This week’s episode of Glee focused on religion, with lunkhead leading man Finn Hudson’s creation of a “Grilled Cheesus” (burned toast resembling Jesus) prompting him to coax New Directions to sing about faith. The glee club’s musical numbers included covers of “Only the Good Die Young,” “Losing My Religion,” “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” “One of Us,” and “Bridge over Troubled Water.”
Check out this blog post from The Christian Century, and here’s an official clip that sums up the episode:
Ultimately, gleefully sadistic cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester (played by Jane Lynch, who is hosting tomorrow night’s Saturday Night Live) forbid the club from singing about religion, citing separation of church and state.
She was wrong, though no one points that out — presumably because, as that recent Pew religious literacy quiz reports, Americans think there are more restrictions on religion in public schools than actually exist.
According to the Anti-Defamation League:
Religious music or drama may be included in school events that are part of a secular program of education. The content of school special events, assemblies, concerts and programs must be primarily secular, objective and educational, and may not focus on any one religion or religious observance and may not appear to endorse religion over non-religion or one religion over another. Such events must not promote or denigrate any particular religion, serve as a religious celebration, or become a forum for religious devotion. Student participation should be voluntary. Thus, a school’s choral group can sing songs that are religious in nature but may only do so if the song is part of a larger program of music which is secular.
Given that New Directions performed Britney Spears music last week (and Madonna and Lady Gaga last year), and the club includes at least two Jews and an atheist (check out USA Today’s Faith & Reason post by Cathy Lynn Grossman for more on that angle), that should cover an occasional Hallelujah. Or they can just leave that to Michael Bolton, who stepped in for Susan Boyle on Dancing With the Stars this week.
If you missed Glee on Fox, you can catch the last five episodes, or just the musical clips, online via Hulu.
P.S. Funniest throwaway line of the episode? Dim-bulb cheerleader Brittany S. Pierce (not to be confused with Britney Spears): “Every time I pray, I fall asleep.”