I saw it pop up a couple times on my Facebook and Twitter feeds last night. The character of Satan on episode 3 of “The Bible” miniseries looked eerily familiar. I didn’t really notice it when it happened which is weird because I am usually always playing the “that guy looks like so and so” game. Like Daniel from “The Bible” last night who looked like an Adrian Brody and Hugh Jackman’s combo baby. I thought maybe my friends were the only ones to see the resemblance.
Then I saw on BuzzFeed this morning that my virtual friends were not alone when they played the “looks like” game.
Before I go full “internet rage” on this subject I feel like I should start by saying that the most I have said about “The Bible” so far is given a warning to watch carefully and then a series of positive tweets/posts and even a few that I find hilarious. I haven’t picked apart the show like many are doing because a lot of good has come from the show in my own home. It has given me the chance to have great discussions with each of my boys on their level of understanding about the Biblical events. It has even led to some fun conversations for my wife and I. How can I get mad at that? So to this point, while liberties have been taken with the text, I believe “The Bible” has been ok.
But with this recent…coincidence (at least, that’s what I expect will come out from the Burnett/Downey camp soon) I am disappointed and I think that they just tipped their hand as to who “The Bible” was really created for.
To me, “The Bible” was pitched as a way to reach out to my friends, family, and loved ones who don’t follow Jesus and create an opportunity to dialogue with them about faith. But so far many of the events and moments that I believe present God as worth following are missing or glossed over in favor of the miraculous and powerful, gruesome and violent.
Then with this Satan who looks like our president (again, assuming this was intentional) I think it has really shown me who “The Bible” was for – those who are already Christian and part of the “God is an American Republican” crowd. I was hoping this wasn’t true, but on most of my social media feeds the only people talking about “The Bible” are Christians. None of my non-Christian friends are watching or more importantly, discussing. This was a huge missed opportunity and the Obama as Satan thing is potentially very divisive.
Personally, I find it in poor taste. Jesus was not known by the people that He hated but by His love for all – including the hated tax collectors, whores, and others who “normal people” wanted nothing to do with. This portrayal of Obama as Satan doesn’t help teach us to love our enemies but to elevate them to something beyond human and turn them into something far more sinister so that we can hate them freely.
From the mouth of Jesus Himself in Matthew 5.43-48 “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others?”
You’re going to have a hard time convincing me that if indeed a conscious decision was made to make this Satan/Obama hybrid (Sobama? Obatan?) that it was done in a loving and “pray for your enemies” way. And to be fair, the far right duo of Burnett and Downey aren’t the only ones to do this type of thing. In Season 1 of “Game of Thrones” George W. Bush’s head appeared on a spike. Awful.
But in the case of “The Bible” they missed a chance to present God as gracious to all, loving, and caring. God feels incredibly impersonal in the series and the actual Scriptures present the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as anything but. When most people struggle to see God as being actively involved or caring this series does nothing to show that He does care except for those who are “in” but instead points to people who are most definitely “out”.
With the move of portraying Obama as Satan (allegedly) they are not just disagreeing with “the other side” but they are demonizing them. As my friend stated “It is below the level of discourse we should be having.”
I fear with this move and what appears to me to be a show created for a very specific audience, the show may be moving away from creating discussions to creating shouting matches which, of course, we know there is nothing *Jesus loves more than when we vilify those who are created in His image simply because we disagree with them.
The world is ready for a show to advance the discussion about Jesus, God and faith. Sadly, because of things like what I’ve mentioned, I don’t believe that “The Bible” is going to be it. Instead, it may stunt that discussion and has the potential to actually set it back quite a bit.
*He doesn’t actually love that. It was internet sarcasm.