Hey there… tomorrow's the big day, and Bob and Larry can hardly wait.  A few fans aren't real thrilled with the edits being made to the show to pass muster with NBC's "standards and practices" board.  One fan wrote this…

I think you all are selling out and should be ashamed of yourselves!!  Veggie Tales is a religious show, NBC is notoriously anti-religion yet instead of insisiting NBC rise up to the level of God you drug your show down to the level of NBC.  I'm not sure if this was done for publicity or for money but no reason is ever good enough to turn your back on God!  Boo to whomever was involved in the shredding of Veggie Tales, my children will not be watching this and I'm am encouraging all my friends and family to not support this programming either!

And another wrote…

Is compromise good?  We've noticed that veggies has changed….  The compromise for the Sat. morning deal is no different than churches getting rid of any mention of the blood of Christ…mention of sin…..replacing the gospel with a social plan to take over the world (in the name of God) when the power of the gospel is stripped.  The power comes from repentence….(gasp). NO………it's all about having fun and coffee bars and skate parks and reaching the lost with illusionists and comedians and blah blah blah….Jesus is NOT my CEO and who cares about anything that  Forbes magazine has to say.  But that is what is in our churches…and boy oh boy are they GROWING. (like a really big corporation..oh goodie…)…we're all super spiritual now coz we have 10,000 members  Huh?  If the road is NARROW that means not many are on it….but our churches are LOADED because of the feel-good programs and messages…not because anyone is picking up their CROSS. So if these churches are LOADED and we look SO MUCH like the world…could it be we're all on the road to destruction..and just don't know it ?satan is sly and cunning….the same twisting of the truth he handed Eve is the same bag of goods he is handing the American church.  With the success of Veggie Tales..and for that matter Touched By an Angel….where the message was right there……could you not have taken a stand and said…no….the message must remain…for that is the essence of Veggie Tales….and let them reject you if need be.  Truth becomes apostate, eventually, because of COMPROMISE.

 Interesting stuff.  Both fans make good points, I think — points worth addressing.  Is editing VeggieTales for NBC "selling out"?  As I mentioned in my prior post, I'm not at all happy with the edits.  I didn't know I'd need to make them when I agreed to produce the show, and I considered dropping out when I found out just how much would need to be removed.  I decided to continue primarily as a favor to Classic Media and my friends at Big Idea, who would have been in a major pickle if I had abandoned the project just a few weeks before the first air date.  (We didn't find out about the need for the cuts until early August, about two weeks before delivering the first episode.)  So did Classic Media or Big Idea sell out?  Not really, I don't think, because the depth of the cuts came as a surprise to them as well.  Apparently one department at NBC was telling them one thing, and then, once they were committed to delivering the show, another department told them something completely different.  They could have pulled VeggieTales from the deal at that point and swapped some other show (like Lassie or something else from Classic's library), but they thought the exposure for Bob and Larry was worth it.  Would I have made the same decision?  I'm not sure.  That's a tough call.  When a general market distributor promised in 1994 to take VeggieTales into Wal-Mart if we would remove God from the show, I declined.  The increased exposure wasn't worth the loss of the show's primary purpose – teaching kids about God.  (At the end of the day VeggieTales isn't a show about 'values', it's a show about God.)

 So is this any different?  Yes, sort of, because the edited shows won't end up on store shelves.  There won't be two different versions of each VeggieTales video – one with God, and one without.  These shows will only air on NBC, Telemundo and Pax (now called "Ion"), and as soon as they're done with them, I'm hoping Big Idea will put them back the way they should be.  Was it a 'sell-out' to do this deal?  Ultimately you'll have to make that call.

 The other fan was very concerned about 'compromise'.  Did I compromise my beliefs to edit the shows?  Well, there's 'compromise' in the sense of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refusing to bow down, and then there's 'compromise' in the sense of Paul saying he will be "all things to all people."  Paul was willing to compromise his cultural values to build relationships with Greeks, Romans, slaves, and anyone else he met along his travels.  If they ate meat, he'd eat meat.  If they didn't, he wouldn't.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to compromise their beliefs about God.  God said "bow to no other god but me" and they intended to follow that directive, no matter the personal cost.  So was taking "God made you special and he loves you very much" off the end of these new shows more like Paul's situation?  Or Shadrach's?  Do the edited shows say anything that I believe is untrue?  No.  They do, however, stop short of saying things I wanted to say that are very true.  Do they go against God's commands?  Or do they just respect the boundaries of a foreign culture?

Ultimately, I'll let you guys decide.  I want to put these shows back the way they're supposed to be as soon as I can, and make lots more shows that can help raise the next generation of Christians.  Overall, I think the NBC situation is a little like being invited to sing at the White House on the condition you won't sing certain songs that might offend certain foreign dignitaries.  Some artists might say, "Forget it!  Those songs are what I am about!  I won't compromise!"  Others might say, "The impact of singing at the White House is worth living with their rules.  Once I'm out the door, though, I'll be singing my songs at the top of my lungs."

That's sort of my attitude here.  I understand if you disagree, but I hope at least you'll know now that I'm wrestling through these issues with good intentions.

By the way, last week it was announced that NBC would allow Madonna to perform, on the air, the song in her current tour the she sings while suspended from a mirrored crucifix.  I know the audience and time of day is completely different, but it is a bit ironic that telling kids God loves them is "not okay," but singing a song while mocking the crucifixion is fine and dandy.  Let us Christians never forget that we are strangers here.  We don't fit in.

And that's okay.