Sexual Sermons

  It's typical family life in a typical American town, right? Mom is cheating on Dad.Twelve-year-olds are having sex. Fifteen-year-olds are pursuing affairs with sexy teachers. At least, this is typical life in "Dawson's Creek," a television drama that's become a huge hit among teenagers—and that may be influencing your own child or grandchild as well. The lead character is 15-year-old Dawson Leery, who discovers that his mother is cheating on his father. Dawson's friend Pacey, also 15, is having an affair with his English teacher. Dawson's new girlfriend, Jan, reveals that she's been having sex since she was 12 years old. And when "Dawson's Creek" characters are not actually engaging in sex,they're talking about it ad nauseum. I watched this program the other night—at least, I watched the first 15 minutes, because that's all I could stomach. It's so trashy,it makes "Peyton Place" look like George Bailey's Bedford Falls. The creator of "Dawson's Creek," Kevin Williamson, says he's just trying to have some fun—that he's merely reflecting the way kids really talk and behave. When it comes to moral issues, Williamson says, "you'll never see us sermonizing" because "kids don't like to have messages shoved down their throats." But Williamson is shoving a sermon of his own: that hip and attractive kids have lots and lots of sex. And he's not just reflecting trends—he's helping to create them. As columnist John Leo writes, "Early sexualization is in large part a result of commercial sexual products like [‘Dawson's Creek’]." Producers know this perfectly well. In a book called Prime Time, Robert and Linda Lichter write that in the early days of television, celluloid heroes and heroines endorsed traditional values and moral codes. By contrast, the authors write, today's TV characters are "proponents of social change." Producers view "themselves as educators, with the tube as their schoolroom." And what are they teaching? That sex is a natural, normal part of any teenager's life. I recently taped a 30-minute radio program with Bill Bennett on the subject of virtue.We talked about the depth of the moral crisis in America, and the coarsening of our culture. I wanted to end the program by giving listeners some hope, so I turned to Bill and asked: "What can we do to restore character and virtue?" Almost before the words were out of my mouth, Bill replied: "Turn off the TV." He's right. If we subject ourselves to the kind of garbage aired on television, the results are absolutely predictable: a total trashing of our children's understanding of right and wrong. The average American spends 28 hours a week watching the tube. During National TV Turnoff Week [April 22 – 28, 1998], why not turn off the television and spend some of that extra time writing letters to advertisers, protesting corrupt and sleazy shows like"Dawson's Creek." And remind your kids and grandkids of what the Scriptures teach: that sin gets a foothold in our minds through the things we see, hear, and talk about. Help them understand what TV producers are up to. They are not "just trying to have some fun," as that "Dawson's Creek" producer claims. They're aggressively preaching a lifestyle of depravity.


Chuck Colson


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