Religion on TV

On June 6, Netflix’s most popular original series, “Orange Is the New Black,” launched its second season. The series follows Piper, a young, wealthy New Yorker who is incarcerated for smuggling drugs for her girlfriend a few years ago. Among the many characters in prison with Piper is a radical fundamentalist who seems to misunderstand Christianity’s altruistic purpose. Although this character creates uproariously funny scenes with her profound and comical ignorance, the show neglects to accurately represent different religious practices in prison aside from those of this crazy character; it even casts a negative light on religion in general. Share this article (warning: spoilers!), and discuss the portrayal of religion in television and media:

  • What do you think about the idea of “prison religion” mentioned in the article?
  • What do you think of the way religion (not solely Christianity) is portrayed in some of the TV shows you watch?
  • How has your opinion of your own faith or other faiths changed as a result of TV’s portrayal of religion?
  • What TV characters of faith stand out in your mind? What do you take away from their depiction of religion?