I was fishing the web recently when I stumbled upon an article in the New York Times “Sexism in the Church” with a hanging question ““Is Your Pastor Sexist?” The article written by Julia Baird about women’s fight against inequality within the Catholic church. Baird argues the insanity of Princeton giving the “Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness” to Tim Keller, a man of the church who believes in complementary, believing “the Bible set forth that men should lead and have authority over women, and that married women must submit to their husbands.”
The article goes on to discuss a feminist writer Carol Howard Merritt, a pastor as well, called Keller wining the prize as “toxic” commenting on the issue being much greater. Merritt talks about this religiously based belief called “Complementarianism,” often even abusive, “married women have no choice over their lives at all.”
Now, to the issue of television, and how all of this is relevant.
I watch a lot of television. Even if i haven’t actually seen a specific show, I still probably know about it, just not having watched it due to lack of interest. I’ve had a lot of late nights, binge watching old re-runs of CSI:Miami and How I Met Your Mother, and the episodes on the subject of priests and their misconduct actually pops up into my brain several times. That memory of the episode about a priest is never positive. Very simply, this is when a priest is depicted as or accused of being a pedophile or child molester — in short, a holy man with an entirely “unholy“ interest in young children.
Television is present in everyday of our lives. It can be found at home, in hospitals, schools, libraries, basically every social public gathering. Moreover, most of our generation has a cell phone and watch videos on social media accounts daily. Why is television profiling and stereotyping men of faith in their television programs?
Well, I believe due to the cultural impact of the early 21st century child molestation scandals and prominent figures such as Tim Keller, television often tries to point out these often excused behaviors. Specifically, the Catholic church, their priests are by far the most likely to involved in such a heinous crime. Although, I must say that pedophiles, racists, sexists, and so on can be anyone. From teachers, to babysitters, or even parents. Television seems to cover even those cases. In the article by Alec Dent called “Can Television Take People of Faith Seriously?” he talks about the dangers of perception television has on the viewers.
What makes a priest worse than any other in the eyes of viewers and readers?
Main reason is because abuse cases about the Catholic Church draw in more viewers. When a religion that is based on the idea of “righteousness” and “holiness” diverges in its behavior, it grabs peoples attention, thus becomes an interesting story worth investigating and reporting.