A lot of "Gleeks" weren't crazy about Tuesday night's Glee. The episode, entitled, "Grilled Cheesus," was certainly heavier than the musical dramedy's usual fare.
A warning to anyone who hasn't yet watched the God-centric Glee, there are spoilers ahead!
In this episode, Kurt's father Burt suffered a serious heart attack, and for the first time in the series' history, many members of "New Directions" looked to God to calm their fears. Finn thought he saw the face of Jesus in his grilled cheese (hence, the episode title and Twitter trending topic "Grilled Cheesus"), Quinn was excited by her ex's newfound love of her lord and savior, while Rachel was troubled by her current boyfriend's new love for Jesus and how it might interfere with raising their future children in her Jewish faith. Tina and Mercedes were Team JC, Puck proclaimed Jesus to be his, "number one Heb[rew]," Mr. Shu remained diplomatic and Sue Sylvester dismissed the idea of religion being brought up in a public school at all. "If your kids wanna praise Jesus in class," she huffed at Mr. Shu. "I suggest they enroll at Sweet Holy Mother of God Academy on I Love Jesus Street, but not here!"
Ditzy Brittany admitted when she prays, she falls asleep, and Artie seemed indifferent in his religious stance. But it was Kurt's poignant, pained reaction to religion that, as a person of faith, troubled me deeply.
While fellow Glee team members turned to spiritual songs to ease their worries about Kurt's dad in the hospital, Kurt wanted nothing to do with their supposed savior. "Sorry, but if I wanted to sing about Jesus, I'd go to church," he huffed. "And the reason I don't go to church is because most churches don't think very much of gay people. Or women. Or science."
I'm all for gay rights. I'm also a very strong willed, independent woman, and like most semi-educated people, I believe in the theory of evolution. I'm also a Christian.
By no means am I a model Christian, and of course I have a great deal of qualms with my chosen faith. Any organized religion is inevitably going to run into issues. When I hear of extremist, hate-based "Christian" groups, I'm embarrassed and saddened by their total misunderstanding of the God they claim to worship.
And while I realize it's not my place to step on others' faith, I do think it's ridiculous the Catholic Church still doesn't value women as equals. I also abhor many of the Bible-thumping "Christians" I grew up with, who project a holier-than-thou façade but, to be blunt, were some of the bitchiest, judgmental people I've ever encountered. The "Christian faith" I consider myself a part of isn't any strict denomination following any rigid guidelines. I legitimately believe there's a greater power that created us and loves us, and he (or she) wants us to love and support one another in this life.
When Sue Sylvester logically explained why she lost her faith in God, I understood. She told Ms. Pillsbury that she wasn't on board with, "telling someone how to believe in God, and if they don't accept it, no matter how openhearted or honest their descent, they're going to hell." She made sense, continuing, "Well, that doesn't sound very Christian, does it?"
Personally I believe I'm a Christian because I was raised in a Christian home. Had I been born into a Jewish or a Muslim or an atheist family, I'd probably be one of those faiths. Regardless of who I prayed to or what I believed for the afterlife, I hope I would've tried to be a good person. Sue was completely right. It's "arrogant" to assume my faith is the only mindset that's going to get someone to an ethereal eternity. The Christian in me tells me that God created us all and loves the quirks and differences that make us unique.
Kurt's coming-out as a young gay man has made for heartfelt, honest television. His father and his peers were, indeed, surprised, but adjusted beautifully. And we saw, as this happened, how much happier and more confident Kurt became once he was comfortable not hiding his sexuality.
So when Kurt said he felt like a cruel God had created him flawed in some way, my heart broke. "I think God is kind of like Santa Claus for adults. Otherwise, God's kind of a jerk, isn't he?" he asked his peers, tears running down his face. "When he makes me gay, and then has his followers going around telling me it's something that I chose, as if someone would choose to be mocked every single day of their life!"
The God I believe in did make Kurt gay, just like he made me 5'8" and fair-skinned. Sexual orientation isn't a choice. Even if were, why would any kindhearted person dissuade another from living their life in a way that, while causing no harm, made them happy? No Christian with love in their heart will tell anyone that any God-given, inherent part of who they are is wrong.
The bullying and recent suicides of young LGBT teens across the country are devastating. High school is hell to begin with, but it's even worse when our nation's leaders still promote legislation that discriminates against gays. I hope "Grilled Cheesus" starts a discussion about religion and homosexuality. Everyone should have respect and tolerance for their fellow man, but those of us who profess to be Christian need to jump start this equal rights movement. If we say we believe in doing good things and loving one another, we need to pave the way so that no Kurt, or teen like him, feels defective or immoral because of the way our God created them.
Follow Rebecca Macatee on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@rebeccamacatee