Patricia Heaton, an outspoken Christian who starred in the long-running sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, has remained busy. She hosted the standup comedy program Thou Shalt Laugh (Warner Home Video, released on DVD last month). Heaton also acted in The Path to 9/11 and The Engagement Ring. She is a producer of Amazing Grace, a feature film about British anti-slavery parliamentarian William Wilberforce, to be released in February. Stan Guthrie, CT's senior associate editor, spoke with Heaton.

How does your faith influence your choice of projects?

For the serious projects, you want to tell the truth. Sometimes people think if you're a Christian you can't do a part that has any nudity or obscenities. Those things, in and of themselves, are not problematic. It's the way they are portrayed. And then part of me just loves to entertain and make people laugh. That's one of the reasons I wanted to host this comedy DVD. There's enough hard stuff going on in people's lives, and you really need that joy that laughter can bring. I don't have to put that in a Christian compartment.

In the DVD, you are very upfront about the fact that these are Christian comics.

There's a need for Christians to stop being portrayed in our industry as crazies. Christians—whether as a priest, a nun, a minister, whatever—have just been stereotyped to death. You try to be a model of kindness and love and forgiveness to all those around you, because you have received kindness and love and forgiveness from God through Christ. That's what Christianity is. You don't see that too much. Sometimes that has been the fault of the Christian community, or the ignorance of the secular community.

Are you normally this busy?

My husband is always telling me I need to ...

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December 2006

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