Evangelical Christians are on the front lines in the battle over indecency on cable television, calling for a pick-and-choose pricing plan that would allow viewers to keep certain channels out of their homes.
But on the opposite end of the battlefield is a surprising opponent: Christian cable stations.
The fear among Christian broadcasters is that a proposal to allow consumers to reject MTV or Comedy Central would also allow them to unsubscribe from the Trinity Broadcasting Network or Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.
Evangelical and family groups support the concept of “a la carte” cable legislation, which would allow cable users to subscribe solely to the networks of their choice.
The plan is likely to be proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
But Colby May, attorney for the Faith and Family Broadcasters Coalition, argues that the only ones willing to subscribe will be Christians. “If you obligate viewers to pre-select religious service, you are essentially going to find yourself witnessing to the choir,” May said. “In combination all of these networks have literally thousands and thousands of anecdotal stories of people who were channel surfing that came across one of their services and it changed their life for the better.”
But Christian groups like Concerned Women for America say lives will be better with the a la carte plan.
“Unfortunately the number of inappropriate programs far outweighs the number of good,” said Lanier Swann, the group's director of government relations. “Our issue is to protect families.”