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FAITH FRONT; The risk of playing religion straight
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Religion; Entertainment; Disputes; Clergy; Sin; Television programs -- Book of Daniel, The
Author: Winston, Diane
Date: Jan 8, 2006
Start Page: M.2
Section: Current; Part M; Editorial Pages Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

According to "The Book of Daniel," which debuted Friday on NBC, sex, drugs and martinis loom larger in a cleric's life than hunger, poverty and unemployment. In the premiere, Daniel Webster, the rector of a suburban New York Episcopal parish, contended with pill popping, drug dealing, embezzlement, extramarital sex and a longhaired Jesus figure who could front a grunge band.

The crush of problems he confronts within his family would try the patience of a saint, which may explain why he is forever fingering the medicine bottle. His daughter sells pot, and his teenage son is having sex with the daughter of the church's warden. His father, a bishop, is censorious, the diocesan bishop is critical, and his congregants are demanding. His brother-in-law has absconded with his secretary after embezzling church funds intended for a new school, and his sister-in-law is a flake with a penchant for "threesomes." His mother has Alzheimer's, he has lost a son to leukemia, and his confidant, a Catholic priest, has Mafia connections.

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