Same-Sex therapy, Roseanne Barr’s weird politics, “I Can Only Imagine,” Bonhoeffer, Brennan Manning, and Michael Card

Weekly Review

Banning Therapy. It appears that the latest front in the culture war over sexuality is this: What is acceptable therapy? In the past month, at least four states have taken steps to stop Christian therapists from helping patients with unwanted sexual attractions. In other words, the only acceptable therapy is to encourage homosexuality or transgenderism. In late March, Washington became the 10th state to ban therapy that would help minors resist same-sex attraction, calling such help “unprofessional conduct” that could get a provider’s license revoked and would almost certainly result in a fine. Maryland last week passed a similar law, and the governor says he’ll sign it.

Rosanne Redux. The re-boot of the situation comedy “Roseanne” is getting a lot of attention from both audiences and critics, in part because it is doing something rare for network television: it appears to be portraying conservatives in a positive light. However, lots of people forget that the original “Roseanne” was among the first television programs to say it is “OK to be gay.”  In the early 90s, long before “Will and Grace” and other famously pro-gay programs, “Roseanne” had gay and lesbian characters – including the first on-screen lesbian kisses on a major network. The real-life Roseanne Barr has politics that are famously leftist. She ran for president in 2012 on the Green Party ticket until that party rejected her and she ran on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, which is a weird combination of progressive and populist stands. (Roseanne herself called it the “Green Tea Party.”) She actively supported the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. When it comes to abortion, she’s militantly “pro-choice.” I don’t mean to “look a gift horse in the mouth.” Maybe Roseanne Barr has “evolved” in her politics. After all, people do change. But her leftist activism isn’t ancient history. I think it’s important not to get overly excited about “Roseanne” until we see whether or not she’s setting conservatives up for an elaborate practical joke.

Movie Talk. The past few weeks I’ve devoted more space than normal to movies, but only because “I Can Only Imagine” continues to have the kind of box-office run no one could have imagined. This past weekend, it pulled in another $8-million and is now approaching $70-million in ticket sales. It is now in the top ten biggest Christian movies of all time. Sony’s “Paul, An Apostle of Christ” looks to top out at between $15- and $20-million in theaters. That has to be considered a disappointing performance, but still enough to make the film profitable. The real disappointment is the third installment in the “God Is Not Dead” franchise. It has barely cracked the $5-million mark after two weeks in release, and it is dropping fast.

Milestones. Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer died on April 9, 1945. His last recorded words: “This is the end. For me, the beginning.” After uttering these words, he was executed in a Nazi concentration camp at age 39…. Brennan Manning died on April 12, 2013, five years ago this week. A Marine-turned-priest, his best-known book is A Ragamuffin Gospel, which had a huge impact on Christian musician Rich Mullins, Andrew Peterson, and many others…. Happy birthday to Michael Card, who turns 61 tomorrow.

 

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