Religious and moral issues in soaps and dramas

A soap or soap opera is a programme that originally takes its name from American programmes that were sponsored by soap companies. These programmes were targeted at mainly a female audience. They are serials that are screened several times a week and have interlocking stories based in a community. Soaps and religious issues go hand in hand because there are so many different issues that the people who watch the soap find interesting, or can even relate to the issue. People want to see how other people cope in different situations.

The soap Eastenders revolves around a community in the east end of London whose main characters live and work around a market square and a public house called the Queen Victoria. One moral issue in Eastenders is that Kat Slater is pregnant by an ex-boyfriend and doesn’t know what to do with the baby. She hasn’t told the father and is considering her options, whether to have an abortion or to keep it. The only other person who knows is her friend Alfie. Christian values teach that abortion is wrong but it seems to her to be the only way to resolve the matter.

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She doesn’t want the father, Antony, to know because Kat’s daughter, Zoe had been in a relationship with him previously, which had caused much distress. She had decided to go ahead with the abortion but her friend Alfie persuaded her to look at the issues. If she had taken the decision to abort Zoe, many years before, she wouldn’t have her much loved daughter now. Alfie is able to change her mind and she decides to keep the baby. The soap dealt with this issue because it is very topical and although many people are not practicing Christians, the subject of abortion is still a moral issue of taking or preserving a human life.

Many other religions preach the sanctity of life including Hinduism, which says that life is sacred and should not be destroyed. The storyline could have been dealt with differently. Kat could have told the father which perhaps would have been the morally correct thing to do, as it was his child as well. By talking to someone else, the issues were dealt with well, and the outcome was good. I think that the issue was dealt with quite well because it made the audience think that there are other solutions to abortion, and it is a good idea to talk to others when facing such a huge moral issue.