Showtime's TV series "Dexter," whose sympathetic portrayal of a serial killer already plumbs the depths of depravity, managed to sink to a new low by adding blasphemy to its formula of grisly vigilante murder. Two promotional videos released by Showtime, previewing Season 6 of "Dexter," mingled sacred images with the show's recurring theme of vigilante murder.
The first video (cynically titled "Thank God"), showed serial killer Dexter Morgan walking through a room of statues of Jesus, angels, and Catholic saints and ruminating on his purpose in life - which just happens to be murdering guilty people.
In the video, Dexter openly considered his compulsion to kill as a "calling." Speaking of his need to kill, Dexter argued: "Maybe it's not a need, but a calling. After all, I rid the world of evil people. If they didn't exist, neither would I. Is it possible I serve a higher purpose?"
Really? The Christian God "calls" a man to murder guilty people?
Underscoring the first video's blasphemous message, Showtime presented another trailer that mocked Christianity. In that trailer, Dexter was shown killing a man (who murdered his wife) with a tattoo of Jesus. As he is about to be killed, the murdered man screams: "You cannot kill me, for God is a mighty fortress. And I have been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and he will protect me." Shots of statues of Christ and angels were also featured prominently in this video, as well.
Considering the grisly plot of "Dexter" and the character's scorn for religion in previous seasons, the Christian imagery is especially offensive.
The plot of "Dexter" is simple - and morally troubling. The show is about a serial killer named Dexter Morgan, who works as a bloodstain pattern analyst by day for the police, and as a serial killer of evil people at night.
Learning of his urge to kill, his step-father taught him the "code of Harry" - which was designed to channel Dexter's murderous urges to attack only guilty people (a code which he bends on several occasions).
Essentially, "Dexter" paints a vigilante serial killer as a sympathetic character and anti-hero, who only kills evil people who deserve their fate.
What makes the religious overtones of the two videos even more galling is the fact that the character of Dexter Morgan has demonstrated his disbelief in God or Hell on numerous occasions in previous episodes. He stated in the episode "Waiting to Exhale," while walking into a church: "If I believed in God - If I believed in sin - this is the place where I'd be sucked straight to Hell ... if I believed in Hell."
Is Dexter Morgan now justifying his dark urges by referring to his grisly work a calling?
The contempt and scorn for Christianity shown by Showtime's promo videos is palpable, and as with its series "The Borgias," Showtime is unconcerned about offending Christians in general and Catholics in particular. Until Showtime promos a serial killer walking in through an Islamic mosque or a Buddhist monastery and considering his murderous work a calling, Christian viewers can only assume the network disdains their faith.