Things are about to get sexy on The Bachelorette, but not in the way you might expect.
We’ve all heard Hannah Brown‘s iconic line, “I have had sex and Jesus still loves me” from the promos, and based on what we’ve now heard from Chris Harrison, those scenes have more to do with the Jesus than the sex.
“It’s not as much sex as it is religion, which is a very interesting topic,” he says. “It’s not a topic we dive into a lot because it really depends on the Bachelor or Bachelorette and how strong their faith is and what it means to them, and how you define that, and I think it’s going to be a great topic of debate.”
When it comes to religious debates, like the kind that Hannah and Luke P. will be having in the coming weeks, you can look at history to see how that might go, Harrison says.
“I’m a faithful person myself,” he says. “Religion is something that I believe—and hopefully we all believe—should bond everybody together and it should create peace, but what we all know from history is that it actually rarely does. It actually creates more wars than anything in the world, and that is what is interesting because faith and religion is actually all about perspective and how you perceive it and how you define it, which is what creates the wars.”
So what does that mean for Hannah and Luke?
“Hannah and Luke are on this crash course of defining religion and defining faith and defining these conservative values and what it mean to them, and if there is not a better topic for our country to debate in the coming weeks, it’s this,” Harrison says. “It is fascinating. I think our show is always good about pushing the social values of these social debates. We don’t create them, we don’t invent them, but we’re going to expose it and show it, and I think it’s fascinating to talk about.”
Harrison says Hannah’s line about Jesus still loving her “really encapsulated” what was happening in the moment.
“It’s very rare when a Bachelor or Bachelorette or somebody even in life can just all of a sudden bring everything together in one line, and that really did,” he says. “That one line kind of encapsulated everything that was going on.”
Comparisons have been made to Kaitlyn Bristowe’s season, which also dealt with sex and shaming a woman over sex, but this is a different conversation, Harrison says.
“Hannah’s season’s more dealing on a religious and conservative line, and more about values, and what do your values mean? And how do you define them? And how someone else defines them, and then how does that impact your life? And whose perspective should weigh more?” he explains.
In terms of her religion, Harrison says Hannah’s thoughts are clear: “This is my body, this is my life, I’m making these decisions, and this is my God who I believe loves me, and everyone else be damned.”
Not everyone seems to share that opinion.
“If you’re in a relationship with someone who doesn’t believe in what you’re saying, what’s the effect on that and how do you deal with it? That’s what we’re going to be talking about, and that’s what’s going to come to a head very soon.”
This examination of religion, especially when it comes to sex and everything related to it, isn’t just happening on the show. It’s also happening in government, as various states have been putting restrictions on reproductive healthcare and particularly women’s healthcare.
Harrison says you can’t really ever predict where a Bachelor or Bachelorette will ever take the show, so it was sort of a coincidence that The Bachelorette just so happened to be about a religious woman standing up for herself against more traditional, conservative religious beliefs this season, but the show was always going to follow Hannah wherever she took it.
“I think if I we were scripting this, we wouldn’t have had someone like Luke dominate the landscape for so long and so heavily,” he says. “I don’t think if I was scripting a show that that would be the best television, but that’s where we are. You can’t predict these things, but where Hannah has taken us really brought up this very touchy sensitive subject and we’re not going to shy away from it.”
Stay tuned for more from our chat with Harrison on Monday, including just how dark things are going to get.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.