Chris Hicks: Prayer and churchgoing characters are rare in movies and TV

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    Feb. 24, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    Hutterite: Religion is part of daily life for millions of Americans. To exclude it from movies is to deny part of our culture. If it is left out of movies just to keep it private, then why aren't anti-religious messages and the taking of the Lord's name in vain kept private instead of blaring from the screen?

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 24, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    The writer forgot NCIS who depict different religious formats from christen, to Jewish, to Muslim.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 3:43 p.m.

    The sitcoms about one parent families, dysfunctional families, families that do nothing but argue incessantly, all may more or less represent reality for someone, but the absence of sincere religious beliefs and church attendance etc are too consistently absent.

    In other words these shows do not connect with me, they are not my experience, or those of large parts of the nation. The South, the Midwest, are pretty religious areas. New York, Albany, Boston, San Franciso, Minneapolis: not so much.

    There has been a move away from "organized religion" but it is not complete, and I doubt it will ever be. The boys on "Leave It To Beaver" attended Church, and Andy Griffith's Show showed church attendance, the church choir etc and the various episodes usually had a consistently uplifting message. "Father Knows Best" etc likewise. It reflected the times but those times have not vanished entirely.

    People are careful in what they watch these days and networks may be waking up to the fact that they've gone too far in denying "religious" people of programming that represents their lives, standards and opinions. How many people have said: I have 100 channels but there's nothing worth watching.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 23, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    Sex is private too, but those who suggest that romance should be banned form television and movies, particularly alternate forms such as gay, are labeled prudes or bigots.
    How does you desire to censor all expression of spirituality or religion differ?
    It is part of the human experience and silencing it is as intolerant as banning non-whites from television.

    Tyler D
    Those who should be mocked are those who preach about tolerance after rationalizing intolerance.

    Spirituality is every bit as innate as sexuality.

  • lindaj72 salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 22, 2014 8:04 p.m.

    I love to watch the old Hazel TV shows on Antenna TV. One I watched recently I believe was about the son in the Baxter family, Harold finding a stray dog. The real owners showed up and Harold was heartbroken. It all had a happy ending and just at the end Harold kneeled down at the couch and thanked the Lord for letting him keep "Smiley." Hazel was touched and joined him on her knees. It was a touching scene. Hazel often remarked about going to church every Sunday. It was a great TV show. There needs to be more emphasis on strong functional families.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 5:17 p.m.

    Jimminy people, calm yourselves. The author didn't say religious people needed "constant confirmation" or representative characters in sitcoms to have their beliefs validated (as if religious beliefs are so weak outside sources are needed to remain confident), he didn't say religion should not be questioned (scrutinized) or that we should be discontent with the *whole package* of the times in which we live.

    He simply, and correctly, made the observation that prayer and churchgoing characters are rare in movies and tv, that this was misrepresentative of a large segment of our population. He then expressed the wish that this were not the case citing the past as an example of more religious worship friendliness in movies and tv.

    I don't understand why people are so eager to "put the religious in their place", especially when they state something that is accurate.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 21, 2014 2:34 p.m.

    The first part of this article was little more than a shameless promotion of the “religious people are persecuted” narrative.

    Criticizing religion is not the same as slandering someone’s race, gender, sexual orientation, etc… No one is born believing, for example, God once wiped out the entire human race (and presumably all non-aquatic or fresh water aquatic life that could not fit on a big boat) with a flood.

    Ideas and beliefs are fair game for scrutiny. Having to defend them or feeling that your beliefs are not respected does not make you a victim any more than a unicorn believer is a victim when some asks incredulously (even mockingly) for some evidence supporting that belief.

    And just for some added perspective, if anything we give far more deference to religious beliefs than any other ideas. What other area of inquiry would we respect someone’s views without evidence or good reasons (e.g., would you respect someone’s idea that the moon was made of cheese)?

    None of this is to say we should be mocking people – generally it’s better to be nice than a jerk.

  • slcdenizen t-ville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:37 p.m.


    Why should any group or movement be exempt from criticism? When presented as an avenue of human fulfillment and flourishing, religion invites inspection from non-participants. What would be the goal of withholding judgment when religion naturally falls short of that goal?

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 21, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    I completely understand where the author is coming from. Religion is -not private-, and to a degree, it's not even a real choice. The principles of the Gospel, modern-day revelation both personal and by a prophet, study of the scriptures, and seeking to cultivate Christ-like attributes are not something I or any Christian familiar with His command upon His resurrection simply do because we politically agree with his teachings; it's something we live even when we don't fully understand it, it's inconvenient, or it's unpopular, because it is true whether or not anyone else believes so.

    Family prayer and church attendance are as natural and integrated a part of life as working or shopping. This is reflected in earlier media of the United States, and its growing absence correlates with so many poor social trends and broken homes.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Feb. 21, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    The first three comments ridicule the sentiments of the author, which accurately reflect that the religious have often been objects of mockery in entertainment and literature for several decades. I suppose that I would have been "surprised" if they had been positive.

  • Zhanhan5 Parker, CO
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    These hyperbolic and over-reaching characterizations demonstrates a willingness to cherry pick pseudofacts to justify a tired and worn out longing for the good old days, that in reality never existed. Take the author's longing for days of yesteryear when Hollywood was so in tune with religion. Those years our County was steeped in inequality and disparate rights for women and ethnic and racial minorities. Not an America that I would want to live in today. It certainly is sad that the Author sees the world as a place where "a feel-good movie with a happy ending is rare enough" but this represents so many people's abysmal views.

    The words of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in "Remember Lot's Wife" are worth remembering, "To yearn to go back to a world that cannot be lived in now; to be perennially dissatisfied with present circumstances and have only dismal views of the future; to miss the here and now and tomorrow because we are so trapped in the there and then and yesterday; these are some of the sins, if we may call them that, of both Lot's wife and old Mr. Cheevy."

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    That's because, even in a fictional world, religion needs to be a private, one on one relationship. If your beliefs are worth having, you won't need reinforcement from a sitcom character.

  • slcdenizen t-ville, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    Beliefs built on a sandy foundation will eventually crumble. How shaky must those beliefs be when 90 minute entertainment products must constantly confirm similar beliefs in others or else be considered part of a larger conspiracy to attack those beliefs.

    Additionally, when has society's desire to be more inclusive not entailed rejecting outdated notions of exclusivity? One must necessarily come at the cost of the other. The false dichotomy presented here regarding the ability to empathize with previously aggrieved groups while making the perceived oppressors the object of derision are not counterintuitive, but rather go hand in hand.