I'm not a Christian, but I play one on TV
The media is beginning to notice the Christians among them. On NPR's Morning Edition, Monique Parsons interviews devout Catholic Karen Hall, who "tries to weave credible religious characters" into the plots of Judging Amy, and Ralph Winter, whose faith impelled him to change a scene from Planet of the Apes (which he executive produced) that originally included the shooting of a police officer. Popular culture is full of "themes of redemption and hope," and battles over media immorality are perennial, but how does Hollywood portray faith? Christy producer Ken Wales complains that 7th Heaven, a television show about a pastor's family, rarely shows the pastor involved in ministry or even praying. And Touched by an Angel, for all of its "spiritual" value, has few depictions of religious devotion. Still, at least 16 support groups of Christians meet around Hollywood, Parsons reports. The oldest and largest, Inter-Mission, is going national "to let Christians know that God does have a foothold in Tinseltown." Christianity Today will also be letting folks know that in our next issue. (The report can be heard in 14.4 or 28.8 kbps if you have the RealPlayer.)

The New York Times, meanwhile, was more interested in the portrayal of Christians than the beliefs of those who portray them. In an article Sunday, Celia Wren focused on actresses trying "to win audience sympathy when portraying outspoken spirituality." "Most dramatic literature gives you great wide wings, but the language of the religious fanatic, more often than not, is crafted with clay and is very much earthbound, devoid of any irony and terribly earnest," says Cherry Jones, who plays a Salvation Army trooper in George Bernard Shaw's ...

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