Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
The New York Times reports this week that gays and lesbians are now commonplace on hit television shows. But Christians are coming out of the closet and onto our television sets, too.
“Glee” may feature a gay couple (Kurt and Blaine), a lesbian couple (Santana and Brittany), and a transgender character (Unique), but it also includes the God Squad, a group of Christians that meet in school and struggle with the demands of their faith.
On the first season of “The Glee Project,” a reality show that trolls for talent to feature on “Glee,” actor Samuel Larsen won a seven-episode role in part because of a tattoo on his chest quoting from Psalm 18 (“I will love thee O Lord my strength”). Larsen, who also sports long dreadlocks, obviously has that elusive “it” factor, but one reason he won "The Glee Project" was that "Glee" executive producer Ryan Murphy wanted to feature a Christian character on the show.
Larsen’s character, transfer student (and former home schooler) Joe Hart, debuted on the "Heart" episode on Valentine’s Day, and since then he has been the “Christian guy” - aka "Teen Jesus" - at William McKinley High.
In that episode, the God Squad raises money by performing singing telegrams at $10 a pop, but when Santana (Naya Rivera) asks them to sing for her girlfriend Brittany (Heather Morris), Joe balks and a discussion about the Bible and homosexuality ensues.
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Mercedes (Amber Riley) calculates that since “one out of every ten people are gay . . . one of the twelve apostles might have been gay.” Sam (Chord Overstreet) observes that “the Bible says it’s an abomination for a man to lay with another man,” prompting Quinn (Dianna Agron) go ask, “Do you know what else the Bible says is an abomination? Eating lobster, planting different crops in the same field, giving somebody a proud look. Not an abomination? Slavery. Jesus never said anything about gay people. That’s a fact.”
Matt Philbin at the Media Research Center cites this episode as an example of the liberal “crusade against faith,” characterizing “Glee” for “attacking the Bible while pushing the gay agenda.
I have a different take. I think it’s about time that Christian characters are showing up on television shows. I think it’s great that these characters are portrayed as flesh-and-blood people who struggle with their faith like the young Christians I know who struggle with theirs. And I think it’s amazing that characters on one of the most popular shows on television are actually discussing the Bible!
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In a more recent episode, called “Dance With Somebody,” Joe gets into another conversation about how to live as a Christian. He has fallen for Quinn while helping her rehabilitate from a car crash, and he’s trying to reconcile what his teenage body says about sex with what the Bible says.
In the boys locker room, Sam tells him to go for it, arguing that you can be a good Christian and a sexual person at the same time. But Joe isn’t so sure he should give in to temptation. And when he hints in a conversation with Quinn that he would give up his Christian faith in order to be her boyfriend, Quinn tells him no. “It’s nice knowing there’s something out there that can’t be lost," she says.
I’m not saying Joe is everybody’s idea of a good Christian. But out there in the real world in actual U.S. high schools there are all sorts of people who fall somewhere between chaste born-again Christians who see holding hands as a gateway drug to illicit sex and frisky secular humanists who spend more time hooking up than doing their homework.
Let's see more of Joe Hart on "Glee," I say, and more of real Christians (and their struggles) on network television.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
Say it with me class: "NO ONE knows what happens when we die and ANYONE claiming such knowledge is a liar who probably wants your money."
This is what's wrong with our country today.........talking trash.........I don't have to give a nichol to believe.....I don't hurt anyone to believe......unlike the rest. Evil is evil..........
Why would you give your money to those who want? you should it give it to those in need!
@sbssue1: Truth really does hurt you, doesn't it? Bob is right, you are wrong. No-one can possibly know. Suck it up, the world is becoming more open-minded and christards are not going to change that. Your ignorance (which is evident throughout your posts) is evident. Imaginary friends are for little children...time to grow up!
Well actually it does hurt to base your life around fantasies because depending on the type of person you are you may acquire an appreciable amount of political power then decide that everyone should believe in your fantasy too. For example George Bush believed that his god told him that invading Iraq was the right thing to do. In the christian bible there are numerous examples of people "hearing" the commands of their god to slay men, women, children and animals.
Religion is a disgusting, filthy disease of the mind.
I never mind running into Christians who strive to live up to the bible. There is some odd stuff in there, but if people truly try to live by Christ's word they tend to be pretty agreeable. Now, unfortunately, most people I meet are people who claim to be working for Christ and have never read the bible or read it through a very selective filter. All this hate and war mongering on the right? That's not what Christ wanted.
Maybe it's not what your christ wanted but his daddy sure is one blood thirsty mofo
i don't want to see a christian living up to the bible...it's a book that was written with an agenda, re-written every century, or so, to suit the needs of the religion that re-wrote it, and misinterpreted most of the time. No two leaders of christian faith agree completely on anything that book says.
I want christians to live according to the teachings of their christ. You don't see many of THEM at all...
What you will not find on TV shows:
ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS–
"Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.
o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:
“ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice. "
"Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8
See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions are supposed to obey the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.
And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-s-ex unions not same-s-ex marriages.
From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual masturbation caused by one or more complex se-xual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.
Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male
What are you trying to convey? I am lost :(
Basically, Newcomer, that science shows gender orientation is not a choice. I can speak for myself, I certainly did not choose to be hetero.
Ryan Murphy writing a Christian character? Why not have Hitch do it. Better yet, let's have David Duke write in an African American character on his next network pitch and call it even.
Let's lower the standards until no one feels excluded. Then we'll have utopia!
It would be difficult to get much lower! The standards and high self esteem are in the gutter now. I'm afraid it's beyond the point of no return............
Really. You might want to have someone who can actually present a solid defense of Christianity. He can't write either.
Atheists are like a fishermen who have been competing to hit the ocean floor using their long poles but failed. They decided to connect all their long poles altogether and made the last attempt but fail yet. All of them went back to the shore frustrated, telling all people that "ocean like beer in a bar, is bottomless".
Oh!!! Good one! lol :-(
No, most atheists, unable to reach the bottom with poles, want to explore further, with different techniques, to find out what IS really down there. Religious believers, unable to find the bottom with poles, conclude that there must be incredible riches beyond the water, but that those riches are only attainable to those who believe as they do. Neither group has any proof, but the atheists want to keep looking for the answer, while the religious simply make up a story to explain what they don't know and don't want to know.
Thinkingman, excellent response!
Yup, thinkingman nailed it.
Thinkingman...you're my hero! :)
The irony is that if you are watching "Glee" you are pretty much gay.
I'm sorry, I do not see anything ironic here. Irony: the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning.
Glee was good years back, now it has revolved into nothing but trash. I turn it off immediately now because it just turns my stomach. Too bad because there is a lot of talent going to waste......why would these talented people put themselves in this situation?????Greed, I guess......all for the money, they too should have morals.
My daughters would disagree with you. My oldest is heading to her Senior Prom today, very girly, with her boyfriend of about 18 months (first and only!), who is definitely very manly. Kinda goofy looking, but definitely manly.
TV and all those crazies out in Hollywood dictate what and how we should live. I think the Feds need to look into their motives and consider them terrorists. They do a lot of harm to our country also. Can't believe the Pres made such a speech, how awful for him. Can't have respect for anyone who thinks that way....not even the Pres.
So you don't believe in equal rights for all? He is upholding his vow to keep church and state separate, something everyone of you should be doing if you care at all about your SECULAR country.
There's nothing equal about the activity of today..............It's just a crying shame.
There's nothing equal because religion keeps trying to shove its 2000 year old myth in the government. Obama is doing his job and the religitards can't handle that, having been brainwashed to believe the country is a christard nation. When they learn that EVERYONE is deserving of the same rights, equality may be gained but until then your country is screwed. Fortunately, more and more non-believers are coming out and the younger generation are waking up. Keeping church and state separate is vital to the survival of your country. I live in a socialist country (your friendly neighbors to the North), where we sit and watch the circus act happening and are thankful that our government has instilled equal rights for all.
Every religion is good.
When they try to impose their values on other, conflict arises.
In recent times we see Islam &Christianity trying to impose their values. Use religion for self improvement and not improving others.
hey vidyashanti-How u doin? It has been a long time. Why don't ya give me a call? Let's meet up!
"Use religion for self improvement and not improving others." That needs to be a bumper sticker! :) Good one...
There is absolutely no need for religion. There are other pursuits that can satisfy the need for community and awe of nature. Try the Sierra Club or something like that.
Lots of ways to be happy without religion. One is living each day to its fullest knowing this is the only guaranteed life we have.
The only shame is that you live according to a 2000 year old book and not the 21st century. Didn't your god teach you not to judge?
Maybe not for you, but religion is good for many, many people....Live and let live...
The problem, Javier, is that religious extremists do not abide by that simple principle..."live and let live..." In fact, their lives are so boring, they want to encroach and legislate the lives of everyone else. This is little more than a modern holy crusade.
Happy Mother’s Day to Our Lady of Fatima, Woman of Genesis and Woman of Revelation this May 13, 2012!
1/9 The greatest gift man can give to Mother Mary is give TRUTH (Her Son Jesus) A FAIR SHARE OF JUSTICE in Capitol Hill, Wash DC
2/9 New intelligence analysis reveals that engaging in sacred wars could have been avoided by simply catching the 2 big fish: God and Satan.
3/9 New intelligence analysis reveals that engaging in sacred wars could have been avoided by simply catching the 2 big fish: Christ and Antichrist.
4/9 9/11 attack was byproduct of preaching that America/Israel is big/small Satan. The real Satan needs to be caught and brought to justice.
5/9 Incidentally, SCIENTIFICALLY proving that Jesus is God with a rock-solid evidence renews the face of the earth beyond recognition.
6/9 Once SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN that Jesus is God, woe to pharisees who preached militants the wrong Satan and the wrong God!
7/9 Scientifically proving that Jesus is God wins hearts, minds and most importantly souls of everyone including militants and atheists.
8/9 A SCIENTIFIC RETRIAL of Jesus Christ in Capitol Hill turns tables NOT JUST in AMERICA but also in Vatican, Jerusalem, etc.
9/9 The SCIENTIFIC PROOF that Jesus is God obliterates Satan and gathers the flock into ONE FOLD ONE SHEPHERD.
Now that IS some good Drivel!!!!
I think he's practicing to be a "journalist" for the Sun weekly supermarket tabloid
Mirosal: Not the SUN, more likely FAUX. :-)
m'lady .. one of my friends on Facebook sent a funny caption.. it said "Watching Faux news for political education is like watching Hogan's Heroes to learn about the Holocaust" .. how's that? :)
Mirosal: Can you post that on my wall later please? I have a christard I need to get a point across to, not that it will work but it will at least be interesting to see her reaction. Oh btw: I answered you re: Bubble Squadron...sorry it wasn't sooner but with AtheistSteve working overnight life is slightly chaotic as we adjust to the new hours.
LOL... primitive christians are funny. They belong in entertainment for sure.
Right...we want to see Christian but more importantly their struggles....there are many that are not "struggling" with their faith...but proudly living it and walking it out each day...
We call them "Zombies"
Prayer changes things .
"..prayer changes things." Let us take a look at this statement.
The prosecution says so, that doesn't mean it's true. This court has seen not a shred of proof for this allegation. We repeatedly hear this claim. Given how many citizens claim to believe in prayer, and pray daily supposedly, it seems there is an uncomfortable level of "no-result" or "negative-result" outcomes. In fact there is less than a 50% chance of success, that there is a correlation between what is prayed for and the actual outcome. By all standards of science and measurement, that's even less than 'chance'.
In other words, people may believe this claim (for their own reasons) , however that does not make it true.
The defense will not engage in speculation. The prosecution has delivered no proof. Case closed.
Great claims require great proof!
That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
The defense agrees with the judge that "atheism" applied to "other living beings" is a non-case. It shall be removed from the initial claim submitted to this court.
A cow, a goat, a sunflower, a fish, a dog, an oak tree and other such living things are incapable of understanding or discussing issues of faith, agnosticism or atheism. We agree, your honor, that your dog and my dog are much more excited when they hear the sound of an opening can of dog food than a discussion about atheism. In fact, my dog simply said "woof" and went about emptying his bowl.
that's very true! every minute, billions and billions of you mindless people pray to win the lottery and spend money on it. just to show that i hear your prayers, i make a couple of people every month a winner, sometimes none at all, depending on my mood.
Defense Attorney: you're wrong!!! My dog thinks I'm god... my cat thinks she's god...
Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.
Before you reply with how I am a Bigoted hateful '______', please refute, WITH FACTS, all of the points I posted. Yes, I know, so much easier to just call me names. That is afterall what Jesus would do.....
I will match you or any so called atheist word for word on Bible knowledge and show you all up for the frauds and pretenders you are. point 1
Most of your points are senseless drivel and show a remarkable lack of thought or insight.
Point 5 Name any person who existed before Adam.
Hitchens .. how about "Lucy"? .. isn't she about 2 million or so?
Dr. Leaky himself discounted "lucy" as he studied the evidences. We do not know the age of Adam, "lucy" if human at all may have been a descendant.
Well spoken Liberal. I understand your point of view since you have no morals, ethics, or self respect but that's what makes you a good Liberal.
Wow, I said facts. Guess you didn't understand. Ignorance is bliss eh? here's an Idea. Prove Adam existed before you ask such a rediculous question as' name someone before adam'. Did you think that one up all by yourself?!?!?!
and the name calling begins...... Like I said....Just what Jesus would do! Such good christians you are!
Rather than inculcating our children with the primary-color simple Sunday school legends and myths most people do, might I suggest the following ten comandments to enable them to think for themselves.
1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars get frightened when you want to "look under the hood".
5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.
I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any religion or other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.
@ Clint ... and what makes YOU an expert on morals or ethics?
Mirosal: Lucy is more like 3.5 billion years old (http://rosemarysidle.suite101.com/lucy-the-australopithecus-a-famous-ancient-ancestor-a235738) and unlike, Adam (as you well know) there is physical evidence for her existence.
Hello m'lady :) .. I think it's millions not billions. Earth is about 4 1/2 billion, and life didn't start right away.
Mirosal: My mistake...still very early. Thank you.
Fact : There is a written record of Adam. As much "proof" as a birth certificate provides after the fact.
For all the blather you still have not put the opinions of Dr. Leaky, who discovered "lucy" into the mix. Further study by Dr. Leaky caused him to discount his original conclusions. "lucy" ain't what "lucy" was reported to be.
What "proof" do you have?
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Martog!–our "cut and paste" king of CNN who shows up and posts the same, top ten list every time a religious article is posted. Welcome back Martog. Tell us about yourself:
What is your goal?
Why do you judge others who are different than you?
Why do you persecute Christians specifically when Jews and Muslims worship the same God?
Why don't you practice patience and tolerance with others that are different than you?
Please answer the above. I believe Jesus would ask you these questions.
Next, I see that you have not learned how to construct an argument. You have presented your opinion and tried to pass it off as fact. Please try again
You mention proof about Adam existing in one of your posts. I ask that you prove to the readers that Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle existed. They lived approximately 400 years before Christ. This should be easy for you to do with scientific evidence.
Finally, "the watch is evidence of the watchmaker". Everything around you has a "maker". Let's start with what you're wearing–your shoes, shirt, and pants. A "maker" constructed these but yet you have never seen this "maker". The fact that you have these items is the evidence of the maker (a laborer in this case somewhere across the ocean) that you have never seen.
So why then is it inconceivable to extrapolate this idea to the universe?
Atheists argue that we were created by "chance". Chance, really??? So if I randomly select a chimpanzee and sit him down at a computer, there's a "chance" he will write a New York Times best selling novel? Sorry Martog. "Chance" fails as an argument because this will never happen.
I accept all people Martog and I will pray for you–that is the Christian way. I do not harbor hateful feelings for nonbelievers. I truly feel sorry for them. I was once like you. I did not always know the way. Then I listened and observed and witnessed God all around me. He is there if you are willing to open your eyes.
God bless you.
Wow, I was stuck @ #2-in disbelief of the endng! I guess you have never showered or cleaned yourself. Very Interesting!!! lol
You could be talking about Hindus, muslims, jews or atheists but you have to apply it to christians. That brands you a bigot.
@sharkfisher: Christians do the exact same thing daily. Most fail to see the facts as set out before them.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.-Carl Sagan
still waiting for "Hitchens" to provide us with a certified and notarized copy of Adam's "birth certificate"
My ultimate question is nor "if" but "why". Why did the Big Bang occur? Why do atoms fission? Why did the universe form? Why is their a seeming motivation for anything to exist?
Ladies and Gentlemen, It's a cut and paste world. Afterall, isn't that how Christians get their religious beliefs? Just cut and paste from someone else's mouth to your ears?
CNN, how does this trash belong in 'latest news?' you're just pandering at this point.
As a Christian Pastor, i welcome these characters that show that all of us christians are bigoted hate-mongers!
They can't help it because Liberals have no self respect and will wallow in poverty and still vote for Obama.
It's terribly sad the way our world is going, isn't it? We used to be a well respected country, now we are the worse. No respect for anyone any longer........all the trash we have to watch on TV and then they have the right to push it off on normal folk. Now the Pres jumps in and endorces it........SAD, isn't it.
sbssue1: Not sad at all. What's sad is that you live centuries ago, not in today's world. Your president is required by his Oath to uphold the consti.tution or does that not matter to you?
Clint: on the contrary... "Liberals" have a lot of self respect (since they're able to think for themselves), unlike the Bible-Thumpers who wallow in poverty and still vote for those who will keep them in poverty forever...
Why is it that chriistains have to tell everyone their faith. I could give a gd about their faith or what they believe in. I watch TV for entertainment not to hear how someone was saved by a man who most likely did not exist. IAnd before you start bashing me on this viewpoint, it was a devil worshipper or a person of the Islamic faith you christians would be crying foul too.
All religions promote their faith with a single-minded zeal. Why do you think religion was invented in the first place? To control people, and hold dominion over them. It's the single reason religion exists.
Why is it that characters always have to tell us their orientation (gay or straight)? This is deeply personal, not a talking point. Any person who only defines themselves by one element of their being is not a good character on a show. We all have some type of orientation. So what? It's a fact of life and really not all that interesting in either case.
To Dave: You don't mind telling everyone else why you watch TV why should I mind telling you why I don't watch it? If you want to watch mindless drivel be my guest.You have the right to state your opinion and I have the right to state mine.
Any chance these out of the closet Christians will be Christian-bashed by Christian-phobes? No? Maybe they should.
Well my little atheist turd-tossers, you've done it again. You've successfully bored me into apathy over your cause. Off I go to Denny's. Say what you will, the breakfast is good.
@AH – But you already have egg on your face. Oh, did I say something rude again? Oops!
lol Crom...gotta love the morons who post using such hateful aliases-Atheist Hunter almost makes you think the government should be hunting him/her down and locking them up in the nearest asylum.
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