Petition takes on Channel 7 over Good Christian Bitches

Since the recent Utterance post highlighting Channel 7’s promotion of 2012 series Good Christian Bitches during the grand final of X Factor, a backlash has developed, mainly aimed at the name, with a petition on Change.org.

The petition was begun by Carol McFarland and at time of writing had been signed by 2,445 supporters. Carol’s reasons for opposing the show include, “It is inappropriate and rude to name this show with such explicit language that is uncalled for. We are meant to respect all religions, no matter what the belief system is, but this shows utter disrespect to the Christian Religion and also to Women and is highly offensive.”

When pilots of the show were first being considered by ABC in the US, Good Christian Bitches was the working title, in keeping with Kim Gatlin’s novel, but with pressure from the American Family Association and other organisations, the names was changed to Good Christian Belles and eventually to just GBC.

A key argument was that it was demeaning to Christians, to women and would not be used in the context of another religion, for example, Good Muslim Bitches. These arguments are certainly fuelling the fire in Australia as well. So far Channel 7 has shown no sign of changing the title and, more than likely, is revelling in the publicity.

The show, staring Leslie Bibb as a single divorced mother of two who “returns to the neighbourhood and faith of her youth” in Dallas, will premiere in the US on March 4 2012 and presumably will follow soon after on Channel 7. It remains to be seen how much pressure can be brought to bear on the network regarding the title, the provocative promotion of the series and the screening of the series itself.

One US description was of it being a “Christian-bashing Desperate Housewives” but it is unlikely to be as raw and explicit as some Australian-made dramas precisely because of the stronger influence of the Christian lobby in America.

Respected magazine Christianity Today took a more considered view of the show and its title in an editorial, although their views won’t satisfy everyone:

‘The show is based on a book of the same name by Kim Gatlin, a professing Christian from Dallas, whose circle of Southern Baptist friends engages in a lot of gossip, some of it quite mean-spirited. “All Southern girls are taught to love Jesus, but just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we’re perfect,” she told Newsweek. Gatlin says her book’s title “is not mocking God. It’s mocking those of us who love God and don’t always make the best choices to honor him.” On her website, Gatlin says she intends to “put a voice to the downside of gossip … but with a message that she hopes will resonate with women everywhere.”

‘Her book’s title is in bad taste, but her subject demands our attention.

‘The book’s title is arresting precisely because it should be an oxymoron. Unfortunately, even “good” Christians do and say nasty things, which look ugly to fellow believers and puzzle a watching world that rightly believes Christians should be above gossip, slander, and general meanness.’  

Keep in mind, Gatlin’s novel is one thing, how television portrays it is another. In any case, maybe the issue we should be left with is the one that ends the Christianity Today editorial:

‘Perhaps Good Christian Bitches will illumine a temptation that lures individuals in every church and Christian organization. We shouldn’t be asking so much whether the show’s title is offensive but rather whether it’s true.’

Read the full Christianity Today editorial here. (Oh, and from now on, we’ll follow their lead and call it Good Christian Bleeps…)

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4 thoughts on “Petition takes on Channel 7 over Good Christian Bitches

  1. People, there are plenty of other TV Channels to choose from.
    If you don’t like then don’t watch it – Simple !!!

  2. This soon to be aired show “Good Christian Bitches” depicting scantily dressed women in lewd positions is highly offensive to all true Christians and especially Christian women. This program should be banned from being broadcast. Such a program also shows religious discrimination for one could guarantee that a program titled “Good Muslim Bitches” would never be aired. Similarly, the constant blaspheming of our Almighty God and Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ, in many other broadcast programs is intolerable and should cease. For this too is offensive and shows religious discrimination for there appears no program ever blasphemes the name Muhammad.

  3. Hey Peter – You know there are a lot of Hindu, Channel 7 employed, Nurses, Public Service employed and other women that gossip and who have a lot of failings that can be pointed to – can you tell me which one of those groups or ANY other group in our society it would be appropriate to call “Good (Nurses/Public Service/ xyz) Bitches”.
    “maybe the issue we should be left with” is whether it would be appropriate to have a show called “Good Journalist Bitches”.

    1. Angelo, I could be wrong, but it seems like you have insulted women in an attempt to prevent them being insulted…
      In a previous comment on this post I’ve agreed that this is an appalling title for a series and the promo for it is equally appalling.
      I don’t think women are any worse at gossip than men and that if the writer of the novel was making a sincere attempt to show how gossip, slander, hypocrisy can ruin lives and undermine faith, as distasteful as the packaging might be, there might be some good come of it.
      I certainly do not want to be an apologist for this program but I think Christian’s should have more than knee-jerk reactions to things they don’t like in our society. We can’t control popular culture or any other kind of culture – we can oppose it all we like but quite often it will go ahead anyway. And people will engage with it even if we prefer they didn’t. So there’s a place then for trying to provide some guidance for those who choose to engage with tv shows, movies, books etc that could be harmful or untrue, hoping to draw their attention to alternatives, and giving them better grounding for future decisions. It’s called being in the marketplace. And being in the marketplace can get a bit messy, but that’s where we are called to be.

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