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Pride Flag Glimpsed On ‘The Chosen’ Set Prompts Call for Boycott

By Kathryn Post
In a promotional video for 'The Chosen' with behind-the-scenes footage, a rainbow flag can be seen placed on an equipment stand. (YouTube screen grab)

At the start of Pride month, a small rainbow flag spotted on the set of “The Chosen,” the wildly popular TV series on Jesus’ life, has triggered a dust-up among fans of the show on social media.

The hand-size flag, usually symbolizing support for LGBTQ rights, appears in the corner of the screen for approximately four seconds of a 6:49 minute promotional video “The Chosen” producers released on Sunday.

Now, in the same week that Chick-fil-A’s evangelical Christian ownership has been called “woke” for its corporate DEI efforts, the flag has sparked a call for a boycott of the biggest evangelical media property in recent memory.

“We’ve made no secret our cast and crew come from all different beliefs and backgrounds,” said Dallas Jenkins, the show’s creator and director, in a statement to media. “I don’t believe personal workspaces on set are relevant to the content of ‘The Chosen’, but if someone wants to stop watching a free show because of it, it’s their right.”

The show, which is funded by its fans via a crowdsourcing site, has racked up more than 500 million episode views and has earned glowing reviews from religious and secular outlets alike.

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The flap started Monday when Jon Root, a blogger for the conservative Christian student organization Turning Point USA, tweeted a screenshot with a photo of the flag and tagged the official Twitter account of “The Chosen,” asking, “Can you explain why there’s a Pride flag on set?”

In response, the show’s account posted, “Just like with our hundreds of cast and crew who have different beliefs (or no belief at all) than we do, we will work with anyone on our show who helps us portray or honor the authentic Jesus. We ask that audiences let the show speak for itself and focus on the message, not the messenger, because we’ll always let you down.”

Conservative news outlet The Daily Wire (founded in 2015 by political commentator Ben Shapiro) published a story Tuesday detailing the exchange and saying “The Chosen” defended the flag’s appearance.

Not everyone at The Daily Wire appreciated the story.

“This is a disgusting piece, and I’m sorry we ran it,” Daily Wire co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing said on Twitter. “A show like The Chosen has 100+ employees. One of them brought a pride flag to work. That sucks, but it’s hardly the fault of the show.”

Boreing condemned the article’s “’purity death spiral’ politics” and demand for perfection.

“Hold people and organizations accountable, yes. Hold them to impossible standards and require death for their sins? I think actual Jesus had something to say about that.”

the chosen prison
Jonathan Roumie, second from right, portrays Jesus Christ in the series “The Chosen.” (Photo courtesy of “The Chosen”)

But Root took to Twitter again Tuesday, comparing the inclusion of the flag in the video to the pro-LGBTQ branding of Target and Bud Light. He called Christians to boycott the show, saying “the promotion of the Pride Flag is never acceptable in church or any form of ministry.” He also asked for prayers for the show’s team “so they may understand the error of their ways.”

Jenkins has long defended the show’s decision to hire people of all faiths. He said in an interview in 2021 that the show “comes from an evangelical perspective” and that a Catholic priest, Messianic Jewish rabbi and evangelical scholar offer feedback on the scripts.

While Jenkins said at the time that most of the show’s viewers are Christian, he added that “over half of our cast and crew are agnostic or not of a particular faith background. And we’re hearing every day from thousands of people who are agnostic, atheist or coming at it from another perspective who are just watching it as a normal show.”

Giavani Cairo, who portrays the disciple Thaddeus on the show, championed the approach in his own tweet. “Anyone who is going to go at one of our family members for something like this, is no fan of ours,” he wrote. “They can close the door on the way out ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ We stand with our brother.” He ended his tweet with pride flag and heart emojis. 

The show’s producers make clear that “The Chosen” ultimately points to the Bible as the final authority on the life of Jesus and his disciples.

“(A)ll biblical and historical context and any artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures,” the introduction to the show’s pilot episode says. “Viewers are encouraged to read the gospels.”

Kathryn Post is a reporter for Religion News Service based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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18 Responses

  1. Let me ask a question I know what the bible says about homosexuality did Jesus ever say anything about it

    1. It depends on what you believe about the Trinity and inspiration. If what scripture says on the matter originates from God through the Spirit, it doesn’t matter if the gospels address it directly or not. There’s no conflict between Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

      1. Loren M,

        “It depends on what you believe about the Trinity and inspiration.” “it doesn’t matter if the gospels address it directly or not.”

        How so? Jesus directly addresses it in the definition of a marriage, and it does not include same sex couples. Any sexual activity outside of that definition is a violation of the adultery commandment.

    2. Jesus said:

      “26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

      Luke 17:26-30

      Remember ROYGBIV flying high in the sky during Noah’s day?

    1. Christopher H,

      How about we read and watch/read the reactions of the actors on the show, in response to this being brought to light?

  2. I loved chosen and am sorry that they have chosen to fly the the rainbow flag.we are to love one another but not the sin God created man for women and women for man . It also says that good will be me bad and bad will become good.the show is representing the live of Christ. That is not representing Christ are Lord.so I will not be watching it any more. So sad.

    1. Terri,

      I wonder if the Christians on the right will take the same decision on Trump, as you and others have made with Target, Disney and now The Chosen.

      It is pretty well known that the Trump campaign sells gay pride Trump hats and shirts, just like Target does. Like Disney, he hosts gay pride events at his hotel Mara Lago. And Trump, in Bud Lite fashion, also promotes trans people such as Kaitlyn Jenner.

      Donald Trump’s Pride Merchandise Resurfaces Amid Target, Bud Light Backlash
      BY ALEKS PHILLIPS ON 5/30/23 AT 10:50 AM EDT

      https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-pride-merchandise-target-bud-light-backlash-1803353

      Scenes from a celebration of the same-sex marriage law — at Mar-a-Lago
      “We are fighting for the gay community, and we are fighting and fighting hard,” Donald Trump told a Log Cabin Republicans gala.
      By MERIDITH MCGRAW
      12/16/2022 05:58 PM EST

      https://www.politico.com/news/2022/12/16/celebration-same-sex-marriage-mar-a-lago-00074441

      What do you think the chances are that these people boycotting Bud Lite, Target and Disney will also begin boycotting Donald Trump?

      Or is all this just another example of Christian hypocrisy?

  3. I believe this was done on purpose! We must stand firm on Gods word, hopefully those who stand behind that false rainbow will come to know Christ and Gods true rainbow !

  4. You are watching a show based on 5% of the Bible account:

    ““I would say, probably 95 percent of the content of the show isn’t directly from Scripture. People call it a Bible show; they’ll call it a Jesus show. And I’m OK with that, but I’ll say, ‘This is actually — I mean the Bible is for sure the primary source of truth and inspiration for the show, but there’s a ton of content that isn’t actually directly from Scripture,’” Jenkins said.”.

    That means the rest is created from the fallen hearts/minds of men and women, not based in God’s truth. Always read the “small print”.

  5. Over a flag, we as Christians have to do better than this. Boycotts and throwing verses at situations, it’s not being biblically righteous it’s being self righteous.

    The conservative side of the house screams about the cancel culture of the left and now we are guilty of the same thing. A show that’s actually making a difference in the world and Chick-Fil-a has gone woke. This is ridiculous, there are actual important issues currently going on in the world that need our prayers and support. #JesusJuke

    If you look at Jon Root’s social media he’s a Christian Nationalist type, not someone I would want leading a charge for the “church”.

  6. As a Worship Pastor, I have led worship in a few venues that had house sound and stage crew members. Most of them weren’t Jesus followers. To employ a truly professional crew of like minded Jesus followers would be nearly impossible I would say. Drawing attention to this is “straining a gnat but swallowing a camel,” not to mention it makes the true faith community seem petty and ridiculous.

  7. I haven’t watched the show, but I will now, knowing they don’t discriminate in their hiring practices. Also, for evangelical Christians who want to boycott this show–doesn’t that do more harm than good? It seems petty, childish, and legalistic, imho. Why would anyone want to join that stream of Christianity?

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