Skip to comments.The Gospel according to "Glee"? (live-and-let-live attitude toward sexual politics & religion)
Posted on 02/26/2012 8:21:30 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Does high school musical sitcom "Glee" go out of its way to be hostile to Christianity? Some may think so, given the matter-of-fact treatment in so many episodes of teen drinking, drug use, sex, pregnancy, and its acceptance of same-gendered relationships. As a progressive Christian and fan of the show, even I wonder at times if they are pushing the envelope a bit too far. I've often commented that I'm not sure younger teens should be watching the show. It is, after all, an exaggerated, satirical look at how adults view adolescence. I'd be a little worried if some middle-schooler watching the series sits there thinking, "Oh, so that's what high school is going to be like!"
Several episodes have dealt with the issue of faith (most famously the season two episode "Grilled Cheezus"), but most often the Christian characters are depicted as either hypocrites or espousing a sort of "believe whatever you want but believe something" sort of attitude. In fact, the writers depict the few nominally Christian characters as perfect examples of moralistic therapeutic deisman understanding of the Christian faith that maintains that God is only important to life when we need something from "him" and faith is ultimately only necessary to the degree to which it helps us live happily and achieve our personal goals. All of this to say that "Glee's" depiction of Christianity up to now has been somewhat realistic perhaps, but definitely not flattering.
Then comes along the February 14 episode "Heart." It's Valentine's Day and the McKinley High Christian club, the God Squad, has decided to raise money by performing singing telegrams throughout the school. Meanwhile, girlfriends Brittany and Santana are called into the principal's office for a minor public display of affection in the hallway. When Santana argues that straight students kiss in the hallways all the time, the principal admits to the double standard but says he's responding to complaints from several conservative students. Unwilling to let this injustice stand, Santana pays The God Squad to perform a singing love letter to her girlfriend.
But will they do it? Everyone seems to be on board except the newest God Squad member, Joe Hart. He's just not sure it's the right thing to do. But by the end of the episode, Joe has prayed over the question and concludes they will sing for Santana because "Love is love." This turn of the plot came to me as a bit of a surprise. I'm used to seeing conservative and evangelical Christian values depicted on TV and in films. But for once here was someone espousing the inclusive justice-oriented values of progressive Christianity. I wonder if any of the teen audience that night figured this was just some pie-in-the-sky "Glee" plot twist or if they understood that there really are Christians who would agree with Joe's realization that compassionate love is more important than the constant debate over what people do in their bedrooms.
Recent polls would indicate that "Glee's" live-and-let-live attitude toward sexual politics and religion are in line with much of the population in the United States. Attitudes in this country continue to shift toward greater inclusion of those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered. Gallup polls in 2011 show that, for the first time, a majority of Americans favor legalizing gay marriage. The United States military has done away with its policy of "don't ask, don't tell," and the Defense of Marriage Act looks to be the next piece to fall in the wall that has long kept LGBT persons at arm's length in U.S. culture.
Additionally, polls of persons under the age of 30 show that the majority support greater inclusion of LGBT persons. These findings echo those indicating that many young people (including teens who identify as Christian) view the church negatively because of its seemingly hostile attitude toward persons of minority sexual orientations. Relatedly, recent studies by The Barna Group indicate that youth who had once been active in church but are no longer often point to the church's overly simplistic or judgmental view of sexuality as a main reason for their disconnect.
These changes suggest a cultural (if not theological) shift amongst youth that will represent a real and perhaps painful struggle for many in both mainline and conservative churches who do not believe that openness on the issue of sexuality is compatible with the Christian faith. However, it would seem clear that the church risks irrelevance if we fail to engage in honest and open dialogue with youth on these issues. In a way, the Gospel according to "Glee" simply mirrors the movement of Christian youth in this country away from seeing religion as a set of strict moral rules (do's and don'ts) that separate people and toward a dynamic faith centered in justice, inclusion, and a way of celebrating the dignity and worth of all God's people. If this is the wave of the future for Christianity in the United States, I imagine that more groups like "Glee's" God Squad will find themselves perfectly at home within our country's progressive congregations.
-- Rev. Brian Kirk is an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and currently serves an inner-city church in St. Louis, Missouri. He also teaches as adjunct faculty at Eden Theological Seminary, and co-writes the blog rethinkingyouthministry.com.
My daughter, raised RIGHT, stopped watching the thing because her internal sensors said that despite the wonderful music, they were Just Attacking Our Values as Christians. You KNOW that thirty years ago, it would just be about the music.
What the hell is a "progressive" "Christian"? FAKE CHRISTIAN ALERT; that's all.
Glee has no live and let live attitude. It is all gay Kurt all the time. As phoney as the leftist gay agenda “progressive Christian” minister author of this article.
They often have characters bashing Christians and “bible thumpers”.
Nothing tolerant about that perverted show
God loves us all...so much that instead of letting us be damned to hell because of our sins, he sent part of Himself to say “Hey, you should TRY not to sin and when you fall short I will pay the bill...if you accept Me as payment. Incidentally, if you try to get My children to sin by confusing them, it would be better for you to be thrown into the ocean with a millstone tied around your neck than what awaits you upon your Judgement.” Making sin “inclusive” just means more people get caught in it.
Not having a television, much less cable, I have never seen this show, but I have read snippets about it on the Internet, and I just assumed it was a homo-propagnda program.
I see I am right.
Basically, the gay writers hijacked the show for their agenda.
RE: It is all gay Kurt all the time.
There used to be a time when it was called : “The love that dares not speak its name”
Now, it’s the love that won’t shut the F up.
But the Glee crowd is actually as cruel to Christians who don’t believe in gay marriage as people used to be to gays in school.
There is no societal improvement. Just a different group swirling opponents’ faces in the verbal toilet bowl.
Glee has become an unwatchable Hollyweird agenda show. The music is still good, but I am concerned with the nonstop Hollyweird agenda that has taken control.
Initially, there was only Kurt, “the gay kid”. Then, after several years, they brought in Blain to be Kurt’s boyfriend. Now, high school’s most popular show had it’s first gay couple. Then, like rapidly falling dominoes, Britany and Santana suddenly became the firt lesbian couple to join the first gay couple and now, the former football player who was throwing the slurpees in the glee club members’ faces announces to Kurt that HE’S gay!!
What the heck is in the drinking water at this soundstage high school? Because the agenda goes on. Mr Schu announced on one recent episode that by 2030 Spanish will be the most common language in the world and assigned the kids to sing songs in Spanish. I live in S. Texas and hear enough Spanish and Spanish music everyday, I DON’T want to hear it on an American made TV show. So I left the room because my wife still watches this piece of Hollyweird trash! When I tune in a show on TV, I want to hear English. I’m tired of feling like a foreigner in my own country!!
I am also tired of seeing Hollyweird’s perverted agenda overtaking EVERY aspect of our lives and Glee is off my list. Between the growing cadre of gay couples in this perverted high school, the weekly sex romps between at least 2 of the “kids” and the rest, what was once an interesting concept (MTV with a plot!) has become perverted, agenda garbage.
The sooner this show is cancelled, the more . . . glee there will be.
“As a progressive Christian and fan of the show”
Oxy moron alert. I can call myself the Queen of England, but it doesn’t make it so. The show is vile and no true Christian could be a fan.
I was a HUGE fan of the old “FAME!”, it was almost a story of my life, then.
I turned in to Glee, ONCE, and was so turned off by the All-Gay-All-The-Time B.S., that I turned it off in minutes, and have never watched it, again.
The Barna Group also reports that 85% of children from highly active evangelical homes will NOT be active in their faith 2 years after graduating from high school. On the other hand, 95% of homeschools will be active.
Could it be that attending godless, secular, and socialist-entitlement schools destroys faith? Hm?
Mindless pap from a “progressive Christian”.
For the slow, I purposely made “oxymoron” two words. I also didn’t make it through one episode without turning it off.
Basically, the gay writers hijacked the show for their agenda.
And they didn’t have to. “Frasier” had gay writers, actors, producers, and their priority was great comedy, first and foremost.