(12/29/2002) For some, the protrayal of gay characters on TV represents the further decline of morality in America and a threat to all they hold dear. Unfortunately, in our zeal to uphold our values, we often tell only part of the story.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
My name is Jim Neugent. I wrote to ABC (on-line) concerning a program called "THE PRACTICE". One of the lawyer's mothers decided she was gay and wanted her son to go court to help her get a marriage license to marry her 'partner'. I sent the following letter to ABC yesterday and really did not expect a reply, but I did get one.
My original message was:
ABC is obsessed (or should I say abscessed) with the subject of homosexuality. I will no longer watch any of your attempts to convince the world that homosexuality is OK. THE PRACTICE can be a fairly good show but last night's program was so typical of your agenda. You picked the 'dufus' of the office to be the one who was against the idea of his mother being gay and made him look like a whiner because he had convictions. This type of mentality calls people like me a "gay basher." Read the first chapter of Romans (that's in the Bible) and see what the apostle Paul had to say about it... He, God and Jesus were all 'gay bashers'. What if she'd fallen in love with her cocker spaniel? Is that an alternative lifestyle? (By the way, the Bible speaks against that, too.) * Jim Neugent
Here is ABC's reply from the ABC on-line webmaster:
How about getting your nose out of the Bible (which is ONLY a book of stories compiled by MANY different writers hundreds of years ago) and read the declaration of Independence (what our nation is built on) where it says "All Men are Created equal-and try treating them that way for a change!? Or better yet, try thinking for yourself and stop using an archaic book of stories as your lame crutch for your existence. You are in the minority in this country and your boycott will not affect us or our freedom of expression.
My second response to ABC:
Thanks for your reply. Evidently, I hit a nerve from your harsh reply. I will share it with all with whom I come in contact. Hopefully, the Arkansas Democrat Newspaper will include it in one of their columns. And I will be praying for you.-Jim Neugent
Note: Wouldn't Satan just love it if people stopped using the Bible for a crutch? Please resend this to everyone in your mailbox. Thanks, Jim
I wonder if the person from ABC considered how many people would read this e-mail!! This is one we should definitely pass on.
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
The account in the letter is real. Jim Neugent, concerned with what he had seen on TV in April 1999, sought a way to let ABC know he disproved of their programming choices. He chose to contact them using the general webmaster e-mail link on the ABC website. The webmaster, probably frustrated with Neugent's poor choice of avenues to express his displeasure, indeed responded as Neugent claimed. Immediately after getting the webmaster's tragically tactless response, Neugent sent it to the world.
However, his chain letter doesn't tell what happened after he spread the word. ABC decried the actions of its employee and promptly fired him and issued a personal apology to Mr. Neugent. They pointed out that he acted without authorization and his comments "reflect neither the view of ABC nor of its executives." They also noted that they took his concerns under advisement.
We like bad news better than good. We like thinking that TV networks are huge, heartless corporations with a hive mind. If one employee says something negative, he or she represents the entire organization. It's not nearly as interesting to consider that companies like ABC have employees who are capable of acting on their own and experiencing terrible lapses of judgment. So, it's no wonder that the rest of the story has yet to catch up with this chain, even several years (and many more gay TV characters) later. Break this Chain!