A new world of religious satire illuminated through the layers of religion and humor that make up the The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy.
Drawing on the worldviews put forth by three wildly popular animated shows – The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy– David Feltmate demonstrates how ideas about religion’s proper place in American society are communicated through comedy. The book includes discussion of a wide range of American religions, including Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Native American Religions, New Religious Movements, “Spirituality,” Hinduism, and Atheism. Along the way, readers are shown that jokes about religion are influential tools for teaching viewers how to interpret and judge religious people and institutions.
Feltmate, develops a picture of how each show understands and communicates what constitutes good religious practice as well as which traditions they seek to exclude on the basis of race and ethnicity, stupidity, or danger. From Homer Simpson’s spiritual journey during a chili-pepper induced hallucination to South Park’s boxing match between Jesus and Satan to Peter Griffin’s worship of the Fonz, each show uses humor to convey a broader commentary about the role of religion in public life.Through this examination, an understanding of what it means to each program to be a good religious American becomes clear.
Drawn to the Gods is a book that both fans and scholars will enjoy as they expose the significance of religious satire in these iconic television programs.
David Feltmate is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Auburn University at Montgomery where he conducts research in the sociology of religion, the sociology of humor, religion and popular culture, religion and mass media, and sociological theory.