That thinks Religulous looks idiotic? I don't plan on seeing it. The trailer made me tired.
Listen, I know I'm not unbiased. I was raised by an Episcopal priest. But I find the dull bashing of religion by smug pricks to be a dead end, self-congratulatory exercise.
I don't begrudge atheists their perspective and I'm at the very least agnostic. I also think that religion and religious tradition is an important part of the national conversation, a part of history as well as culture. I believe that religion has driven a lot of positive social change and created a framework for a fair amount of charitable behavior. It's been a force of harm and silliness, but its also been an organizing principle for community and kindness.
The fastest way to move yourself away from the center of American life is to treat religious faith as an enemy. Even within the world of religion, there's a struggle between those who take the lessons of faith and use them for good, or those who use those same lessons to do harm and justify their own selfishness. I live in the politics of that every day working in the Episcopal church.
I'm sure there are plenty of artists and liberals that are a member of a longstanding religious or spiritual tradition. I wonder how often they don't mention that, because they'd rather not defend themselves in this climate. The culture war cuts both ways.
- Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn based playwright with a BFA from Emerson College. His plays include THE DEATH OF KING ARTHUR, REASONS FOR MOVING, THE GREAT ESCAPE, THE AMERICANS, THE WHITE SWALLOW, AN INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR, THE MOST WONDERFUL LOVE, WHEN IS A CLOCK, GLEE CLUB, THAT OLD SOFT SHOE and BRANDYWINE DISTILLERY FIRE. He served as Assistant Producer and Senior Writer for the live webcast from Times Square on New Year's Eve 2010-2012. As a freelance writer, he has contributed to Gamespy, Premiere, Complex Magazine, Maxim Online, and MTV Magazine. His plays have been published by Playscripts, Inc., New York Theatre Experience, and Samuel French.