Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"The West Wing" and Religion

A short while ago I was watching The West Wing while getting ready for work.  I like The West Wing - it is one of the few shows I have all the DVDs to.  One of this morning's episodes (Bravo shows two episodes most weekday mornings) was one of my favorites.  I did not realize that it was the pilot, but based on that one show, it is easy to see how it got picked up.

The show centered on a gaff made by Josh Lyman on a Sunday morning show, in which he stated "you're god is too busy being indicted for tax fraud" to an evangelical, and the political fallout from "insulting millions of christians."  At one point, to coddle the outraged evangelicals, the White House staff holds a meeting with some of the evangelical leaders.  After Josh apologizes (sincerely, it seemed) things get heated, leading to the following exchange:

John Van Dyke (one of the evangelical leaders): The First Commandment says Honor thy father.
Toby Ziegler: No it doesn't
Josh Lyman: Toby...
Toby Ziegler: It doesn't.
Josh Lyman: Listen...
Toby Ziegler: No if I'm going to make you sit through this preposterous exercise, we're going to get the names of the damn commandments right.
Mary Marsh: Okay. Here we go.
Toby Ziegler: Honor thy father is the Third Commandment.
John Van Dyke: Then what's the First Commandment?
President Josiah Bartlet: I am the Lord your God. Thou shalt worship no other god before me. Boy, those were the days, huh?

The President then goes off on the evangelicals for not speaking out against radicals, one of whom had just sent his granddaughter a Raggedy Ann doll with a knife in its throat.

During the entire show, respect was shown for people's belief systems, but little respect was granted to those who wished to abuse the power of their religion, or force it on to others.  This was true for any faith - if you want to watch a scene with anger, check out the episode where CJ announces that a girl's school in the Middle East was allowed to burn with children in it because radical muslims refused blocked access due to the school's unholy teachings.

The President Bartlet character was a catholic with very deep faith, but his religious beliefs were never forced on anybody else.  They guided his actions, but never predetermined them.  All of his actions and decisions were based on reality, not a book.  The show even handled his crisis of faith when Mrs. Landingham died well.

"The West Wing", the product of that damned liberal commie atheist Hollywood elite, showed religion and faith in better light than anything Pat Robertson could possibly dream of.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! I'm now inspired now to netflix West Wing. Can Obama's administration bitchslap those whackos in as polite a fashion?


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