Veggie Tales is now airing on NBC.

Controversy may be in the works, though, for Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, and the rest of the Veggie Tales gang, apparently, as a liberal Christian group protested NBC’s cuts of the animated shorts, known for its strong Christian views.

Since NBC started showing 30-minute episodes of the talking vegetables on Saturday mornings, it has clipped key portions of each episode out, specifically the tag lines near the end (Remember, kids, God made you special and He loves you very much).

From my perspective, I tend to agree with the liberals on this. VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer’s quandary, as he so eloquently puts it on his blog, lies in whether one sees it as a compromise of his vision, or as a way to reach out to a greater market (who would subsequently buy the videos and receive the message in full).

As a father of a child who likes VeggieTales, I tend to see the opportunity provided by NBC as VeggieTales‘ equivalent of Paul’s being “all things to all people.” VeggieTales can reach out to a whole new market, and the story – the values of the gospel – is still there. Is a watered-down gospel a less effective gospel? I don’t think so. I think I can trust the Holy Spirit to do its job and work in the hearts of the children who watch the show.

I’d much rather give people a taste of VeggieTales and have them enjoy what they can about the cartoon, thereby whetting their appetite for the values that a Christian life that one can live as taught by the cartoon, and perhaps someday, the gospel. VeggieTales never actually preached the Good News anyway; it simply helped children liveTHElife.

Of course, the flip side of all of this is that one can see it as an elaborate ploy to get people to actually buy the videos and make Big Idea/Creative Media a ton of money. By my standards, FINE BY ME. I like Big Idea, I like how Nathan likes VeggieTales, and I want VeggieTales to continue. That means churning out my hard-earned peso to purchase their VCDs and DVDs, buying cassettes and merchandise. Call me a drone – but I’d much rather plunk my money down and purchase videos of VeggieTales and the Superbook/Flying House gang than the other options available at my local video store.

As far as I’m concerned, getting the show to air on NBC on Saturday mornings is a victory for Christianity in itself, and removing “God made you special and He loves you very much” should not affect the way we view the show. At the end of the day, It is not the responsibility of a TV show to preach the gospel, nor is it the responsibility of a cartoon to teach a child how to live in a righteous manner. It is first and foremost the job of a child’s parents to raise a child so that child becomes a good, contributing member of society. When the time comes for Christ’s message to be heard by the child, whether it be the child’s parents, or a friend, or a stranger, it shall be that child’s option – free will! – to choose salvation or not. That decision, however, is not VeggieTales’ responsibility nor decision to make.

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