“Glee” and Religion in America

There’s a lively comment thread  on the Episcopal Church’s Facebook page about last night’s episode. It was interesting, especially in light of several themes repeated on this blog–the relationship between religion and secularism, contemporary American spirituality, and the role of religious knowledge. Much of the show seemed sensitive and thoughtful–teens dealing with questions of faith, for example, and the struggle with loved ones who are suffering.

Well-done, too, was the debate about the role of religion in public schools. How far can teachers and students go in proselytizing? What religious themes or topics are valid for public school classrooms?

Still, I found it ironic that after the debate about what students could and couldn’t sing in the school room, when the scene shifted to church, instead of a straightforward gospel number, we heard a version of “Bridge over Troubled Water.” I’m just not sure what to make of that. It’s almost as if the show’s producers were as uncomfortable about an openly-religious song in their show as school administrators tend to be.

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