Christian Leaders Say ’13 Reasons Why’ Romanticizes Suicide

A popular television series that showcases the story of a teenager who dies by suicide is troubling many people, as schools and Christian leaders alike warn parents about its graphic themes, urging them to not let their children see it.

The Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” is based off of the young adult novel of the same name by Jay Asher and was executive produced by Selena Gomez. Each installment follows audio recordings left by a 17-year-old named Hannah Baker for her peers articulating the reasons why she chose to kill herself.

Writing on his website Thursday, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he believed the series could tempt teens to attempt suicide because of the way it’s portrayed as a solution to problems.

“What concerns me about the show is that the central conceit of the series feeds one of the drivers of teenage suicide, and that is the sense of suicide as storyline,” Moore said.

“Many depressed teenagers that I’ve talked to over the years, and others with suicidal tendencies, don’t actually want to be dead as much as they want to end one story and start another. In many cases, the suicide becomes, in the imagination, the way to resolve storylines that one sees no other way to resolve.”

The episodes also reportedly contain instances of rape and sexual assault, underage drinking, driving under the influence, body shaming, and an explicit scene showing the teenager’s suicide.

Julia Jefress Sadler, who is the girls ministry director at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, noted in an op-ed piece in CP Friday that when she heard about the show she was ready to criticize it for its dark thematic content, but was not prepared for its “overwhelming accuracy.”

The main issue of this series is actually not suicide, she argued, but the victim mentality it furthers, which is different from being a victim of an injustice.

“Victim mentality is letting other people rule your life or, in Hannah Baker’s case, letting other people ruin your life,” Sadler noted.

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Source: Christian Post |  BRANDON SHOWALTER