Bill Donahue, the resident crankypants at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who, by the way, is great as a radio guest, sounded off against Glee.
The producers of “Glee” decided to address religion. A gay atheist was treated with sympathy for his victim status, the victimizer being Christianity, especially Catholicism. Judaism was treated with kid gloves and Islam got a pass. In other words, it was the usual Hollywood stuff.
Where did Catholicism become the victim here? Kurt never mentioned a particular church at all. And there are far more non-denminational, fundamentalist churches who gay bash in public than perhaps any other denomination. Kurt even ended up going to what presumably is a Baptist church with Mercedes and even seems to engage in prayer with them there. Judaism was hardly treated with kid gloves. Rachel insists that her children be raised Jewish and after Finn agrees to this she lets him touch her breasts.
If that’s a nice little chaste Jewish girl, than I’m Mary Poppins.
More from Sir Donohue:
The lines mouthed by the characters are a reflection of what Hollywood script writers and producers believe. Back in 1986, S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Linda Lichter wrote a landmark book, The Media Elite. The three social scientists, not affiliated with conservative causes, found that the media elite had nothing in common with most Americans on the subject of religion: while 94 percent of Americans identified themselves as religious, only 50 percent of the media elite did. Even more striking, while 86 percent of the public said religion was important to them, 86 percent of the media elite said they seldom or never attend church. Studies since have shown that nothing much has changed.
We could also say that 94% of Catholics would not identify with the statements that come out of the offices of the Catholic League most days as well.
Do you want to know who the real enemy of Hollywood is? Hypocrisy.
And there’s plenty in religion that has given these artists reason to look our way. Centuries of it. We are human, after all.
Is this unfair? At times Hollywood and the secular media can be unfair. Most times they are just misinformed and what passes for journalism some days makes me wish I stayed in radio and taught people a thing or two. But at times it’s often painfully accurate. And the truth sometimes hurts. Some religious people are nuts. Some religious people do hate others in God’s name. And they grab the headlines because they are rare and outrageous.
Couldn’t the non-nutty religious folks give the media something to cover this week? What could we do that brings the beauty of our tradition from beneath the bushel basket that we all often hide our light under? What has the Catholic League done to live out the corporal works of mercy? I’m sure that there’s something that they have done and I wish they’d spend just as much time writing about THAT.
People want to be inspired, not agitated. Moreover, the Eucharist propels us to be Christ in the world and there are a lot more stories about him healing, serving and preaching about our lack of love for the poor than there are about him turning over the tables of the moneychangers. Balance is always called for and it’s time the majority of Catholics spoke up about what’s great about being Catholic again.