- Deseret News - Friday, August 28, 2015

A new TV show debuted this summer that’s created some controversy among believers and families. It’s called “Impastor” and tells the story of a con man, Buddy Dobbs, who pretends to be a pastor, even though he has no knowledge of the Bible.

The show, which premiered July 15 on TV Land, has pulled in about half a million viewers for every episode. The first episode had 619,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Ratings.

Despite its moderate popularity, “Impastor” has raised eyebrows among TV viewers and believers for its irreverent material and “horrendously offensive premise” of a man lying about being a pastor, according to MovieGuide, a website about family movies and entertainment.

Dobbs also falls into trouble for drug use, other crimes and sexual relations, all of which are offensive to some believers and family friendly viewers, World Religion News reported.

In fact, some family oriented organizations have created campaigns against the show. For example, MovieGuide is so put-off by “Impastor” that it’s asking for donations so it can petition for the show to be taken off the air.

“Movieguide is petitioning TV Land to stop this attack on the church,” the website said. “But we need your help to do so. If you agree with this cause, please help us by saying ‘No’ to this offensive show!”

Similarly, One Million Moms, a website that has previously called out TV shows for their promiscuity and dark themes, has also called for believers to campaign against the show because of the way it paints pastors and religion.

“This show not only depicts pastors in a negative light, but the entire program will also be based on lies about Christianity,” according to One Million Moms. “TV Land has crossed the line by belittling the Christian religion with foul jokes.”

Despite the foul jokes, there is some light toward the end of the first season, when Dobbs realizes his community is the family he’s wanted throughout his life, according to World Religion News.

For executive producer and lead actor Michael Rosenbaum, “Impastor” isn’t meant to mock Christianity or religion. In fact, the show is simply about telling jokes, he told The Observer.

“The thing is we’re not really mocking religion at all. That’s not our intention in any way,” he told The Observer. “We’re just tying to tell good, funny stories here. I will tell you that I know a couple of pastors who have watched the show and they told me they weren’t offended. So take away from this what you will, but all we’re tying to do is tell funny stories about people in interesting situations.”

But some people disagree. The show, whether on purpose or not, depicts Christianity in a negative light, which isn’t helpful for Christian believers in modern times, columnist Mark Snavely wrote for The Savannah Morning News.

Christians need positive views of their religion, Mr. Snavely wrote, especially as Christian leaders continue to raise eyebrows among religious communities and cause concern for believers.

“If there was ever a time for pastors to not be imposters, now is the time,” Snavely wrote. “Now is the time for pastors/preachers to live up to what is written in 2 Corinthians 2:17: ‘Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God’.”

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