Convention has it that the one thing you must not discuss with the father of the girl you’re dating is politics; with the mother, religion, but even convention has its moments.

We dance around religion and politics because you will not find more passionate, easily ignitable people on earth than those who hold a belief deeply. Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings is finding this out, to his grief and financial loss, as his actions cause brand believers to lose the faith.

After springing some spectacular pricing “options” on customers, this past Sunday Hastings made the widely panned decision to split Netflix in two, leaving Netflix proper to handle the Internet-streaming service and assigning the new company, Qwikster, the DVD-by-mail business.

Sure, it’s a questionable business decision to begin with, but the true heresy lies not in dividing the company, but in breaking down the lines of communication between the Netflix brand and the brand’s many faithful disciples.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 17,000 former Netflix believers fired back in the Netflix blog’s comments section, faith obviously shaken to the foundation at this unexpected and largely unexplained change. Netflix users are feeling unheard and uncared for, their thoughts and opinions bounding back on them like so many unanswered prayers. This has also showed up in Brand Keys Loyalty numbers. At the beginning of the year, Netflix had a comparable brand strength – an ability to delight – of 99%. Not bad, huh? After the change in pricing policies that moved down to 93%. As of today? 87%.

Any beloved brand has a differentiating feature, a hook that gives brand fanatics something to hang their hats on, and Netflix’s was customer care and responsiveness. This breach of faith is potentially damning to Netflix. Because the world is full of things for consumers to believe in, and in the battle for consumer devotion, no brand is sacred.