NBC is under fire after its new drama, “Rise,” offended Catholics by accusing them of hiding in shadows when it comes to issues such as homosexuality in an episode that aired a few days prior to Good Friday and Easter.
“It’s bad enough when Hollywood bashes Christianity, but to do so during this most Holy Week, when we remember all that Jesus endured for us, is especially egregious,” Media Research Center’s Dawn Slusher wrote.
Tuesday’s episode of “Rise” was the third of the series, and the MRC had previously condemned the first two installments for mocking Christian faith. The third episode explored the storyline of a Catholic student who was selected to play a homosexual role in the play “Spring Awakening.” During the production, the student realizes he is attracted to another man and he is swiftly sent to St. Francis Catholic School by his religious parents – who disagree with the themes of “Spring Awakening.”
A teacher says the play is an important story that deals “with burgeoning sexuality without knowledge or guidance in a deceptive and hypocritical world,” and he eventually goes directly to the boy’s parents to try to change their minds. He tries his best to “enlighten” them with the “truth,” according to Slusher, but to no avail.
“The production you're doing goes against everything we believe in,” the boy’s father says before the mother chimes in, “we don't agree with abortion, gay sex, premarital sex. It talks about fathers molesting their daughters. It's just too dark. This is not the world of values we want our son growing up in.”
The teacher then accuses the parents of hiding things in an attempt to make them go away.
“It was a slap in the face to everyone celebrating this special Christian observance,” Slusher wrote.
Eventually, the boy’s mother seems to have some sort of revelation that results in a scene Slusher called “nauseatingly ridiculous” when she confronts the teacher at his home.
“My grandmother used to say, ‘I don't care if you don't believe in the same thing as me, but you have to believe in something.’ And I need to know what you believe in,” the mother says.
The theater teacher responds that he believes in the kids.
“I believe in... helping them to grow up in the sun and not in the shadows,” the teacher responds.
Slusher sarcastically mocked the show, saying she would throw her Christian beliefs out the window because she is so delighted that the fictional character will learn the “truth” instead of hiding from it. She said the teacher feels his beliefs are on a pedestal.
“That he believes that his opinions are ‘truth’ while the beliefs of others are just stumbling blocks he must overcome while wearing his hero cape,” Slusher wrote. “I believe that ‘Rise’ is incredibly transparent in trying to promote offensive liberal beliefs by cloaking them in feel-good scenes and storylines.”
The MRC contributor also said that painting Catholics who disagree with the themes in “Spring Awakening” as people who are hiding from the truth is incredibly heinous and called for the show to be canceled.
NBC bills “Rise” as a “heartening new drama about finding inspiration in unexpected places.”
The MRC recently launched a campaign targeting ABC and its advertisers after “The View” co-host Joy Behar mocked Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith. Behar eventually apologized for her controversial comments.
NBC did not immediately respond to request for comment.