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Should Religion and Primetime TV Mix?

If it's a day ending in Y, there's probably an American Idol controversy a'brewing — and today's revolves around the subtle and not-so-subtle influence of religion on the show this year. It started with Dolly Parton's rendition of her single "Jesus and Gravity" last week, but it really kicked into high gear with this week's double performance of the song "Shout to the Lord."

On Idol Gives Back the finalists used the lyric "my shepherd, my savior" to start the song; then, on Thursday, they performed it again with the words "my Jesus, my savior." (Here's the shepherd version, and here's the Jesus version.) The song angered a good number of people: Some wondered why Jesus was cut out of the first version, while others (like several of you) questioned why Idol was dealing with matters of religion in the first place.

Spirituality isn't new in primetime, but it's rarely that direct. Eli Stone, for example, explores the idea that there is a higher purpose to life without directly mentioning a specific religion. Are you OK when religion is mixed in with your evening entertainment? Or would you prefer a separation of church and TV?

Photos courtesy of Fox

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sunshinetlb sunshinetlb 9 years
Just caught up with all the new adds. Now one person commented seperation of church and state.... see this is what upsets me in religion and in everyday living.. SOMEONE QUOTES SOMEONE ELSE... but has no idea the meaning behind what they are saying. The actual truth that came to be when that was put into pratice.. SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE.... was not for the church to be out of the state it was founded so the state couldn't rule the church.... Meaning church could be part of the state.. but the state could not mandate the church.... Go read your history of that.... Yes alot of religious past has hurt us... but not every christian is a money hungry/bad person.. and yes alot of religion has been passed down from person to person.. pastors etc.. and we dont go "SEE" for ourselves.... meaning if we are told something.. dont just believe it because its said.. Go and pray about it for yourself.. if God will talk to them.. God will talk to you.... He will direct you..... confirmation was set up so we would led right and not wrong.... Sorry off the topic of sorts.. but had to comment on that church an state thing... ALL I HAVE TO SAY AGAIN..IS TO EVERYONE.. AMERICA!!! LOOK .. LETS WEIGHT THE EVIDENCE.. SINCE PRAY AND THE NAME JESUS WAS TAKEN OUT OF MOST SCHOOL.... how much killing there is now.... how much volience in our children.. why???? because they have no covering now... let's weigh when Christianity was outspoken and at liberty to put up nativity scenes....... I think our world had a much better outlook then.. than it does now... something is wrong.. has gone wrong..... and we can pin point back to around these times.... of take God out of this.. take God out of that.... well people.... IF GOD DOENST COVER US.. THEN WHO WILL????? God is not religious.... yes people have given him a bad name..... but take some time to FIND out for yourselves.... OKay I am done now.. I love you all.... why??? Because we are all one, live as one... and breathe as one.. no matter our differences of opinions.... We are all bro's and sis's and i choose to love than to hate...
dancingonstarsxx dancingonstarsxx 9 years
oh well. everyone has their own opinion about this. but it's nice to know that most people say yes! :D
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 9 years
I thought about it, and there is an exception like in Philosophy or a theology class I suppose. In high school I took an English class that studied The Bible as literature but it was just the old testament. Pretty interesting!
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 9 years
I didn't say that the Christian religion is a lie caterpillargirl. I said that The Bible is not acceptable as an academic source.
Amity-A Amity-A 9 years
Yeah, singing a song is hardly shoving beliefs down people's throat. It's a song. Just like "Imagine," the lyrics to "Shout to the Lord" are inspirational and moving to certain people who believe in what the song is saying. At the end of the day, yeah, it's a song.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
The bible isnt fiction, but i am a christian so thats my opinion. just like that statement was your opinion Mimoreno47, you might want to try to be more careful about saying that people faith is a lie.
mlmoreno47 mlmoreno47 9 years
love it tralalala!!! Viva Dlisted! I am probably the one person who does NOT watch American Idol. However, this topic is interesting to me because I'm a college student and in my argumentation speech class other students are always backing up their ideas with The Bible like it's a legitimate source. It is not. We had a very vocal Christian girl screaming about how people choose to be homosexual and quoting Bible verses about how being gay is a mortal sin. I'm sorry but The Bible is fiction and should be treated as such. It is not an academic source, I know this isn't what the original post is about but I really needed to vent that!
ElleJay ElleJay 9 years
I personally LOVE that song, and i loved their performace of it.
fireyelectra fireyelectra 9 years
I'm not a religious person at all in any way, but I don't have a problem with Dolly Parton, who is religious, singing a song on American Idol about how a person has to have both "Jesus and Gravity" in their life to be a balanced individual. Dolly's song is about having a balance of faith and reason, one to "lift you up" and one to "keep your feet on the ground." I think it was an odd choice for the Idols to sing that gospel song twice, but there's nothing wrong with including that type of music on a show that is, essentially, about music and tries to be respectful (but isn't always so) of all types of music. If people are so upset by this, why aren't they remotely bothered by Jason Castro singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," a song plagued with Judeo-Christian imagery? Is it because talking about King David is somehow less overtly religious in nature than talking about Jesus? That hardly seems accurate. I also, BTW, am a big fan of Eli Stone and Wonderfalls, both shows that deal with people who are touched by some sort of other-worldly god-entity and act as "prophets." Though these shows never name which/whose god-entity the main characters are receiving their prophetic messages from, there's no denying that both the titular Eli and Wonderfalls' Jaye are doing good in the world through their encounters with higher powers.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I am confused, who is shoving christianity down throats 24/7, besides that channel that has all the crying people with big hair? I personally am a christian, and try to be a good one, so seeing religious stuff doesnt bother me unless its blatantly hypocritical.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
It's not like American Idol was going out there and saying, "Alright, now everybody better turn Christian here." If Dolly Parton wants to sing a song about Jesus, then Dolly Parton can sing a song about Jesus. That's her new single!! I didn't watch the Idol Gives Back with the "Shout to the Lord" song so I don't know how that came about or anything.
Brandi13jrm Brandi13jrm 9 years
There is definitely some unnecessary hostility in these posts, I think making comments such as "God hating liberals" is pretty unfair and uncalled for. As for the topic at hand, NO, I do not think religion she be prominent in certain shows. Now, if a show is based around religion already then fine, viewers are aware and then can decide to watch it or not... but huge Christian performances on American Idol I think is a bit unfair. It's so easy for everyone to say "Oh, it's not a big deal" or "Oh, just deal with it"... I'm going to take a wild guess and assume all if not a majority of those people are Christian themselves so of course it's not a big deal to them. It's a sensitive topic for me because I already feel that politics are so heavily laced with religion and it angers me... I feel like no cares about the separation of church and state any more... so I get irritated to see the same concepts bleed over into other things... even if it is just television.
krampalicious krampalicious 9 years
took the words right out of my mouth, tralalala. you get an A+ for awesome. here's my two cents: if i wanted to get my daily dose of jesus, i certainly wouldn't get it from a bunch a karaoke hacks trying to get into my wallet. OH WAIT! That's what televangelists do every day anyway! My b. Guess I'll just stick to my godless Netflix.
tralalala tralalala 9 years
They might as well have sang Superman by the 3 doors down. Songs about fictional characters are awesome. Anywho, I think singing the songs individually is fine. I think Dolly Parton singing her songs is fine. I think having them sing it as a group number is sick. Also, to those bashing reality shows and talking about how much they enjoy American Idol...uh...A+ for effort? I leave you with this quote from Michael K of dlisted, which I think sums up their reasoning behind having so much religious propaganda on this season of idol; "The moment she opened her lips and she sang, "God is great..." I knew millions were putting their bibles away and reaching for their rotary telephones to somehow find a way to vote for Kristy Lee. They might have even driven their Chevy Chevettes down to the Piggly Wiggly to use a touch-tone phone."
goesmyheart goesmyheart 9 years
I don't mind if there is religion on tv. Shows like 7th heaven are fine and appeal to a specific demographic. However, IDOL, which is watched by so many people of so many faiths, should try and stay secular. I do not think it was a smart choice to alienate anyone who follows a religion or spiritual lifestyle that does not involve Jesus. Religion (like Politics) is a topic where people have very strong feelings, and I think it is important for a program that caters to millions to acknowledge that not everyone in America is a Christian. And even in my case, where as I am a proud Catholic, I would prefer American Idol stay away from evangelical tendencies. I don't think it's a good idea to combine a cheesey, superficial show with Jesus Christ.
linds1019 linds1019 9 years
I couldn't agree more w/Schaianne, dancingonstarsxx, and sunshinetlb. All brought up valid points. To those that say that religion shouldn't be shoved down their throats...get over it, it's a song, it's not like anyone is trying to convert you via American Idol.
jadenirvana jadenirvana 9 years
I don't think American Idol contestants singing religious songs is "shoving it in your face" unless they are doing it on your doorstep. I think the contestants should be able to sing the songs they feel passionate about. i mean, I don't really like country music but I don't feel like it should be banned from television so I can relax.
Caligeekchic4 Caligeekchic4 9 years
Oh, and if it's not okay for Dolly Parton and the American Idol contestants to sing a gospel song, then how come its okay for liberals to turn their heads when they hear about Obama's pastor and his anti-semitic rant and instead go fish for more anger towards President Bush?
Caligeekchic4 Caligeekchic4 9 years
Why is religion so shoved under the carpet these days? I've never gone to temple nor church, never been baptized, never had a bat mitzvah, and don't really know what I believe, but I don't think religion is ever a bad thing to make public. Why can't Idol have a religious song, even if it centers around Christianity only? Who knows, maybe they'll sing "Dreidel" next week. Either way, with schools calling Hanukkah and Christmas "winter holidays" and people freaking out at any mention of God, Allah, or another "higher power," religion is being unnecessarily attacked these days. Just let the people sing what they want to sing. I'm reiterating the words of about 20 previous people, but I agree. Change the channel if you don't want to hear them say "Jesus" or "shepherd." I felt uncomfortable singing gospel when I was in chorus, so I stopped taking chorus. You have free will. That's what's great about America! ( :
sunshinetlb sunshinetlb 9 years
Let's see.. If I can add this as well for thought. the term "shoved down our throats"..... I don't think one song would make you choke on it... unless again you are afraid to swallow it. So you're saying "those of you who have used this reaction or like it", you are saying that if they all came up signing the song 'SHOUT SHOUT SHOUT AT THE DEVIL'...... OR someother song maybe highway to hell.... I wonder if you would be so quick to say.. BOY DID THEY EVER THINK THAT BEING IN A GROUP SINGING THAT WOULD BE OFFENSIVE TO ME.. they are shoving it down my throat... how dare they sing something like shout at the devil....... I think no of that would have crossed your mine twice.. you probably would have been, "oh wow.. good job.. nice vocals.... OH WAIT ISNT THAT WHAT IDOL IS.... about talent.... vocal skills.... not the songs they choose to sing....... AND MAYBE JUST MAYBE.. they did consult with each person and ask them if anyone had a problem with it........ ever think of that... oh God forbid that all the contestants just may be Christians.. or believe in God/Jesus..... and as the comment was stated.. maybe one of them didnt want to be the odd man out.... WELL COME NOW.... If they are not strong enough to stand up for what they believe in or STAND for.. they dont need to be someone that our kid will look up too in the future... I say you either stand for what you believe no matter what situation your are in or you ought not speak at all... in song or in whatever else.... If you must compromise who you are to "FIT IN" or get votes.... you are a very confused/lonely person looking for validations in the wrong place... And as for the channel its on....must I say this again... how threatend some are by a few channels that choose to show the consertive side of life and actually have meaning/good - uplifting things on it... OH BOY.... lets see... to watch a family learning how to communicate with each other.. learn love without judgement vs.... everyone having sex with everyone else and becoming a used car lot or trying to up do the next person.. .. I think I will stick with something that may just be a good tool to use in my "REAL" life.... we allow TV to influence us.. like it or not....... hmmm look at how many children are now using volience to get what they want.. where oh where did they learn that from.... I SAY .... lets have equal to equal.......equal stations for good/moral/values .... one more thing... THEY SHOULD STOP SHOVING DOWN MY THROAT..... ALL THE REALITY TV SHOWS.. that are FAR FAR FAR FAR from reality... LOL... i was just being like the others in saying that.. to see how it felt to say that... I SAY TO IDOL............ IT IS THE BEST SEASON YET....
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
I agree with sunshinetlb and JenBrett... really have nothing else to add to those posts.
JenBrett JenBrett 9 years
And as far as keeping it off of tv, I don't recall anyone getting up in arms after Sept 11th when every tribute and fund raising show played "God Bless the USA." I don't think there's anything wrong with Dolly or the Idols performing the songs. A few of them have even been wearing crosses around their necks. Remember, it's a religious symbol first and a fashion statement second. As for Dolly, would you have rather her been told to sing a different song, because that's censorship. I think the majority would be more offended by censorship than religion.
JenBrett JenBrett 9 years
I think we have to look outside of our own personal lives and see that this show was about helping people in need. While as Americans we may not all be very religious or may not feel like religion should be aired, we need to remember that for many of the people in need, religion is all they have to hold on to. This was a show for them.
tomd tomd 9 years
Of course religion is OK to discuss on TV, and I'm not religious. We have to hear from the rabid God hating liberals ALL THE TIME. Why not hear from the other side. But then hollywood is known for being intolerant of anything that doesn't represent it's views.
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
Wait - how come is it every other religious faction can sing their songs and proclaim their faith but Christians are in the wrong for doing so? Being Politically Correct only applies to other faiths, huh? Personally, I like the fact there are people that are not ashamed of their faith and are willing to be public with it.
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