Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Wanna Stick it to Showtime?

Posted on 09/29/2004 2:52:49 PM PDT by TheSchnays

Remember that awful TV miniseries that trashed President Reagan? Ever wished you could send a message to the network that aired it -- Showtime?

Well, here's your chance.

This Sunday, Oct. 3, Showtime will air the next-to-last episode of its reality series "American Candidate." The show is like "Survivor" meets a presidential election, with "candidates" delivering speeches and developing a platform and trying to survive to the next round. Showtime had loaded the cast -- 10 at the beginning -- with every shade of liberal, and guess what? The one true conservative is still in the hunt for the top prize.

His name is Park Gillespie, and you can make sure he wins by voting this Sunday, Oct. 3, from 9:45 EDP/PDT to 11:45 EDT/PDT. And you don't even have to watch the show to do it. You can simply visit one of two Web sites -- or to find out the toll-free number to call.

You can also help get the word out by copying this post and adding it to any blog you think might turn out the conservative vote.

In the meantime, to learn more about Park, here's a story that ran on the Focus on the Family Web site As you'll see, this guy is the real conservative deal.


FAKE ELECTION, REAL VALUES by Karla Dial, contributing editor

In this final part of our series on evangelicals and Election 2004, you'll meet Park Gillespie, a contestant on a politically themed cable-TV reality show who is boldly taking the Gospel where it most definitely has never gone before.

No one can accuse Park Gillespie of preaching to the choir.

He is, after all, an unapologetic born-again Christian who takes to the national stage each week on the Showtime cable network. That's right — the same Showtime cable network that graphically glorifies homosexuality in original series such as "Queer as Folk" and "The L Word."

Gillespie is on one of the network's original series, too: A reality show called "American Candidate," which airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT and PDT. He's one of 10 more or less everyday Americans put through the paces of a presidential campaign — stump speeches, rallies, 60-second TV spots and all. None are really seeking the highest office in the land, of course; it's all part of the game. But the views the "candidates" express during each hour-long episode — about abortion and same-sex marriage and the war in Iraq and who's best suited to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court — those couldn't be more real.

And Gillespie's probably couldn't seem more radical to Showtime's target demographic of liberal-minded urbanites, or to his fellow contestants — a pair of gay activists, a PETA official (with a transsexual "campaign manager") and a consultant to the anti-Bush Web site among them. That's because this 38-year-old father of four, a science and social studies teacher from Stanley, N.C., makes no bones about his love for Jesus Christ — or his pro-life, pro-family moorings.

He views his time on what he calls "arguably the most godless network on television" as a missionary journey — and one that's yielded some surprising results. Not only is he one of the four cast members still in the hunt for the top prize — $200,000 and a chance to deliver a prime-time speech to America — but he's also had the opportunity to debate people like Chrissy Gephardt, Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt's lesbian-activist daughter, on the evils of partial-birth abortion.

"In 1997, my daughter Katie was born — she was five weeks premature," Gillespie began at the conclusion of "American Candidate's" premiere episode. "When the doctor placed her next to me, she was crying very hard. I called her name, and before her eyes opened she stopped crying and looked right at me. She knew who I was; she was a fully formed, fully functioning person before she came to term.

"As a person who says you value all people's lives," he added, "how can you square that with a belief that partial-birth abortion is a fundamentally protected, constitutional right? Should I or my wife have the right to essentially kill a living, breathing human person?"

"I think it's something . . . only a woman and her doctor can make that decision," Gephardt responded. "I don't think the government can say, 'You cannot have a late-term abortion' and interfere with people's rights."

"Was my daughter, five weeks before she was born, a person?" Gillespie then asked.


"Yet my wife should have had the right to take her life?"

"Well, I think that's a decision that should be left up to her and her doctor."

"Is it government's first job," Gillespie countered, "to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"

"Yes," Gephardt said, "but I think that there are many personal decisions that the government shouldn't be involved in."

"Thank you."

And with that, Gillespie cast the vote that removed Gephardt — the only "name" in the cast and the producers' clear favorite — from the show.

CitizenLink talked in depth with Gillespie recently, as he prepared to film the show's final episodes, to find out what he hopes the impact of his foray into the electronic lion's den will be.

Q. You are pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-defense. How did you ever end up on this show, on this network?

A. I don't think I fit the typical conservative bill — that we're all just rich white people who don't care about the poor or social issues. I think (the producers) were intrigued by a guy who holds these very conservative evangelical positions, yet is passionate about racial reconciliation and risked his life in a minefield in Sudan (as a missionary) and has been to China. That freaked them out. They think it's inconsistent. But it's totally consistent with a Christian worldview, and that's why it doesn't make sense to them.

Q. Do you think they're surprised that you've made it this far?

A. Oh, my gosh, are you kidding me? This thing was set up for a conservative to be gone early. I think they're just stupefied that I've gotten as far as I've gotten. There was a moderately conservative guy that I really liked a lot, but I was the only evangelical conservative on the show, and one of only two Republicans.

Despite the obvious bias of the producers and whatnot, I'm grateful to have the opportunity to be on the show, and I want to shine as best I can and speak forcefully.

Q. Do you consider your participation to be a form of political activism?

A. For me, the most important thing is the eternal truth stuff. We've got to engage the culture. Showtime is not your Christian territory. "The Reagans" was a travesty. "The L Word," which is about lesbians, "Queer as Folk" — a lot of these shows have a real serious bent in a particular way that we as Christians can't agree with, but who's going to speak truth to them?

We're not called to live in a saltshaker. This is serious truth. What is it to be salt, to be light, to be in the world? To render unto Caesar? Once we've done the thinking, it's time to act. Christians are really bad for loving our comfort zone and feeling warm and fuzzy and not getting involved. We're dropping the ball in a lot of areas. What I'd love to do is tell the church we're doing some things really well, but we can do better. We've been redeemed, but we have to actively and intensively address these issues, because it's easy to fall back into a rut.

Think about the result if we would just get very serious about our faith and live it in the home and in the culture. We have a limited amount of time and space and energy to make this happen, because life really is just a vapor, and we're going to be out of here in such a little while. That debate with Chrissy Gephardt . . . it just flowed. I went back to my hotel room and just wept. I really felt that the Holy One, for a limited amount of time, was able to use an idiot to speak truth very clearly. I want more of that. I want my kids to have that passion.

Q. Talk a little more about that debate. You managed very deftly one of the most difficult things to do as a Christian activist — to be loving and winsome with people who are completely opposed to everything you stand for. How do you oppose people's views while still displaying the love of Christ?

A. Chrissy Gephardt is a lesbian activist who is radically pro-death, and yet we like each other. That's not supposed to happen. I didn't compromise my beliefs, either. But Chrissy and I have a lot in common. She's been all over the Ozarks, where my family is from — places no one in that entire state would know about. And I was able to feel a genuine concern and love for her and all the other contestants.

If the Creator can do that for Hitler, why can I not do that for a very loving and kind person who just happens to be wrong? Am I better than Him that I can pass judgment on her? Chrissy Gephardt called Jim Dobson the most dangerous man in America, and here I am a supporter of Focus on the Family. And yet I'm able to realize that that's not a personal slam on me.

Q. Has that been your best experience on the show — that debate with her?

A. It was certainly good, but the biggest privilege was having the opportunity to witness to so many of the crew members. I had a couple of pretty deep conversations with people, getting some seeds planted there. I was able to pass out seven or eight copies of "The Case for Faith," 10 or so copies of "More than A Carpenter," and just tell them this is why we believe what we believe. I've already heard back from one of the field producers, who I had a chance to witness to for hours. A lot of people would say, "You're from Hollywood, you're evil." But you can't be that way. He's a person.

Q. Let's talk about your family. You have four daughters, but you were traveling the country for 35 days straight this summer shooting. How have you managed the time away from them and your wife?

A. I'm married to a goddess, that's what it is. I'm a single-A ballplayer in the pros. My wife insisted that I do the show, and said, "This is obviously God's will for your life, and we'll make do." My parents are here, and her parents are here, and our church -- she was able to not pull every hair out of her head. I called her once from D.C. complaining and said, "Get me out of here." And she said, "No, we can't be that selfish when you've got a mission to fulfill." You can't underestimate the power of a committed spouse. She is the most balanced woman I know.

Q. What are your plans, win or lose, once the show is over?

A. I have no clue. I love my kids that I teach, but I think 15 years in the public school system is coming to an end. I'm just going to trust in Him, and we'll see what happens.

Q. How do you think this experience has changed you?

It's made me far more sober-minded than I was in the past. We have a country that is quickly becoming very post-modernistic in its thinking. If we don't get busy as a church, quick, we're in big trouble. We'll let something beautiful that our Founders gave us rot on the vine, and that concerns me.

Do I want to be forced to teach that homosexual marriage is on par with heterosexual marriage? That's what we're facing. Why do we sit back and let bad ideas take this country over? Why do we want to put generations we don't even know yet under the tutelage of these ideas? Go credibly to the arena with the biggest sword you can get your hands on. We have a power that can move mountains, and yet we would squander that, we would act like it's too hard, we would sit on the sidelines and let people die because we're too lazy to speak the truth or live it?

We need not let this wonderful idea die. We are a nation of idealists, and we need to support those right ideas properly. Let's do it with a smile and twinkle in our eye, knowing this too shall pass.

Q. What do you hope to accomplish, ultimately, with your time in the spotlight on "American Candidate"?

A. I hope to encourage Christians to become more actively involved in the world, that they will realize it's worth the risk of getting out there. Even more than that, to get involved in the church by engaging the culture. Truth, by its very nature, is offensive. It's exclusive and narrowly defined. So we've got to be careful how we carry it, so the message doesn't get lost in the messenger.

Q. And what advice would you give people to make sure that doesn't happen?

A. If you're a believer, be a believer. Have that time with the Lord every day. Praise and worship. Ask Him what you can do. Get informed and vote. Everyone can be involved in check-writing, in phone calling. Everybody knows somebody they can influence. So do what you can do practically.

But, sometimes Christians are focusing solely on politics, and you need to understand this is just one of the ministries He's given you. He's called you to be actively involved in the culture, actively involved in the family and actively involved in your church. He's faithful. If you ask Him, He'll show you. But be ready to receive. Whatever it is, don't be afraid of that. He will take it and use it for His glory.

TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: americancandidate; parkgillespie; showtime

1 posted on 09/29/2004 2:52:49 PM PDT by TheSchnays
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: TheSchnays

Did he make it to the final - I know it was down to 3.

2 posted on 09/29/2004 2:57:45 PM PDT by xcullen (DC Conservative)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheSchnays

ping for later read.

3 posted on 09/29/2004 2:59:44 PM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheSchnays

Wow...I literally got goosebumps just sitting here at the computer while reading his exchange with Dicky Gephardt's spawn...pretty inspiring guy.

4 posted on 09/29/2004 3:03:48 PM PDT by sam_whiskey (Peace through Strength)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: xcullen

The official company line is "He remains the only conservative voice in the competition." And he's been allowed to advertise for votes for the final episode. You do the math ... :)

5 posted on 09/29/2004 3:12:26 PM PDT by TheSchnays
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: TheSchnays

God bless Park Gillespie. What an inspiration. You see all that he is doing and you get the feeling that you just aren't holding up your end. I will be voting for him, to be sure.

Best Regards


6 posted on 09/29/2004 3:12:55 PM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheSchnays

ping for later

7 posted on 09/29/2004 3:30:45 PM PDT by ocr1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TheSchnays

SHOWTIME is its own worst enemy. It canceled the exceptional "Odyssey 5" to replace it with the execrable "Queer Like Folk." With management like that, who needs enemies?

8 posted on 09/29/2004 3:33:56 PM PDT by pabianice
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson