Should Christians Watch Orange is the New Black?

Credit: Netflix

I wrote this post because I typed the above title into Google the other day and got zero results. Disappointed, I decided to do something about it.

If you want to know about the latest TV shows or the hottest movies, I am the last person you should ask. Seriously. The inane garbage that Hollywood and the TV networks produce doesn’t interest me in the slightest. When my mother raved on and on in an email about the movie Gravity, I didn’t really pay attention. Sandra Bullock in a space movie. Whatever, I thought.

So, I find it ironic that I’m writing about what many people are calling one of the hottest TV shows at the moment. To be honest, I stumbled across it by accident. My sister lets me watch documentaries on her Netflix account (thanks Kay). For some reason, I’m drawn to prison documentaries like Lockup and Behind Bars. I’ve always been afraid that I might end up in prison one day due to my anger, so it’s like preventative therapy. Netflix is good because I can find obscure independent films about prison life or how ex-cons adjust to life after they’re released.

Every time I entered the keyword ‘prison’ on Netflix, Orange is the New Black always appeared in the results. With my strict diet of gritty documentaries and independent dramas, I naturally avoided Orange. Take another look at the promo pic at the top of this post and you’ll see why. The thing looks like a goofy chick-flick comedy, for cryin’ out loud.

Bored and running low on choices one night, I decided to give the first episode of Orange a try. I was pleasantly surprised at the writing and character development. And I love good writing and character development (Peter Bratt’s La Mission is a recent favorite of mine).

Let’s get back to the topic of this post. To support individual Christian opinions, we can use Scripture verses such as Matthew 15:11 (What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them) or the sin catch-all verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (Abstain from every form of evil).

A lot of gray area exists in life, though; some things are not so cut-and-dry. However, as good as Orange is, there are two main things that make me wonder if Christians should be watching it.

1. Sex, Sex, Sex

Lesbian sex scenes. Close-up photos of male and female reproductive anatomy. Lesbian sex scenes. Nude scenes. Sexually-explicit talk. Suggestive scenes…

I understand that the story takes place in a women’s prison, but are there REALLY that many lesbians in such a small area at one time?! And if so, are they REALLY that free to have sex whenever they want in showers and in the chapel?? Of course. That’s what viewers want to see. But, wouldn’t the series still be a hit without all the gratuitous sex scenes? I think so.

Well, then don’t watch it, Topaz. But I want to. Although parts of the show are distracting and tempting to my sinful nature, it’s a good, solid story. So far, I’ve been able to look away or skip past the sex. I don’t know how long I want to keep doing that. It’s frustrating and troublesome.

2. Secular Humanism

It’s obvious that Orange is targeting the middle-class secular market as most TV shows do, but there’s a difference between secularism and overt God Delusion-thumping atheism.

Yes, we know that Piper Chapman, the main character, doesn’t believe in God, but the writers still make her spew all of this:

Piper: I can’t pretend to believe in something I don’t, and I don’t [believe in this]… I believe in science. I believe in evolution. I believe in Nate Silver, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Christopher Hitchens, although I do admit he could be kind of an ***hole. I cannot get behind some Supreme Being who weighs in on the Tony awards while a million people get whacked by machetes. I don’t believe a billion Indians are going to hell. I don’t think that we get cancer to learn life lessons. And I don’t believe people die young because God needs another angel. I think it’s just bull****. And on some level, I think we all know that…

Actually, instead of being offended, I laughed out loud. Really? Is that all you got? I thought.

The main spokesperson for Christianity in the show is a character nicknamed Pennsatucky, a backwoods, uneducated, former meth user who condemns nearly everyone to hell at one point or another. The figurative triumph of atheism over religion in the last episode left me speechless. Really? I’ve seen high-school stage productions with deeper symbolism than that.

There is, however, a Catholic nun character who is locked up for civil disobedience. The few times that she appears in the show, the nun acts as a moral compass. When Sophia, a transgendered inmate, is having personal issues, it’s the nun who supports him her. It’s too bad the nun doesn’t appear in the series more.

The writers take some jabs at Buddhism as well. The inmate who teaches yoga is portrayed as a New-Agey, mumbo-jumbo space cadet. Come to think of it, isn’t yoga based in Hinduism instead of Buddhism? I suppose that, through the lens of humanism, it’s all the same thing anyway.

On a side note, the series is starting to drag midway through the season. I may stop watching because of that.


Update (June 10, 2014):

I began watching season 2, but I only got halfway through episode 2 before I gave up. It appears this new season has even more nudity and left-wing propaganda. I would not recommend this series to Christians after all.


About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

17 responses to “Should Christians Watch Orange is the New Black?

  • alexkellyoc

    I think it really depends on their beliefs-some Christians are open-minded so such shows wouldn’t be a problem for them but others have serious problem with even watching a trailer of something like that.
    Honestly, though, it’s just a TV show, created to attract audience, created by someone,who’s had this idea stuck in their head for awhile and here it is, being popular and gaining more and more followers. Is it a trend? Perhaps, but even a trend leaves a mark of its existence 🙂

    Like I personally know some Christians (myself not being religious at all) that would watch stuff LGBTQA related and wouldn’t matter if it’s filled with lots of sex . It’s a type of art and whoever doesn’t want to watch it or dislikes it, should simply find something more suitable to their taste instead of spreading hateful comments around.

  • Annaliese Maree

    I have never watched orange is the new black, but recently I read an article that said Christians should not watch game of thrones.

    I really think it is up to the individual, whether they can justify it in Gods eyes. I love Game of Thrones. Although it is full of sex scenes and violence, the story is captivating. I do not feel tempted to sin because of watching it.

    We are called to use our discernment. As I read just today, “If your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away: it is better for you to enter into life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into the hell of fire.” (Matt 18:9)

    • Topaz

      Thanks for your comments. I think if we have to justify something in God’s eyes, then that is an indication that we may not want to do it.

      I’m just playing devil’s advocate here (no pun intended):

      Ghost B.C. is a new band that makes incredible retro-style rock music. However, their lyrics literally praise and glorify Satan. I don’t feel tempted to become a Satanist when listening, though, so is it okay for me to continue to enjoy their music?

      • Annaliese Maree

        Wow, excellent response! I have nothing to say to that, haha. It is an great point though. When pose the question to myself, would the saints watch Game of Thrones, the resounding answer is NO! Some wonderful food for thought. Thank you
        Topaz 🙂

      • Topaz

        Believe me, I would love to rock out to Ghost B.C. again, but it would go against everything I believe. (I’m NOT insinuating that you’re bad for watching Game of Thrones.)

        I probably would have checked it out if I had cable TV…

      • Annaliese Maree

        Hahaha, I didn’t think I was bad for doing so. Its important to challenge ourselves and refuse to stay ‘luke warm’ towards these sorts of things. I appreciate the chat! Following your blog now 🙂

      • Topaz

        Thank you. I also appreciate chatting with you. I am now following your blog as well! Gorgeous photos.

      • ronny

        I really dont think it s ok. We are talking about music that praises satan dude… I think thats going too far…
        if we should really hate what God hates….
        Take it in this way: Would you hang out with a dude whom you know your partner rightfully hates with all her heart? Maybe just because he seems kinda cool?…..

        Btw sorry for bad engl

  • idonthaveanameforthisblog

    I’ve been watching this show and ugh, one line from it is ringing in my ears and I feel horrible and like I sinned just hearing it. I want to keep watching the show but if that happens again, I won’t be able to… but oh gosh. 😥 i can’t get it out of my head, it’s a horrible beyond horrible line. :/

  • Michelle

    so yeah… i’ve quit other shows for being so anti christian (i.e house of cards, The Americans, etc), anyways, these shows have outright blatantly insulted Christianity and it just didnt feel right watching them, how can I support and watch something that totally disrespects God, (no matter how freaking good the shows are). I know it sounds dumb but it was really hard to give up these shows because I honestly love tv but I felt like i couldnt ignore the constant degrading remarks about Christianity. Now, what all these shows had in common was the constant hateful content on christianity ( H.O.C had the president spit in the face of a Jesus Christ statue and Americans had the main character rip the pages of the bible and calling it a book of lies). Obviously I couldnt continue watching with a right conscious with God. But OITNB always had snide remarks here and there but nothing was too blatant like the other shows so I kept watching. Now I feel like in season 3 they are really putting out their left wing agenda and painting all Christians as bible thumping homophobes, and as a result, theyre making more and more anti christian comments. I feel like I gotta drop the show now ( there is also a verse in the bible about doubting whether or not something is a sin, although its talking about food it still applies). Check out NLT version of romans 14:23. Anyways, This really sucks, but its the right thing to do at least I believe. Sorry for the novel/rant.

  • Jack

    Read Philippians 4:8 if you need an explanation as to why Christians should not watch garbage like this.

  • Susan Witherspoon

    Should a Christian watch this show? No.

  • Tony

    Would Jesus watch it. Would you sit and watch it with Him or your pastor? Does it edify you? What spirit is operation in and over it. Come on. Are we luke warm? Be ye separate!

  • Wes W.

    This comment is waaaay late to the topic, but just had to chime in.

    I base my watching decisions on what I am supporting. Sure, I could justify watching the “bad stuff” (ie constant swearing, unnecessarily graphic sex scenes) saying I don’t support it and it doesn’t affect me. But by watching it I give implicit support for it and, by doing so, let the producers of these shows think that I am in favor of it, I like it, and to please make more of the same. Hollywood runs on money. If no one watches these shows, they will quit making it. There are many great programs that develop characters and tell challenging stories without relying so heavy on sex/violence/antiChristianity. They are not all squeaky clean. I recognize we can’t avoid it all the time. But sometimes you just gotta say no. I have a feeling that if most Christians stopped watching a lot of these shows, it would have a big dent in the viewership, and that could form the decisions producers make on what kind of content they should produce. I guess it starts with me and my family, so I am doing what I can.

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