From the blog

Why Couldn’t 90’s Kids Watch Cool TV?

If you were raised evangelical in the 90’s, there were lots of tv shows you weren’t allowed to watch for hilarious reasons.1 If you don’t believe me, watch this John Crist video right now.

While it’s fun to laugh at our parents for what my dad calls “Christian political correctness,” we should sympathize with them. They were trying to protect their kids from a multi-headed hydra of influences they knew almost nothing about. Also, there’s a distinct possibility that we’ll do the same thing with our kids.


This may be wishful thinking, but I’m about to argue that my generation won’t do the same thing with our kids. And yes, I do have reasons why parenting in the 90’s was particularly tough:

  • Culture had just shifted. Have you noticed that prior generations don’t have stories about all the 60’s and 70’s shows they weren’t allowed to watch? Back in the day, the entertainment industry still held enough civil Christianity (or at least a venir of it) to not raise any flags.  But by the 90’s the illusion was shattered, and entertainment stopped nodding to “traditional values.” After their heads stopped spinning, evangelicals closed ranks against this new threat: Christianity is under attack! The enemy has breached the gate! All of a sudden, evangelicals were primed to find danger everywhere.
  • Information was limited. Today, I’m a google search away from all the information I need to determine if a show is appropriate. But back in olden times (the 90’s), this was much harder to come by. Other than watching every show yourself, the only information source was rumors from church ladies and grumpy deacons. And they have a tendency to . . . exaggerate.
  • The pendulum hadn’t swung. In the 90’s, the general evangelical opinion was that we had fallen asleep at the wheel, and let the secularists swoop in and steal the culture. They responded by charging into the culture war on all fronts—even the Saturday morning cartoon front.  Twenty years later, the pendulum has swung the other way. Today’s parents are the ones raised on that overreaction. That means they’re primed to react in the opposite direction.

Of course, I could be wrong about everything. Twenty years from now, my kids could be laughing about all my crazy rationales for banning shows. And they’ll rub this post in my face.

*Stares toward the horizon*

Blogs are dangerous things . . .


1  For the record, the shows I wasn’t allowed to watch were Captain Planet (environmentalism), and Pokémon (psychic). I also wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter (witchcraft).


Photo by Gustavo Devito


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