We Need More Christian Characters on Television

Cast of GleeI have always found it odd how some conservative White men seem so determined to feel oppressed. They accuse immigrants of taking jobs they would never do themselves, rail against feminists for expecting them to refrain from overt sexism, and share suspicions about how their ethnically diverse co-workers must be affirmative action hires. They refuse to acknowledge their privilege, status, and the fact that most of those with real power resemble them.

My reaction to Christians in the U.S. complaining of persecution is similar, although I have to admit finding their complaints of oppression even more bizarre. I wonder if they even know what "persecution" means. To be clear, I would never claim that a Christian could not be persecuted for being Christian; however, I am reasonably certain that it doesn't happen nearly as much as many Christians want us to believe.

Stephen Prothero, a regular contributor to CNN's Belief Blog, recently wrote a post in which he compared the increase in GLBT characters on television with…you guessed it…Christians.
“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.
I've never seen Glee, but I can't help thinking that this is a case of false equivalence. Many GBLT students face severe bullying (and not just from Mitt Romney), and this is part of why their suicide rate is much higher than that of their heterosexual peers. Many of these kids are bullied precisely because they are gay. How many Christians in American schools are bullied because they are Christian?

And "struggling with the demands of their faith" sounds an awful lot like the cognitive dissonance one would expect to see from someone who adopted irrational beliefs about the world, many of which are demonstrably false. Perhaps these kids should struggle a bit with this - not because they deserve to be bullied but because they should be in school to learn about reality.

Prothero writes, "I think it’s about time that Christian characters are showing up on television shows." Right. It is about time these poor, persecuted Christians get some air time. I guess Prothero must have missed that Touched by an Angel drivel or forgotten somehow that there are multiple cable networks that are nothing but Christian programming.

But you know what? I'm going to agree with Prothero. We do need more overtly Christian characters on TV. Showing them struggling with - and then ultimately rejecting their faith - could be a positive influence on millions of people who find themselves in a similar position.