However, this time Glee lived up to the hype. Murphy told Entertainment Weekly that he and the writers were striving to create a balanced story about religion with this episode so, "We went through and counted it word by word and line by line... Every time somebody said something anti-religion, we made sure somebody said something pro."I didn't even have to see the episode or read another word of the writer's recap to detect the bias. Glee's creator may think he is being scrupulously fair here, but the sticky wicket is that, unlike Hollywood, fifty percent of America is not openly hostile to religion and religious people. America may be losing religious adherents, but the majority still believe in God and 76 percent of them identify as Christians. (Note how unrepresentative the cast of Glee is.)
However, to be fair, I went over to Hulu and watched it. And it was dreadful. If this is the best Glee can offer...
The episode opens with football player Finn making himself a cheese sandwich in his George Foreman grill. It comes out looking as if the face of Jesus has been burnt into it, and Finn takes this as a sign. Kneeling before the "grilled Cheesus," he asks for numerous things: to win the next football game, to make it to second base with his girlfriend, and to be quarterback again. During the course of the episode all these things happen, and he takes this as a sign that God has heard his prayers. He asks the glee club to celebrate Jesus, and his request is granted - in a modified form, celebrating "spirituality" - which angers cheerleading coach Sue who is for clear separation of Church and State.
Meanwhile Kurt, the gay Glee cast member, has an argument with his father hours before his father has a heart attack and goes into a coma. The glee club wants to help him and try to pray for his father and give comfort from their varying religious traditions, but Kurt is having none of it:
If I wanted to sing Jesus I'd go to church. And the reason I don't go to church is because most churches don't think very much of gay people. Or women. Or science.Wow, so much nuance there, I can hardly peel back all the layers to get to the meaning. Wait, no. Kurt gets a number of chances to disparage religion in this episode, so many that he comes off as a bit, well, self-righteous. Sue gets her shots in too.
It is true that Emma, the school guidance counselor, and Mercedes, the diva-ish, gospel singing glee club member, react with compassion towards Finn and Kurt and, on the surface, state the case for religion, however their dialogue is more or less rephrasing the doubts people have about religion in a more sympathetic way. They and the "religious" glee club members are none of them especially devout and appear to think that religion is for answering requests or for feeling connection rather than for worship of a glorious God and gracious obedience to his precepts and commandments. They parrot feel-good spirituality disguised as real religion likely because no one writing, producing, or directing Glee seems to be able to comprehend what religion is (except bigotry and stupidity).
More evidence of the bias: Finn, our grilled Cheesus observer and would-be evangelist, is the good-hearted dimwit of the group. Making him the representative of Christianity is inherently insulting. One of the other Christians is Quinn whose portrayer describes her character as "terrible, the meanest girl." The smarter, savvier Glee kids are atheists (Kurt) or Jews (Rachel, Puck). Huh.
Sue Sylvester, is not sympathetic, but her reasons for being hostile to religion (that her older, disabled sister was mocked and she was unable to change this through prayer) are portrayed as reasonable and sympathetic. Her softening at the end of the episode takes back none of the "logic" of her previous arguments.
Finally, a question for the writers on the