An offended Christian is speaking up against the new NBC drama "Rise" for an episode that aired on Tuesday, March 27. The Holy Week episode, which was the show's third airing, featured a storyline about homosexuality that some viewers perceived as anti-Christian.
The plot centered on Simon Saunders (Ted Sutherland), a high school student from a Catholic family, who was cast as a homosexual in the school's production of "Spring Awakening." His staunchly religious parents, however, did not want him to be part of the play so they arranged for his transfer to a private Catholic school.
Learning of his transfer, drama teacher Lou Mazzuchelli (Josh Radnor) visits the parents' home to convince them not to move Simon to a different school. The parents tell the teacher they oppose the themes of "Spring Awakening," which depicts molestation, abortion, premarital and gay sex.
Mazzuchelli, however, defends the play and tells Simon's mom that he believes children should be able to "grow up in the sun and not in the shadows." The teacher also has a conversation with Simon and offers to remove the homosexual scenes in the play, but Simon tells Mazzuchelli the scenes need to stay because they are the truth.
Dawn Slusher of the Media Research Center took objection to the "Rise" storyline's suggestion that Catholics who do not agree with homosexuality are "hiding in the shadows" and unwilling to see the "truth." She criticized the series for opposing Christianity during Holy Week, when Christians everywhere commemorate Jesus' sacrifice.
In an interview with Playbill, the actor who plays Simon, Ted Sutherland, said that honesty was important for his character as he is slowly realizing that he's attracted to the same sex. The actor also said that Simon feels most at home in the theater because he can express his real feelings and he won't allow his parents to have an influence over this.
NBC, meanwhile, has not responded to Slusher's criticism.