,

    Thanks for the link. I just read it, actually independently of your link.

    Puts things in a lot better context, makes me said for VT, though. But still have a huge problem with the advertising issue.

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