With the ongoing romantic vampire trend, I will admit I have become a fan of the True Blood series. As for Twilight, I kept getting bored but then I only bothered to watch the first movie and it seemed silly (vampires sparkle?). I will force myself to watch the sequels at some point, maybe it gets better. I’m not sure how a Mormon author justifies writing about such ungodly creatures, but then Mormonism never made sense anyways.
I just finished up Season 2 of True Blood on DVD and if you haven’t watched it (well, don’t read on, spoilers included) one of the major storylines focuses on The Fellowship of the Sun. In this new world of vampires coming out of the closet to get along with humans, it is inevitable that there would be prejudice and a clash of beliefs. The Fellowship of the Sun is similar to a fundamentalist Christian church with a twist–they want to kill vampires in God’s name. This is because vampires are an abomination, much like homosexuals and probably atheists and Unitarians.
Now wanting to be fair, while watching this particular storyline, I wondered if the stereotyping went too far? It wasn’t just that these Christians–which let’s face it are a satire of mainstream activist ministries–were bigoted, but that they took the next step into violence as well as the usual hypocrisy. Being that I have a past with fringe Christianity, I figure I’m a pretty good judge of how believable this scenario would be if vampires did exist. I think the existence of The Fellowship of The Sun makes perfect sense. With interspecies relationships like Bill and Sookie, there certainly would be Biblical objections. Vampires would be considered walking demons, souless and in defiance of God who is the author of life and death. By cheating death and drinking blood to do it, vampires are cheating God. The irony is that Christians pretend to drink blood at least one Sunday each month.
So realistically, I think as humorous as The Fellowship of The Sun is, we would see something of its type appear on the church network and in particular the media (I’m sure James Dobson would be against vampires). However, did the True Blood writers go too far? Does having these Christians use violence to fulfill their gospel mission go over the top?
Anti-abortion groups are the best comparison here in that their violence is well documented and they purport to be Christians. The fact is, the more literal you are about insisting on conception being the start of sanctified life, the more you have to concede that violence is justifiable homocide in defense of lives. Those pro-life groups who insist on nonviolence are borrowing more from Ghandi and hippies than the Bible. Jesus was a willing martyr with a self-glorifying motive, but remember he is still the same God who committed genocide in the Old Testament. The Fellowship of The Sun, I think, could easily be compared to a fringe anti-abortion group, many of whom brandished guns for the day when they would be called on to shoot an abortion doctor. I know, I saw one such gun on the hip of a pro-life leader on a regular basis.
So I do not think it too far-fetched to depict fundamentalist Christians staking vampires. Where the series goes too far is the suicide bomber. It didn’t seem to fit in as we think of the Muslim religion and not the Christian religion with such incidents. We can argue of course that the suicide bomber is a Muslim stereotype and therefore should not be reinforced. Unfortunately for Muslims, there’s plenty of evidence to back that stereotype up. Suicide bombings are a regular occurrence in the Middle East…but not in the United States. I was surprised to see Jason Stackhouse’s competitive rival within The Fellowship of the Sun walk into a room of vampires and blow himself up. It’s not an American thing to do and it’s really not a Christian thing to do. Christians, even when advocating or using violence, do not advocate killing oneself. Peaceful martyrdom could be considered a form of suicide, but I am not aware of any famous incidents where Christians have blown themselves up (feel free to correct me if you have some examples).
And as much fun as True Blood is, the Christian suicide bomber depiction I think could have been left out. It did feel over the top and wasn’t in keeping with how such fringe ministries might react. I would agree that suicide bombing is an act done in the face of overwhelming power and I guess vampires would fit the bill, but still it seems to be lumping in Islamic fanaticism with Christian fanaticism and they don’t really mix well. The two groups act quite differently when it comes to violence. Freethinkers can still enjoy a guilty pleasure in this storyline, I’m merely making an observation to be geeky. Overall True Blood is an addictive show, though I have to say I hated the way Season 2 ended.
SIDENOTE: The DVD set does contain some funny extras with The Fellowship of the Sun ministry leaders teaching us how to be godly. Check out the last disc in the set.