There is a thoughtful piece in today’s Los Angeles Times about “Daniel.” It’s by Diane Winston, the Knight chair in media and religion at USC. An excerpt:
“The Book of Daniel” doesn’t disparage Bible-believing Christians. Instead, it demonstrates the difficulty of turning serious religion into entertainment. Religion can be played as sentimental, spooky or satire, but doing it straight — think “ER” repotted in a synagogue — is hard to pull off.
In large part, this is because we treat religion as a special case. Whether we’re atheists, agnostics, secularists or believers, we all hold religious leaders to higher standards. Doctors, lawyers and politicians can be noble and flawed — isn’t that why we love Jack Bauer (“24”), Gregory House (“House”) and the late, great Leo McGarry (“The West Wing”)? But imagine any of these characters with a collar or a kippa, and tell me it doesn’t make you squirm.
Maybe because we see priests, rabbis and imams as stand-ins for the divine, we expect more of them. ”