Comments about ‘Where's the respect for religion on TV?’

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Published: Wednesday, April 3 2013 1:45 p.m. MDT

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Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

The Hollywood Elite preach to all of us to be tolerant, understanding and respectful to the prostitute, the man that sleeps around, the people that sleep with everyone in college, people that sleep around to get ahead at their job, those that recreation sleep around.....you get the idea.

But, when it comes to religion and faith, they are very intolerant, unless they find some far East Asian religion or practice then that is revered. Most likely so their show will be allowed to be aired on tv in China and other countries. Why would they object to shows that depict everyone in the US as idiots.

Salt Lake City, UT

This is a well formed article. I think that religion is a hard subject because lots of people feel strongly about it in some way, whether for or against. I remember watching Touched By an Angel though. What a quality show.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Father Dowling did well because this padre solved murder mysteries. Not exactly something they teach in the seminary. In other words, it wasn’t about religion. Who wants to watch a weekly series about a priest being a priest?

CBS didn’t think Touched by an Angel would work. But it did because it was a fantasy with some well-written scripts. Surprise hits are sometimes series that dare to take risks and religion is a topic that will always be risky as popular entertainment.

Salt Lake City, UT

Despite being an atheist, I actually do enjoy quality, pro-religious media. Some of my favorites include: Silence (1971) which deals with Catholic persecution in Japan, The Name of the Rose (1986) which is probably Sean Connery's best role, and recently Apparitions (2008) which is a BBC series about an exorcist. All 3 have both good "religionists" and bad "religionists", but so does the Bible (Jesus vs the Sanhedrin). All 3 of these happen to be Catholic oriented, but, then again, they have a few centuries of extra material to work with.

However, "The Bible" (2013) on the History Channel was absolute garbage. It was a slipshod "survey" of the Bible.

The problem with producing religious media is the same with discussion of religion in polite company, it's either going to be shallow and vacuous or somebody is going to be offended. You need to approach it from a specific perspective, whether its Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, etc for it to have any real depth, and this is bound to ostracize other view points. The Bible (2013) was made to be vague enough that it would be acceptable to most believers, but as such was unappealing to non-believers.

Palmetto Bug
Columbia, SC

In general I agree with the premise of the article, but there are others exceptions not mentioned here, namely Kings on NBC. Kings took the story of king David and barely finished a single abbreviated season before being canceled.

I'm also not a huge fan of the Bible miniseries. Obviously a small budget but its really not that well done.

Charlottesville, VA

"The Nativity Story" is one example of a religious Hollywood film that attempted to replicate the success of "The Passion of the Christ." It made money, but just barely.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

I agree that The Bible was not one of the better made-for-television dramatazations of Biblical themes. That's all the more reason I find its high ratings and audience share worth taking note of. That could mean TV viewers are looking for more meaningful shows. Or maybe they're just burnt out on the standard fare being presented. Last season's success of Downton Abbey was also a surprise.

Charlottesville, VA

No, Red Corvette. Only YOUR beliefs deserve respect. No one else's.

Saint George, UT

I'm absolutely certain that Hollywood missed out on a couple hundred dollars a year from me the last 20 years or so. I quit allowing them to propagandize me rather than entertain me! I won't go to a movie that offends my spirit, regardless of its popularity. It is not about throwing a tidbit out there every once in awhile. It's called marketing. If you want me to come back, I need a brand that will retain my loyal patronage. Hollywood is leaving billions on the table because it indeed doesn't have any purpose for delivering value driven content. Is there any producer out there listening?

Mesa, Az

It is great to see a show about the Bible, but people might be better off if they read the book.

  • 9:37 a.m. April 4, 2013
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  • Top comment
Charlottesville, VA

Red Corvette, you're entitled to the opinion that we shouldn't respect other people's beliefs. But that's a moral statement. Can you use science to prove that it's correct? Can you do an experiment that will scientifically demonstrate what constitutes moral behavior? No, of course not. That's what religion and philosophy are for. And your beliefs about the nature of reality, about being and existence, about purpose, about right and wrong--those beliefs are just as nonscientific--just as "mythological," if you will, as any religion.

Salt Lake City, UT

Red Corvette:
[Does mythology really deserve "respect" on television?]

Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead both seem to be doing fairly well with their respective mythologies.

I approach religious programming the same way, I don't have to believe it to enjoy it. I don't believe in demonic possession, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying The Exorcist (1973).

I'm not entirely sure what the DesNews means by respect in this case. If they mean respect for religious media as a legitimate genre, I agree. If they mean respecting religion through media, I don't know.

Quality media requires complex and nuanced conflicts/resolutions. If they just use vague, external enemies, like some absolute evil force (the devil), they fail. If they prevent characters from having contradictory motives and actions (all-good or all-evil), they fail. If they rely on simplistic notions of punishing every sin and rewarding every virtue (morality plays), they fail.

Often the biggest problem with religious fiction is that it cannot acknowledge that good people do bad things, are not punished for it, but can still be redeemed without overt punishment. Or that "bad people" can, conversely, have redeeming virtues as well.


The entertainment world that Jim Bennett is exposing is anti-religious

Remember, it is only a moral people that can have the freedom as guaranteed in the Constitution of the US. A society that has no personal moral restraint will simply have to agree to give up freedoms in order to maintain security (order).

Zadruga Guy
West Jordan, UT

I disagree with the author that no respectful religious themed television shows have been produced by the major networks since "Touched by Angel" ceased production in 2003. What about Joan of Arcadia, which ran from 2003 to 2005?

Hyde Park, UT

We tend to ridicule things that make us uncomfortable. Making fun of something spares us from having to deal with it or understand it. Religion is ridiculed because it makes non-religious people uncomfortable.

Society today tells us that we have an absolute RIGHT to not be made uncomfortable.... unless we are religious, and then we should be uncomfortable so its okay to ridicule us. ;-)

American Fork, UT

Only here in the world of enhanced and percieved religious persecution is 'hollywood' surprised at the success of the bible series. Out past the curtain, if the demand was so pent up, as the article suggests, there'd be way more of this stuff made. If it weren't made by a major studio, someone else would do it, if a buck can be made doing it. Not everybody's out to get you. Besides, how much can you make out of one book? One hour? Maybe a miniseries? There's not much to work with here.

m.g. scott
clearfield, UT

Re: eval

Well put!!

If Hollywood did not learn the lesson from Mel Gibsons "The Passion of the Christ" movie, which actually made around a billion dollars worldwide, then they never will. Truth is, rich Hollywood people want acceptance from themselves more than money. And, with a few exceptions, anything or anybody that goes against the PC world they live in is in danger of being blacklisted.

Murrieta, CA

Funny how this article ripping those who work in Hollywood is in the newspaper and yet if I were to write what I really think about religion it wouldn't get posted here. Where is the honesty?

Free Agency
Salt Lake City, UT

There's nothing "miraculous" about the success of the TV series "The Bible" or about "Passion of the Christ"--or about "The Simpsons," for that matter.

If you can come up with what the masses think is entertaining, it will be successful. That's why there's a plethora of violent movies, escape movies, raunchy comic movies and now, religious movies too.

Does it mean that the public is becoming more "spiritual?" Hardly. It just means they have different entertainment tastes--tastes which often converge, depending upon the "production values."

The fact is, you don't get a sense of God or of spirituality from a screen. You get it from within, if at all.

As someone once said, "If Cecil B. DeMille could have made a movie out of it, it isn't God. Not even close."

Chicago, IL

Ideological belief systems that target groups they do not agree with for systematic civil and human rights discrimination are going to have a hard time getting sympathy from anyone not indoctrinated into that belief system. Further, if "christian" groups are so hard up for their own programming, why don't they make their own movies/t.v. shows? I will never cease to be amazed at those who openly denigrate and despise others simply because they are different, and then cry about not getting respect. Respect and disrespect are two sides of the same coin and each on must be earned. The self-proclaimed "christians" of this country have long earned the disrespect they cry about, but the reality is that they are given far more respect than they have earned. It's like a criminal complaining about getting parole when what he really earned was life in prison.

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