Here are today’s dispatches from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

1. Faith-based film producer killed in Hollywood shooting rampage. From Hollywood Reporter: In addition to his work in the music and events promotions businesses, Los Angeles native John Atterberry, who died Dec. 12 after suffering injuries during a gunman’s rampage in Hollywood, also had a burgeoning career in the movie business. At the time of his death, Atterberry, 40, was working on completing the independent film God’s Country, which he co-wrote and produced. The film tells the story of an ambitious real estate executive who is neglectful of her mother but goes through a spiritual transformation while trying to close a lucrative deal.

2.  All-American saga continues.

From Hollywood Reporter: Just like home improvement retailer Lowe’s, travel Web site Kayak has also withdrawn commercials from TLC’s All-American Muslim, the New York Times reported.

From Hollywood Reporter: TLC’s reality series, All-American Muslim, has already seen plenty of the spotlight after retail giant Lowe’s came under fire for pulling its ads from the show. Now the reality series about five Lebanese American Muslim families in Michigan is feeling the heat from another group – PETA. In the fourth episode, one of the show’s stars, Shadia Amen, blaming her allergies, gives away her husband’s 16-year-old dog. PETA announced that the organization had sent a letter to David Zaslav, the president, CEO, and director of TLC, asking him to air a PETA public service announcement featuring Muslim-Americans asking viewers to consider the words of The Prophet (PBUH): “All creatures are like a family of God; and He loves the most those who are the most beneficent to His family.”

From New York Magazine: More people may be talking about TLC’s All-American Muslim online than actually watching it. Per Nielsen, Sunday’s episode of the unscripted series drew just 908,000 viewers at 10 p.m., with 77 other shows airing on cable Sunday night drawing a bigger crowd.

Comment: All this controversy and still lousy ratings?

Some thoughts.

A.) We Christians would be wise not to seek the removal of a TV show merely for showing Muslims in a positive light.  It doesn’t become us. We certainly wouldn’t appreciate it if an advertiser boycott was called against a program showing Christians in a positive light.

B.) That said, part of the frustration among Christians (which results in this sort of lashing out) is the sense that mainstream TV networks in recent years have veered toward programming that often is seen as disrespectful toward Christianity in ways that  they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) even consider if the subject was, say, Islam. The sense among some Christians, not entirely unjustified, is that,  when it to matters we consider important or even sacred,  the general TV tone is one of  edgy irreverence (sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle) but when it comes to presenting issues related to Islam the value of sensitivity is suddenly discovered. It’s that perception of unequal treatment that heightens resentment.

C.)  What we need is more programming that is kind and respectful toward people of all different faiths. That’s what leads to understanding and tolerance.  No one should be shut out and, while we all could use a sense of humor about ourselves, no group should be outright mocked and insulted.  That’s just common sense and common decency.

D.) Speaking of the value of having a sense of humor about all things, check out this funny bit from The Daily Show.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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