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Religious Fallacy in Pastor Skip’s Character

Saved! , the United Artists 2004 religious comedy film that was directed by Brian Dannelly and produced by Michael Ohoven, Sandy Stern, Michael Stripe, and William Vince, delved on the norms on social acceptance that was prevailing in American Eagle Christian High School. Being a conservative Christian school, the story then revolves around the character of Mary Cummings, which was portrayed by Jena Malone, specifically in her personal struggles that resulted from being impregnated out of wedlock.

The film, being filled with religious undertones on topics such as homosexuality, hypocrisy, religious ultra-fundamentalism, and outright biblical comedic cynicisms, takes on several societal dilemmas, of which Pastor Skip, played by Martin Donovan, becomes one of the more interesting subjects to be examined. As principal and pastor of the aforementioned High School, it was evident that Pastor Skip had his own personal struggles to confront which had influenced his decisions in life, specifically on his son and his estranged wife, as was evidenced in several instances that clearly exhibited this reality.

Pastor Skip As the film was centered on American Eagle Christian High School, its community was presented as the representation of the society. This enhances Pastor Skip’s importance not only in the social structure of the community, but more significantly in the spiritual formation of the youth. Although the film is a comedy in its entirety, the fact cannot be ignored that several lines in the film were blatant jabs at the prevailing situations in several ultra-conservative religious congregations.

One of these was Mary’s realistic and sagacious observation on the existing standards practiced by Pastor Skip: “So everything that doesn’t fit…what you think God wants, you just try to hide or fix or get rid of? It’s just all too much to live up to. No one fits in one hundred percent of the time, not even you” (Saved! ). As the story progressed, the audience is allowed to view Pastor Skip in a more human manner and with his inherent weaknesses, which are his personal struggles and his biases in his practice as a pastor.

Most evident of these is his apparent belief that every decision must be based on the Bible, even if there are circumstances that exceptions must be considered. This was the main reason why his son, Patrick, seemed to be detached from him, as it was made to appear to the student populace that his wife is on a religious mission outside of the country, when in truth they are separated. Perhaps this problem was the reason for the father and son’s disagreement, wherein Pastor Skip remarked, “The Bible is black and white!

” (Saved! ). For Pastor Skip, there is a clear demarcation line that separates good from bad; righteousness from evil; and biblical from worldly. For him and his personal standards of Christianity, a society must conform to these standards at all times and at all costs. Perhaps this would have not presented any problem in his character in the film if he had truly lived his life in accordance with his principles, but it was obvious that he possesses several shortcomings.

Two of these immediately present themselves after viewing the film. One is his illicit relationship with Mary’s mother, that although she was a widow, he is still legally married to his wife. Second is his abrupt and insensitive decision to expel Cassandra, who was the only Jew in the school, simply on the grounds presented by his favorite student, Hillary Faye. Hence, based on these arguments, Pastor Skip’s definition of Christianity is in direct contrast to what he preaches.

For him, Christianity is an exclusive religion whose only concern should be limited to those who abide by the rules set by the Bible, according to his interpretation, and anyone who chose not to believe should be cast out. However, a particular scene seemed to suggest a transformation in the character of Pastor Skip. This involved the scene wherein he was seen by Mary’s mom from the hospital window pacing back and forth, as if contemplating if he truly wanted to pursue her or simply forego with his emotions for her.

What is worth noting is the fact that the said scene occurred after the commotion had already happened in the prom, wherein finally, Hillary Faye’s hypocrisy had been exposed, causing several of the students to question their religiosity. As such, this scene represented the reconciliation of his previous ultra-conservative stance with the reality that certain things in life truly call for a compromise between austerity and lenience. After all, social issues such as divorce and single parenthood had been in existence for countless ages.

Conclusion Perhaps what God truly intends for mankind is to be faithful in His scriptures as they are to his fellow men. Perhaps also this was the reason why laws on divorce and several other concerns were passed among hundreds of generations, from the Old Testament to the contemporary times. In this respect, it would definitely be conforming to the scriptures if Pastor Skip would be prioritizing to correct the problem within his family, and if situations would later prove to be irredeemable, to pursue his emotions towards Mary’s mother.

More importantly, the strictness of his religiosity should be more accommodating of human weaknesses, particularly in our failure to conform with the existing religious standards, as it was the Lord Jesus Himself who had said that He came not for the righteous but for the sinners, and overturning His tenet would be tantamount to spiritual fallacy. Work Cited Saved! Dir. Brian Dannelly. 2004. United Artists, 2010.

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