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Is new show ‘Preachers’ Daughters’ exploiting religious families?

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 3:30 p.m. MDT

Kolby and Nikita Koloff are featured on "Preachers' Daugthers."

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“Preachers’ Daughters” is a new reality TV show on Lifetime network. It follows three families — the Coleman, Koloff and Perry clans — that all share at least two things in common: The father is an evangelical preacher, and there is a teenage daughter in the fold who is trying to “stay pure” until marriage.

Writing recently for The Atlantic, Andy Kopsa acknowledged that many Americans earnestly adhere to a Christian faith that calls for complete abstinence before marriage. However, Kopsa strongly suggested that combining reality TV with the pursuit of chastity is an experiment that could only end badly.

Kopsa wrote, “The way these young girls are affected by the expectations of their parents and the rigidity of their religion may seem unusual, but in some Christian households it appears to be quite common. … The families on ‘Preachers' Daughters’ (are) not an anomaly that reality TV discovered and seized onto but an accurate portrayal of a prevalent evangelical belief system. … Ultimately there are only two outcomes possible for the daughters: a kind of damnation or salvation. Evangelical Christianity doesn't allow much latitude in this area. And with virginity (or reclaimed virginity) set up as salvation in the series, chances are at least one of these teens will fall, in front of God and everybody.”

On the parenting website Mommyish, Amanda Low blogged last week about her concern that “Preachers’ Daughters” could skew the way “nonbelievers” view all Christians.

“When a show like this makes headlines, it upsets me that atheists, agnostics and those who simply haven’t been exposed to religion may see this as an accurate portrayal of all Christians,” Low wrote. “Don’t get me wrong, ‘Preachers’ Daughters’ is a (pretty) accurate portrayal of Evangelicals. I live in the Bible Belt and see these attitudes and worse all the time. But this isn’t how all Christians are.”

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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