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Summertime is a time for rashes–poison ivy, heat rash–but this summer there’s been a rash of religion on reality shows. Why, just in the last week alone I’ve seen a group of former boy band members go through a Native American blessing ceremony on VH1’s “Mission: Manband” and watched a real estate speculator perform a house-selling blessing ceremony and declare, straight-faced, that a newly purchased home needs an exorcism on Bravo’s “Flipping Out.”
Then there’s a man calling himself “Mr. Mitzvah” who recently rode the world’s scariest roller coaster to impress Stan Lee on SciFi’s “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” (He later got booted.) And finally there’s the “Big Brother” brouhaha brought about by contestent Amber’s anti-semitic remarks on the show’s live web feed.


I’m gettin’ itchy just thinking of all the spiritual foofaraw floating around the small screen this week. By now, I should be immune to the cheese-tastic nature in which spirituality is incorporated into reality shows. After all, religion isn’t new to reality TV; think back to “The Real World: New Orleans” with Julie the Mormon, UPN’s “Amish in the City,” Tammy Faye on VH-1’s “Surreal Life” or the practioners of Voodoo and witchcraft on SciFi’s “Mad, Mad House.”
But when a record executive arranges for her group to take part in a Native American spiritual rite, well, that just reeks of a producers’ brainstorming session. Although, former LFO (Lyte Funky Ones) band member and leukemia survivor Rich Cronin did seem deeply touched by the ceremony.
On the other hand, I believe that Jeff Lewis, the aforementioned real estate speculator, does indeed visit with psychics on a regular basis. So not only is that a realistic depiction of Jeff’s life, but also of a person’s spiritual practice. And while some may look askance at his practice, few would look askance at the profits he makes from advice from his psychic.
So, I’ll just sit back, relax and grab my Cortaid in preparation for watching Mr. Mitzvah tackle that terrifying roller coaster ride.
Do you have a favorite religious/spiritual reality show moment?

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