If you wish to avoid Fringe-related spoilers (up through the beginning of season 3), do not read this post.
My lady and I have been watching Fringe. We started a month ago and have just watched the seventh episode of the third season, titled “The Abducted.” In this episode, the story centers on a group of religious fanatics sapping children’s pituitary glands to concoct an anti-aging serum in the alternate universe. It is, admittedly, a particularly weak episode. It’s not very surprising given that this is not a pattern-related story. There is a fair amount of convenient (read:lazy) writing and an overreliance on cliches and tropes.
However, it did present a troublesome question that is getting a lot of attention these days. Government agents visit a newly formed—but ostensibly legitimate—church to ask for a roster of male congregants. My immediately reaction was a vehement “NO!” My followers will know that I am no fan of religion. I have plenty of negative things to say of both religious thought and organized religion. However, religion persecution can quickly become a concern and demanding the rolls from a religious group in the name of security is en egregious overstep.
Fans of the show will likely respond by noting that the Other universe went Post-“Patriot Act” nutso—albeit for different reasons—on a unimaginable scale, but I can easily image that viewers might see this a think little of it.
I say all of that to segue to this: Lamar Smith of Texas of SOPA-writing fame has, at face value, been trying to instigate legislation to police the internet to stop child pornographers, a noble cause. His means, however, are unacceptable and undoubtedly influenced by the massive money holders and interested parties lobbying for SOPA and other such legislation. The prosecution of sexual offenders cannot have as a side-effect the persecution of American subcultures. Ever. PERIOD.