Religion Morality & The Secret Life of the American Teen

As presented in the article “Religion Among the Millennials,” the Millennial generation does not hold religion to be as important in their lives as compared to older generations. This includes attending decreased attendance of religious ceremonies and praying, and a more “lenient” attitude toward their beliefs (especially Christianity).  “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” portrays religions and religious morality in a Millennial fashion. While the “IT” couple, Jack and Grace, at the school are the individuals who are the most attractive, most popular, and most viewed in a sexual way, the couple is in fact extremely religious. There are few interesting themes that are exhibited in terms of how religion is portrayed in reference to this couple. First, it is ironic that Grace is the most sought after girl at the school, even though she has made a promise with her parents that she will not engage in pre-marital sex. Boys at the school are flirting with her left and right, and don’t regard her religious beliefs or even her boyfriend as a boundary. It shows how these teen Millennials don’t necessarily believe that other teens or people take their religion that seriously, and are usually more than willing to bend the rules. Second, the fact that Jack seriously doubts whether he can wait until he marries Grace to have sex. The statistics presented in the Pew Forum that demonstrate how Millennials don’t regard religion as important in their lives as much, is exhibited in Jack’s thoughts of doubt. Since I have not seen the show before, I can’t say whether or not Jack is able to hold his promise with Grace, but I’m pretty he’s going to have sex with another girl on the show, Adrian, that has already shown interest in pursuing / ruining Grace and Jack’s relationship. Third, in the way that Adrian and other characters on the show perceive the religious couple, it’s almost as if Jack and Grace are seen as being freakish, in that being so religious is seen as so old fashion and conservative. In this way, be religious is conveyed as being out of the norm, which parallels the Millennial statistics.

The morality of abortions is also brought to light in this episode. When Amy confesses to her friends that she is pregnant, one friend suggests that she has options in that she can get an abortion, while the other friend is completely horrified and disgusted at the idea of Amy getting an abortion. The topic of pro-life or pro-choice has obvious religious ties, and once again this parallels the Pew Forum statistics that Millennials are basically split on their decision whether they believe abortion should be legal. Furthermore, due to the sexualized nature of the teenage students, glorifying the religious couple and also perceiving them as weird, portrays religion in a Millennial manner.

 

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One response to “Religion Morality & The Secret Life of the American Teen

  1. Kai

    I thought this was a really insightful discussion of religion in Millennial Media. I also thought it was interesting that although Grace and her beliefs about sex seem to be glorified, she is also the one who loses out. Her boyfriend cheats on her with Adrian, the promiscuous girl. I think Jack expressed his struggle to Grace really well, saying something like, “I’m trying hard to be both a man and a Christian,” where he’s essentially saying that his biological desires are clashing with his religious beliefs. I really liked when he confessed that to Grace because it made him seem more Millennial and relateable somehow. The show implies that the desire to have sex is universal, it normalizes teen urges and acknowledges them.

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