I had a recent discussion with a couple who are PhD candidates and they assert that media reflects culture more than it leads it. I couldn't disagree more.
Cultural trends are always inspired --started by someone who gets a lot of publicity and admiration. If there are no trend setters; no cultural change. I believe Michael Landon's Little House on the Prairie tv series, based on the books, inspired a generation of home-schoolers who wanted their kids to be wholesome and protected from the seamy side of life like the Ingalls girls --who wanted their marriages to be happy like the tv couple --who even liked country decor and dress also. While we didn't all home school or dress our girls in dresses, we still ALL admired the little house family and their demonstration of "family values."
Then came Seinfeld and Friends. The Christian young people of college age were glued to Friends. These are people who don't need parents or have them --and any parents are usually ridiculous characters as in most sit coms. And sure enough, Just like the Friends, I find today's younger generation to be tolerant of gay marriage, transgendering, alcohol use (nothing new), cohabiting before the wedding (new as a cultural phenom) --even some who were raised to be Christians. The shows made light of immorality. And while they sometimes showed glimpses of negative consequences of immorality--it never turned out THAT bad --with the woman and her kids in poverty. Consequences are always more laughable than painful in such series. Of course, we want them to have happy endings.
Dan Quayle wasn't wrong about Murphy Brown --that she made a choice to keep a baby and be a career woman raising her child without a father. As pro-lifers we support women who keep their babies --but would their kids have been better off in so many ways if they had been given up for adoption? I don't in the least condemn single moms --but we are not speaking truth if we don't do as Santorum did --and tell the truth --that if you wait for marriage before parenting, you and your child have have much less chance of poverty status.
TV says (watch Lifetime) single women can have jobs and raise their fatherless kids just fine--and they will eventually meet a rich, single, professional man who will marry them.
I agree with being culturally savvy enough to engage others in conversation --and to point out truths that show up in good drama/good art, but the admired art today is selling us untruths --and we should protest and compete with better art and drama --like Courageous --which, for its alleged faults (maybe too many themes in one story,) it had the power to move MOST of us in a good direction --in our realization that good Christian fathers are needed to impact our culture --for the sake of the children--for the sake of their ultimate salvation.
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible