Glee caused some major controversy when it first aired several years ago. As the story progressed it continued to push the envelope on moral issues and cultural standards of right and wrong. However, as the show brought new issues into the storyline, it seemed to make fewer and fewer headlines.
The series has now concluded and it has some asking how the show effected culture.
In the final season, the show introduced a new gay character names Spencer, who was played by Marshall Williams. In an interview, he shared that he believed the show Glee made it “ok” for people to be gay on TV. You can read the interview here: http://www.thebacklot.com/marshall-williams-interview-glee-post-modern-gay/01/2015/
When the show was not as fully developed, during the summers between seasons, a show called The Glee Project aired on television. On this show we got to see people compete for new roles on the show. Throughout this show we got to hear the writers voice their feelings about the purpose of the show and about what they could do with different kinds of characters.
I think the overall message of Glee is very clear: Be Who You Are. The show teaches people to embrace their identities no matter how quirky or weird, even if your identity brings bullying.
In some respects, I really like the show. I do not believe that bullying is ever acceptable and I think the show depicts this well. I also enjoy much of the music on the show and I like the characters. The show also has some good dialogue throughout on very important issues. It deals with cancer, stereotyping, single parent homes, blended families, competition, cliques, drug use, religion/spirituality, eating disorders, and of course gender issues.
But is being who we are the same as being who we are supposed to be?
As Christians, how are we to engage the show and think about these issues?
I do believe that the show made it more acceptable for people to be gay on TV. More importantly, I believe it made it more trendy to be same-sex oriented in actual schools. I think we have seen an increase in people who identify as gay or lesbian in schools now specifically because of Glee.
I think the show has been the most important factor in states changing their position on same-sex marriage. I also think that the show has done more to raise the issue as a civil rights issue than a moral issue than any other campaign. Somehow I even think the show had a hand in the decision made by the supreme court last week.
For Christians, however, the issue is still a moral issue. If we say we belong to Christ and are subject to his Word, then we should live according to his Word. If the Bible makes it a moral issue, than Christians should not practice it. Therefore, we look like bad guys when we do not accept same sex practice. The thing is, we cannot force our beliefs on others. We cannot expect those who do not share our moral standards to live according to those standards.
But we are still left asking questions about people being who they are. We live in a world tainted by sin. Sin breaks the image of God in humanity. It makes us desire what we ought not desire. The question is, can sin corrupt us so much at birth that we really believe we are born as the wrong gender? Can we be born with an inclination towards same sex attraction? Yes!!! But I think that as practicing Christians, we must be obedient to the teachings of the Bible–even if that means living in celibacy. When we are born in sin, we are not born as who we are supposed to be. This is true for every single person. No one is born as who they are supposed to be. We can only become that person, when we give our lives to Christ and let him work in our hearts to change us. This is true for every issue, not just gender related issues.
What are your thoughts? How has Glee impacted the world around you?