It's probably not a surprise to most people that "Saturday Night Live," which tends to lean left, doesn't agree with the premise of a dozen or so religious freedom bills being debated in state legislatures across the country right now.
It's also probably not a surprise that SNL — which recently labeled Donald Trump supporters as racists twice in one episode — just took things a step further than anyone else, and in doing so underscored just how divided the religious protection vs. gay rights debate is along traditional American fault lines, Christian and not.
On Saturday's show, the sketch comedy mainstay aired a fake movie trailer essentially making fun of Christians who say new laws are necessary to protect them from discrimination when they say no to baking a cake for a gay wedding, for example. Mississippi's governor just signed into law a sweeping version of such a bill. LGBT advocates argue that the laws sanction discrimination against them.
SNL's trailer, titled "God is a Boob Man," spoofs the just-released"God's Not Dead 2," a drama in which a public high school teacher gets in a heap of professional and legal trouble for quoting Jesus to answer a student's question. It aired at the end of this weekend's show.
"God's Not Dead 2" is a sequel to the hit 2014 movie where a Christian college student defends his faith against a liberal philosophy professor. The wildly successful movie made $62 million off just a $2 million budget.
Reaction to SNL's skit was pretty much what you'd expect it to be — either positive or negative, with hardly anything in between. Religious protections vs. gay rights is the social battle of the moment right now as lawmakers grapple with how to govern around a changing definition of marriage and family — against some people's wishes. And as such, there is hardly any gray area for either side to find common ground.
EEW Magazine, a Christian women's magazine, called the skit "tasteless" and said, "In America, mocking Christianity seems to be a growing pastime."
The divide was just as clear on Twitter:
As an aside, we're kind of impressed this guy called it way back in 2014.
Love it or hate it, SNL's sketch underscores one thing: We're in the midst of the next big debate over gay marriage, and the thorny battle between religious freedom and gay rights is at the center of it — perhaps more than ever before.