‘The Chosen’: Coming soon to a US prison near you

by | May 3, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — “The Chosen,” the wildly popular TV series based on the life of Jesus and his followers, will soon be available to prisoners at more than 300 correctional institutions in 49 states, courtesy of Prison Fellowship, a criminal justice reform organization founded by evangelical Christians.Katherine Warnock, head of original content for “The Chosen,” told Religion News Service in an email that the partnership provides the show a new venue in which to introduce “the authentic Jesus to the world” across faiths, party lines and social status.
The show, produced, written and directed by evangelical filmmaker Dallas Jenkins, is the first multiseason drama to hit Floodlight, a streaming platform launched by Prison Fellowship three years ago as a way to get free, faith-based inspirational content into prisons at the height of the pandemic.
Still from a Prison Fellowship Floodlight promotional video. Screen grab
Floodlight also pipes other Christian programming into prisons, including worship services from the global megachurch network Hillsong, the Christian 12-step program Celebrate Recovery and from Alpha, a British evangelistic organization known for its 11-week Christian fundamentals course.
James J. Ackerman, president and CEO of Prison Fellowship, told RNS that “The Chosen” is the type of program Floodlight was designed for. 
“I think ‘The Chosen’ is the most accessible video presentation of the gospel I’ve ever seen. Anybody can watch ‘The Chosen’ and begin to understand who Jesus was, why Jesus came and what Jesus did. Because video is the broadest means by which people receive content, it is a great evangelistic tool.”
Katherine Warnock. Photo courtesy of “The Chosen”
The new partnership was initiated in January by the Come and See Foundation, a nonprofit founded last fall to generate charitable support for “The Chosen.” Come and See Foundation connected with Prison Fellowship via mutual acquaintances at Stand Together, the anti-poverty foundation founded by Charles Koch (of Koch brother fame).
Both the effort and the message of Jesus itself recognize the worth of those who are incarcerated, according to Warnock. “Culturally there is a stigma that surrounds incarcerated men and women — a stigma that communicates that they are l …

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