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‘Ellen’ to embrace homosexuality; Oprah Winfrey plays support role

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“Ellen” will air her homosexuality April 30, according to ABC in a March 3 announcement.

The much-discussed possibility, dating back to last September, already had raised dismay among Southern Baptists and other evangelicals. The sitcom will make TV history by featuring the first openly homosexual lead character.Last June, well before the “Ellen” speculation, Southern Baptists threatened a boycott of the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s parent company, over other Disney-related moral concerns.

One media observer, Bob DeMoss, noted: “… since the Disney company owns ABC and ABC owns the prime-time sitcom ‘Ellen,’ this was ultimately a decision that went to the top of Disney.” DeMoss issues a weekly fax report, “Entertainment Today,” from Nashville, Tenn.

According to media reports of the script, the show’s star, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who plays bookstore owner “Ellen Morgan,” will voice her homosexuality to a therapist played by Oprah Winfrey of TV talk show fame.

“If true, Oprah’s presence lends added approval of this sexually perverse lifestyle,” DeMoss lamented.

The Donald Wildmon-led American Family Association reacted in a news release, titled “ABC/Disney pushes homosexuality full-throttle,” by urging viewers to place calls of protest to their local ABC affiliates and to “Ellen” advertisers.

“We will be publicizing the advertisers who are willing to push the homosexual agenda,” declared Tim Wildmon, AFA vice president. AFA began a Disney boycott in 1995 after a Disney subsidiary, Miramax, released the controversial movie, “Priest,” which also contained homosexual themes.

DeMoss offered his readers these suggestions: “First, point teens to Romans 1:26 as evidence that God still calls lesbian sex sin — even if ABC and Disney find it acceptable. Secondly, consider writing your local ABC affiliate to express your concern in a winsome manner. Send a copy to Oprah urging her to reconsider.” However, according to AFA, the episode is being shot the week of March 3.

To date, one of the sitcom’s sponsors, Mazda, is on record as saying it would temporarily cease advertising on the show if Ellen declares herself to be a homosexual, according to Advertising Age.

The Associated Press quoted Chastity Bono, a spokeswoman for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, as saying, “I think it’s going to be a very positive event for the gay and lesbian community.” The organization earlier had organized a letter writing campaign in support of the sitcom’s venture into lesbianism.

Last fall, a Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission spokesman underscored the SBC’s concern over the possible Ellen plot line. “It only gives critics of the Disney empire more reason to allege the entertainment giant has abandoned the traditional family in favor of the perverse,” said Dwayne Hastings, CLC director of communications.

The AFA, in a March 5 news release, also lodged other complaints against ABC involving homosexuality:

“In January the new ABC drama series ‘Relativity’ contained a lesbian kissing scene, complete with caressing, nuzzling and passionate, open-mouthed kissing, that propelled network television further than it had gone before. A previous lesbian kiss on ABC’s ‘Roseanne’ was less intimate, showing the encounter from behind one of the women.”

By AFA’s count, 12 of the 27 regular homosexual characters currently on TV are on ABC programming.

The SBC resolution adopted by messengers at last year’s annual meeting in New Orleans suggested a boycott of Disney if the company continues its “antiChristian and antifamily trend.” For now, the resolution called on Baptists “to give prayerful and serious consideration” to whether to attend Disney theme parks and purchase Disney products. A number of other denominations have voiced similar concerns, including the Assemblies of God and Presbyterian Church in America.