Part 5 in the series: What Has Become Acceptable to Christian Moviegoers?
I suppose any content element can be defended. I've done it myself with "Schindler's List," "Dead Man Walking" and "Tsotsi," finding their spiritual profundity more illuminating than their offenses were off-putting. But we accept an awful lot in the name of entertainment. The worse offense, both of the entertainment community and Christians who purchase movie tickets, is the abuse of holy matters. How is it that we continue to allow our Savior's name or our Creator's to be misused in film after film without letting someone know we're offended? We are offended, right?
Here's an argument I've heard: "Well, I think God would be more upset by the wrongs we commit daily to our fellow man."
The first four instructions written on tablets of stone by the finger of God had to do with our need to reverence Him. Here's the third Commandment: "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name" (Exodus 20:4 NIV). This came before His rulings concerning how we treat one another.
I found 32 examples throughout the Bible where we were instructed to reverence God. So, if the Bible truly is the Word of God, is it too simplistic to suggest that the core problem with today's standards is a disregard for God's commands? And although we have been turning a deaf ear to the media's usage of blasphemy for quite some time, should we continue to do so?
Christians need to stop hiding their heads in the sand, declaring "Oh, I just tune those words out." Whether you attend movies or not, the media affect your life, and nothing's going to change until we begin to seek change.
I've been talking about profanity in films for two decades only to receive either mocking smirks or dismissive pats on the shoulder. Let me ask you, am I wrong? Are the smirkers right? And if you think I'm right, well, what are you doing about it?
We need to band together, not to ban the media, but to lovingly reach out and make them understand that while we agree that man needs to be respected, that bigotry and prejudice must end, God must also be shown regard. And if some moviemakers don't believe in God, they still need to respect those who do.
Write to them.
COLUMBIA PICTURES, 10202 W. Washington, Culver City, CA 90232-3195.
WALT DISNEY COMPANY, 500 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES, 5555 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038
TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035
WARNER BROTHERS, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522
NEW LINE CINEMA, 888 7th Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10106
UNIVERSAL PICTURES, 100 Universal City, Universal City, CA 91608
MGM, 2500 Broadway St., Santa Monica, CA 90404-3061
Often in our frustration we react with anger and wordiness. Very seldom does this tactic present us in our best light. You might try a little tenderness.
I'm grateful that your industry is sensitive to all groups that make up our country, being careful not to offend them in speech or action. With the film community's efforts the world has become aware that to truly make strides toward peace, we need to show respect for one another.
At the same time, the profane use of God's name or Christ's can be heard in film after film. We in the Christian community have failed to bring this to your attention, that the inclusion of profanity (an irreverent use of God's name) is offensive to Christians. While we have remained passive until now, we are finally coming together on this issue and feel we must refrain from supporting entertainment that shows irreverence to our Creator.
We are not asking for censorship, just sensitivity.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your creative work in the film industry. May God bless you.
A hundred thousand letters making a simple but non-abusive statement will send a message.
Alas, a few well-intentioned letters may not do it. Members of the media need to hear from thousands of us. Let's take a lesson from those who have effectively banded together. Minority groups have changed the political, social and entertainment scenes in America because they found a common ground – the rights of all mankind. Certainly, there is a difference when it comes to Christian rights. We really have none. Our first priority must be to love and sacrifice, so this must not be seen as a demand for civil liberty. Our declaration is about honoring the Sovereign of the Universe, not ourselves. It's going to take a million Believers to catch the media's attention. We've got our job cut out.
What else can we do?
Would petitions with thousands of names attached and sent to studios be effective? Would seeking the assistance of someone such as Mike Huckebee help our cause? Approaching someone familiar with the workings of both the political and entertainment fields could open doors (especially one who has both a radio and TV outlet). On his weekend Fox television program, Gov. Huckebee has often shown interest both in movies and in getting positive messages out to the public – including testimonies of the Christian faith. What if we sent a petition to him? Would Governor Huckebee ignore a petition with 100,000 names attached? I think not.
Along with those suggestions, remember this: Hollywood wins when you pluck down the money for a ticket or order a film from Netflix. If you read the content sections found in reviews by Christian critics that should help with your choices. We're not talking about banning, just making responsible choices. Letters and petitions send a message, but a lack of box office tally that's what will turn the tide.
I fear an apathetic response to this call to battle. Does anyone see what I see? If so, let's work together, and with Christ's compassion, take a stand. When the world sees the Christian community unite with this message, they'll have to reexamine the name of Jesus.
"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be your name" (KJV).
"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name" (NIV).
"Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name (TLB).