SNL Religious Spoofs

Celebrating its 40th year, Saturday Night Live is known to tackle controversial events head on. This week’s episode included sketches on a new religious freedom bill and a parody on Scientology.

The late night comedy sketch show touched on Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which was issued to address a national debate over the balance between religious liberty and anti-gay discrimination. The show mocks an Indiana pizza shop that has announced they will not cater same-sex marriages now that their decision is protected by the new bill.

In a CNN Newsroom skit, comedic actress Cecily Strong, as a CNN anchorwoman, describes a “re-enactment” of the pizza shop owner (played by Michael Keaton) turning away gay customers.

ABC57 describes the town of Walkerton, Indiana as “a small-town business, with small-town ideals.” Of the decision to refuse service to gays, Crystal O’Connor, one of the owners, says “I don’t think it’s discrimination. It’s supposed to help people that have a religious belief. We are a Christian establishment.”

Christianity wasn’t the only target, as SNL shifted the focus to Scientology in a mock 90’s music video for “Neurotology.” The video is in the same vein as HBO’s Going Clear documentary, questioning the status of the religion’s members. The song’s lyrics parody Scientology beliefs and L. Ron Hubbard’s famous Dianetics (renamed “Diametrics”), among other literature, is spoofed in the clip.

Last month, SNL took on radical Islam with a divisive skit showing a young woman (played by host Dakota Johnson) leaving home to join ISIS, spoofing a Toyota Camry commercial.

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