Nothing will turn a conversation awkward faster than bringing up religion. So let's do that now! Then we can talk about politics!
It's no exaggeration to say that the vast majority of people worldwide belong to one religion or another -- about 84 percent, actually. That figure holds in the United States, too, where about 76 percent claim Christianity, another 7 percent identify with another faith, and just 16 percent are agnostic, atheist, or unaffiliated. (Another 1 percent either don't know or didn't answer the question. I assume they didn't answer. I mean, if YOU don't know what religion you are, who does?)
A vast majority of Americans also watch movies at least occasionally. And yet despite the huge role that religion and movies play in our lives, the two don't overlap very much. Most movie characters aren't religious unless it's the central, defining aspect of their character, or unless they're Irish or Italian and therefore obligated to be Catholic. Religious people in movies tend to be portrayed as kinda nutty, too -- and make your jokes, but obviously that's not true in real life. More than four-fifths of the people around you claim a religious affiliation. They can't ALL be crazy.
This new biweekly column, Cinemaligion ("Reel Religion" was too played-out), will discuss the way matters of faith and spirituality are treated in movies. Let us begin by addressing that insightful study of small-town religion, Footloose. Kick off your Sunday shoes and let's go!