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537: The War Over Christmas Movies & Gen Z’s Mental Health with Josh Packard

The Hallmark Channel is now producing Christmas movies with LGBTQ characters and relationships leading the network’s former CEO to launch a new holiday movie channel with straight relationships only. The Holy Post crew discusses the role of representation in entertainment, and why a number of recent LGBTQ-centric movies have bombed at the box office.

Then, Al Mohler attacked David French for not opposing civil same-sex marriages leading Phil to ask whether Mohler is more interested in defending Christianity or just conservatism. And Skye talks with Josh Packard from Springtide Research about the mental health of Gen Z. New data says young people who engage in spiritual practices experience greater mental health, but they’re not the practices most congregations promote.

Patreon Bonus: Christian Asks...How do we practically live out holiness? -

New Holy Post merch -

News Segment

00:00 - Intro and updates

5:19 - The war over Christmas movies

34:42 - David French and Al Mohler

Interview with Josh Packard

Springtide Research Institute: Gen Z and Mental Health -

51:31 - Interview intro

52:35 - Big takeaways from recent findings

55:12 - Creating healthy environments

58:33 - Gen Z and spiritual practices

1:05:30 - Safety in faith communities

1:08:37 - Challenge vs despair

1:11:32 - Loneliness and connection

1:23:53 - Further resources

1:26:45 - Credits

Other links mentioned:

“The parable of David French” by R. Albert Mohler Jr. (World) -

“Candace Cameron Bure Wants to Put Christianity Back in Christmas Moves” (Wall Street Journal) -

Holy Post Episode 529: Rapture Anxiety & Why Analog Discipleship is Better with Jay Y. Kim -

Holy Post website:


As a straight white woman I would like to say that with every fiber of my creative being I would love to see more diverse movies. I'm at that point with Hallmark movies where the same formulaic love story is so utterly boring I don’t want to watch any. There are memes that make fun of the trope that a flawlessly beautiful business woman goes home to some town called Mistletoe Junction or some nonsense and falls in love with the hunky man at the town Christmas festival and then they end up getting married and wear flannel forever. I would love to see things shaken up by having a gay, lesbian, or bi couple fall in love. I want…


I just saw Bros and had never heard of the Disney movie. My gay son also has seen Bros and also has never heard of the Disney movie. Bros is just a not so great movie.


Dec 04, 2022

Noticed, Named, and Known is probably my best takeaway from the conversation with Josh Packard. Something we can all work on.


I appreciated what Christian said about empathy. For me too, the great strength of film is in building empathy with other human beings. Empathy is important even if I am not the same as them in some part of my makeup or beliefs--and actually, probably ESPECIALLY then.. Film used in this way makes me a better, more loving human. It helps me love my neighbor. But just because a film has represenation doesn't make it GOOD. We still have to assess the quality of the media artifact (haven't seen either Bros or Strange World, so I can't comment on that). I know Hollywood has to make money, but I kind of hate that everything is built around that rather tha…

Replying to

Beautifully said.


Re: Representation in movies. Skye suggests that white people can identify with black characters but that straight people can't identify with gay characters. I'm old enough to remember a time where black people were not leading characters in films, and any film with a black main character was described as a "niche" film that did not have "wide appeal" and did not make as much money as those films with a white lead. But over time we've been more exposed to it and made it mainstream, and now films like Black Panther can dominate the box office. What if the reason we can't identify with gay characters is because they haven't had enough representation? And further representation in film will…

Jen Manlief
Jen Manlief
Dec 06, 2022
Replying to

Also, Skye seemed to really believe that movies only succeed if people can see themselves as the "hero" or main character, but I am guessing that is because he is a cis/het male. Literally ALL of the rest of us have to identify with people unlike us, and that we can never be. It's not that hard to have empathy and connect to another person's experience. However, cis/het males seem to have the hardest time with this because they have been centered in stories for so long that they haven't really ever had to.

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