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Is it just my reaction, or does this really seem nuts?

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sjb
823387.  Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:51 pm Reply with quote

exnihilo, whereabouts in the US were you when you counted 16 Christian tv channels?

I live in the Bible belt, have about 100 tv channels, and I only have three Christian channels. I have known just one or two people who ever watched them non-ironically. Actually, I'm not including one channel that occasionally has Christian programming. (The rest of the time it shows tv shows about teenagers getting pregnant and the like. No joke.)

Get ready for me to overgeneralize: Most American Christians I know are only Christian when it suits them. They don't actually want to have to bother reading the Bible, attempt to be "more like Jesus," or have a televangelist ranting and sweating and begging for money on their television screens. Most of them don't even go to church on Sundays, though I will grant that quite a lot do especially in certain regions (mainly to save face/keep up with the Joneses in small communities). But if they're running for political office or trying to win an argument, "Well, I love Jesus more!" they'll shout. "And you're a godless whore!" or some such.

Sigh.

 
CB27
823392.  Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:26 pm Reply with quote

sjb wrote:
Most of them don't even go to church on Sundays, though I will grant that quite a lot do especially in certain regions (mainly to save face/keep up with the Joneses in small communities). But if they're running for political office or trying to win an argument, "Well, I love Jesus more!" they'll shout. "And you're a godless whore!" or some such.

I think the difference in understanding who is more religious or less religious lies at the heart of this statement and explains why both sides of this discussion don't think the other is right.

sjb's comment will be perfectly clear to many in the US that it shows how secular people are, but not so for a great number of people in the UK. For many Brits below a certain age and from the "majority" WASP background, just going to church even once a year is already religious, let alone going in on some Sundays. Among certain minorities, such as people from African, Carribean and East European backgrounds, the proportion of people who go to church is incredibly higher (similarly for Muslims, Jews, Hindus, etc, for their own places of worship).

Even compared to Europe, I'd say young Brits have become less religious and because of this the politicians don't feel the need to pander to religion, celebrities don't tend to worry about their religious image, and you don't really have people who go to church to "show face" for the community.

Even on television, a quick look at some of the most popular US shows that portray family life, and the idea of going to church is seen as normal (even The Simpsons are regulars), yet it's hardly ever portrayed in British shows unless they're based on village life (like Midsummer Murders). In fact, when you do see a British programme that includes churchgoing, it tends to be set in a village rather than a town or city, and tends to be a sitcom (Father Ted and Vicar of Dibley spring to mind).

 
clack
823398.  Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:15 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Even on television, a quick look at some of the most popular US shows that portray family life, and the idea of going to church is seen as normal (even The Simpsons are regulars),
You say that church-going is much more common on American TV, but you name only one American TV show.

You then draw a contrast with British TV -- how uncommon church-going is there -- and yet name 3 shows.

There are many dozens of American TV shows, and I watch very few of them. If I were to think of those I have watched, and that feature regular church-going, I can think of only the one you named, 'the Simpsons'. What others are there?

 
sjb
823399.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 12:13 am Reply with quote

Something that struck me growing up was that so few tv shows featured folks who regularly (or at all) went to church. Even older shows such as I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show generally refrained from showing religiosity.

In addition to The Simpsons, I put forward Family Guy--Lois semi-regularly tries to drag them to church. Peter's father was a devout-ish Catholic. And Peter, of course, began the Church of the Fonz.

 
Neotenic
823406.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:14 am Reply with quote

I don't think anyone would view Father Ted as an serious advocation of the religious life - plus, it's worth pointing out that it is firmly based in Catholicism, rather than Anglicanism.

Oh, and it's based in a different country.

 
PDR
823411.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:46 am Reply with quote

Oh, and if anything it's taking the pi$$ out of religion rather than portraying it as a an integral part of the majority lifestyle.

PDR

 
swot
823439.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:04 am Reply with quote

The Brothers Garcia was an American children's show on a few years ago, which featured a God-fearing Hispanic family living in America. They went to or talked about Church, or prayer or God in almost every episode, and one of the episodes featured the despair of the parents when the eldest decided he didn't want to go any more (it turned out o.k. in the end, he decided to go to church). Plenty of others (Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Sister Sister spring to mind) that occasionally featured church and prayer and so on, and this was treated as a normal thing, and not questioned.

 
Arcane
823449.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:33 am Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Posital wrote:
They can't be serious: http://www.theonion.com/articles/prince-william-divorces-kate-middleton-after-5-wee,20648/ another revered news source scoops the zeitgeist...

The UK press don't seem to have started on this story yet...


Trust me, the tabloids over here (the ones the supermarket sells but nobody in their right mind believes) have so far had Camilla furious and back-stabbing Kate, Kate doing the same to Camilla, and Kate declared to be infertile by her gynaecologists (this in the first week after the wedding). Honestly, they just make it all up.


Oh heck yes, full of lies.

On a side issue, how does this go with libel? How can these magazines get away with telling such outrageous lies about people and continuing publishing them each day/week/month?

 
PDR
823461.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:08 am Reply with quote

Under the rudimentary system of law they operate in the colonies they have a principle that you cannot libel a "public figure" and almost anything is "fair comment" unless the victim can demonstrate that there was malicious intent. Whilst the principle isn't absolute, and it has variations between the states, you generally really have to work very hard to say something sufficiently inaccurate and/or offensive and/or damaging as to be actionable. This is the core of the plot of the film "absence of malice".

Libel cases are very prone to inverting the burden of proof (essentialy requiring the victim to prove "innocence") even in the best legal systems, but the US version takes this to extremes. A "public figure" can be argued to be anyone who has come into the public eye, and the act of printing a defamatory article about that person is often in itself sufficient to achieve this.

PDR

 
CB27
823465.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:40 am Reply with quote

clack wrote:
Quote:
Even on television, a quick look at some of the most popular US shows that portray family life, and the idea of going to church is seen as normal (even The Simpsons are regulars),
You say that church-going is much more common on American TV, but you name only one American TV show.

You then draw a contrast with British TV -- how uncommon church-going is there -- and yet name 3 shows.

There are many dozens of American TV shows, and I watch very few of them. If I were to think of those I have watched, and that feature regular church-going, I can think of only the one you named, 'the Simpsons'. What others are there?

I hope you're not taking this as an attack on the US or it's culture, I was simply pointing out the difference in what is perceived as religious or not.

When I mentioned the Simpsons, I used the word "even", because I was trying to show that even if a show is not considered family friendly or morally Christian by many people, it often shows regular attendance as being part of the norm. I haven't been to the US for a few years, so it's hard for me to list which programmes are most popular right now, but looking at some of the popular shows from US that were shown in the UK, and almost every sitcom has referenced on occasion regular attendance in church (a quick list from the top of the head I remember it mentioned on Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Malcolm in the Middle, Scrubs, and others mentioned on other posts).

The two British sitcoms I mentioned were specifically about church, and as such were very conspicuous in not benig set in urban areas and of featuring rather bizarre characters. I also mentioned Midsummer Murders, because it's a drama which is set in village life, and as such often features regular church attendance in the story because it's a recognisdable view of village life (as it is in many countries). When we do have characters in shows (sitcoms or drama) who ergularly attend church, they're often seen as very religious compared to everyone else.

 
PDR
823483.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:12 am Reply with quote

That's even true in fly-on-the-wall documdramas like "Outnumbered".

PDR

 
CB27
823486.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:29 am Reply with quote

Sorry, never watched it, so I can't say anything about it :)

 
PDR
823487.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:36 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Sorry, never watched it, so I can't say anything about it :)


It's well worth watching - it provides the proof that children should be regularly caned as an educational process.

PDR

 
Neotenic
823496.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:57 am Reply with quote

If we step away from the subject of church-going in sitcoms, there is another area where the pervasion of religion into everyday life is rather more apparant State-side than it is over here, and that is the Pledge of Allegiance.

To refresh the memories of those of us that don't have to recite it every day;

Quote:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all


I can't be alone in finding the daily recital of this pledge, particularly in schools, just a little bit creepy, and certainly the idea of implementing something like this - especially enshrined in law - over here is thoroughly unfathomable.

It's an idle theory of mine that it is this steady drip-drip into the conciousness of the young by the pledge that is a one factor behind the chest-thumping 'USA! USA!' type patriotism that most of the planet finds, to be honest, a little distasteful.

I'm definitely interested to know how one maintains a 'seperation of church and state' in 'one nation under God'.

 
PDR
823498.  Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:13 am Reply with quote

Well the declaration of independance is hardly agnostic either. The first sentence says:

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them."

It then continues in the same vein in the second sentence where it says:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator...."

PDR

 

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