I guess many of you have at least heard about the new NBC Bible series called ‘A.D. The Bible Continues’ that comes on Sunday nights, by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. I decided to give it a shot but after watching the first episode, I’m just not sure I can watch the rest.
Before I explain why, let me note that over Easter I watched the 1977 Jesus of Nazareth mini-series at the recommendation of a friend and it was spectacular. In fact it was so good it ruined me on some of these newer Bible shows. It’s in two parts and each runs about two hours and fifteen minutes, so they take their time developing the story of Jesus, from his birth through his life to his death. It was very compelling.
But as I suggested, it was so good that it set the bar very high and these newer shows just aren’t measuring up. But that’s not the reason I can’t watch this new series. Let me explain.
After watching the first episode, I noticed that the casting was different than I expected. Both John the Apostle and Mary Magdalene were African. Now maybe that’s accurate but I’ve never seen them portrayed that way before. In fact in the first series by Burnett and Downey called ‘The Bible’ and their subsequent movie ‘Son of God’, John the Apostle was played by a British Actor named Sebastian Knapp and no, he’s not African.
So I decided to look up the reasons for this new casting and what I found disappointed me greatly.
NBC News wrote an article that explained it:
The trend of whitewashing Bible stories apparently is dying.
Unlike last year’s big budget films “Noah” and “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” this year’s big budget mini series event “A.D. The Bible Continues,” features a diverse cast that was almost as diverse as Jerusalem was back in the day. The series starts today on NBC and super producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have the church to thank for pushing them to move in this more historically accurate direction with their second foray into a Bible-based mini series.
“We brought together a beautiful international cast from all over,” explains Roma Downey. “We have an African John, an African Mary Magdalene, an African Ananias and Sapphira, a British Peter and an Irish Paul. When we were traveling with the [first] Bible series, we visited many churches throughout the country and there was great support of the series but even then it was observed that the cast was very white.”
Fast forward to now, says Downey.
“Mark and I decided at that time that if we had the chance to do it again we would take care of that and present a more accurate look at God’s family.”
So the first Bible series was apparently too white? Ugh. So Burnett and Downey went for political correctness to fix this ‘problem.’
I know they want the show to be successful, but diversity for the sake of political correctness just makes me not want to watch the show. After all, this is the Bible we are talking about here and it’s not a work of fiction. Accuracy matters.
Think about this. What would have been the reaction to 12 Years A Slave if they had made a couple of slaves white just for political correctness?
Look, we see enough political correctness in our daily lives and all over the news. Must we also have to see it in our biblical entertainment as well?