If you responded to Marcus’s recent post with a request for “more writing, less politics” – worry not. This may seem like a post about religion and politics, but I assure you, it is not. While cleverly disguised as a post about religion and politics, it is actually a post about building three-dimensional characters. You’ll see...
I feel the urge to toss a little religion in with our political conversation here at The Outfit. So, like the proverbial bull in a china shop...
Check out this survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center for their Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life. The survey results reveal that the more often (white, Christian) Americans attend church, the more likely they are to support the use of torture by the government.
54% of those who attend church “at least once a week” say that torture can “often” or “sometimes” be justified. Of those who “seldom or never” go to church, only 42% agreed.
Limited in scope, the survey only polled White Evangelical Protestants, Non-Hispanic White Catholics, White Mainline Protestants, and those Unaffiliated With Any Church.
We don’t have enough information to compare with people of other specific faiths or races, but the number for the American population in general is 49%.
And this is fascinating . . . The percentage of each group who say that torture is “often” or “sometimes” justified:
White Evangelical Protestants: 62%
Non-Hispanic White Catholics: 51%
White Mainline Protestants: 46%
Unaffiliated with any church: 40%
I cannot say that I’m surprised, but I am deeply disturbed by this survey.
Speaking of Evangelicals who disturb my head…
I recently came across the now-infamous “gay storm” ad, brought to us by the National Organization for Marriage (And Bigotry). When I first saw it, I thought it was an SNL parody. But no. Just a case of unintentional self-parody:
Is it just me, or do most of the men in that ad seem, uh, kinda gay? Could this be a case of hating the thing you most fear about yourself?
Apparently it isn’t just me, as evidenced by this Colbert Report parody:
I guess it’s obvious that I oppose torture and support gay marriage. And no matter what pretzel-logic I try on, I fail to see how gay marriage threatens my marriage.
More important than my support of gay marriage, however, is my belief that gay people’s relationships are none of my (or the government’s) damn business.
But (and here’s where we come to the writing technique) my opinions and beliefs are not shared by all of the characters I create when I write. In fact, none of the characters I create (including protagonists) share all my opinions. Where would be the fun in that?
So here’s an exercise: Pick a character you are writing and ask yourself… Does s/he believe in God? What kind of God? Which doctrine? And how do these beliefs (or lack thereof) manifest in the words and actions of this character?
I find it a worthwhile exercise. Hope you do too.
(See? It was about writing, after all.)