James Gandolfini's sudden death has sparked some religious debate on two fronts.
Some people object to the fact that a popular actor's death gets far more press than people who have "accomplished much more for the greater good".
Others (or in some cases, the same people) are frustrated that his major claim to fame is having portrayed the part of Tony Soprano, the "likable" brutal mobster.
In the comments section of a post on The Episcopal Cafe, editor Jim Naughton counters these two objections:
Expect no apologies from the Cafe for giving a man who created an iconic role on one of the most significant and morally complex programs in television history his due.
And while I am at it: Church folks, if you feel the need to deliver instruction to the broader population on how its most innocent pleasure reveal how far it has fallen below the high standards that you uphold, take a breath. No one is going to attend a church whose leaders make a specialty of telling people that the things they care about are not actually important and that they should hold their immediate reactions in check until they are validated by their moral superiors.
David Chase and James Gandolfini explored the nature of evil and complicity at a depth not reached by any preacher I've ever heard. They didn't undermine my faith, they deepened it.
As of yet, I haven't seen any of The Sopranos: I don't have HBO, and the series I watch tend to be viewed with my wife who doesn't like violent shows (although exceptions were made for all of Joss Whedon's canon).
But my sense is that Jim is spot on here...