Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Morality of Glee and Immorality of the Religious Right

Glee is one of those shows that gets the typical fundamentalist tied in repressive knots of anger. For the last week the Religious Right has been fusing and fuming about Glee's episode regarding virginity. Of course, you knew they would. And, it should be said, they didn't even need to see the show to start having kittens on the spot, howling loudly about the evil that is Glee.

Well, in this blogger's mind, Glee remains one of the most moral shows on television. And those Bible-bashing banshees remain one of the most immoral groups the American South has ever spawned. I include the Klan in that category since the Klan was always closely allied with Christian fundamentalism.

If you've see the show you would know that the most sexual thing depicted is a kiss and a hug. And you get individuals wanting to lose their virginity "for the wrong reasons." In the show they are shot down by their would-be partners and the emphasis is on love and commitment. There isn't a shred of "sex for fun" in the entire episode.

We see three relationships at work here. Two are the long-term relationships between Rachel and Finn, and the one between Blaine and Kurt. A third relationship is in the works, that of Coach Bieste and a sports recruiter. Bieste is a large, rather masculine woman but she makes it known that she likes men. And she has a crush on the recruiter. But he's a nice looking man and she doesn't want to entertain the possibility that he is interested in her, so she ignores his invites for lunch.

So, three relationships, at different points in their cycles. The four glee club members discuss issues like condoms. But they also discuss the necessity of having relationships for the right reasons, and none of them imply that sex just for the fun of it is perfectly fine—by the way, I have no issues with consenting individuals having sex together because it enjoyable and for no other reason.

But the "kids" in the show are acting very responsibly. They are not pushing themselves to do something they are not ready for, even if they have the wrong motives part of the time. And, if you expect to see a clear indication that they were having sex you won't get it. Of course, it could be a "you'd-miss-it-if-you-blinked" scene and I blinked. But I didn't see anything that was even close to being clear sex, let alone explicit depictions.

And, the best moment, for me was when the recruiter fights through Beiste's rough exterior to make it clear that he finds her attractive and wants to have a date with her. She finally realizes he is not just leading her on and tears run down her face as, for the first time in her life, someone treats her as she wants to be treated—like a woman.

Glee is a damn moral show. The entire storyline about Coach Beiste pushes the value of seeing who someone really is, not just their appearances. Glee teaches rational moral values—tolerance of others, acceptance, love, character, community.

Fundamentalists are opposed with sex and pay little to no attention to humane values, such as those in Glee. They are intolerant, hateful, cruel and they define community entirely by one's agreement with their hateful agenda. They are irrationalists and they hate Glee because it is not as irrational as they are.

Now much has been made by religious kooks about the show depicting "children having sex." That is typical of their inability to be truthful. Glee doesn't have children. The main characters in this episode are high school seniors and legally adults when it comes to consenting to have sex with another teen. Even if you take the fictional town they are in, it is located in Ohio and the age of consent is 16 there. They are not defined as children either emotionally, physically or legally. But then fundamentalists believe we are all children and they are the stern papa sent to beat us into submission to God's awful will.

Glee, in fact, is pretty much spot on with the real world—the world fundamentalists know nothing about. The average individual in America is around 17 when they lose their virginity. All the teens in this show are this old, if not older. In addition about half of all teens are sexually active, but half the glee club is not sexually active. The show doesn't do anything but depict the world as it really is, at least when you block out all the singing and dancing that happens—everywhere.

No, Glee doesn't represent the hateful, cruel "morality" of the fundamentalist Christian. And that's a good thing. What it does do is show caring, humane people trying to live their own lives, and loving others in the process. It is a humane show with humane values. And that is what the fundamentalist really hates. They hate the show because of its virtues.

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