Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Facing the Moral Midgets

These Baptist preachers made a movie about a football team that wins because of their faith. Hollywood rated it PG. Some are not happy about this -- here's the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — A low-budget, inspirational football movie made by Baptist pastors in Georgia has triggered a flood of attacks by Christian groups that accuse Hollywood's main trade association of penalizing the film by giving it a PG rating.

In the last week alone, the Motion Picture Assn. of America, which oversees the rating board, has been swamped with more than 15,000 e-mails arguing that "Facing the Giants" deserves a more family-friendly G rating. The complaints — the number of which may be 10 times the previous record for reaction to a ratings decision — say the movie is being unfairly targeted for its religious themes.

The filmmakers say they were told that those themes had prompted the PG rating. MPAA officials deny that was the reason. Christians on Football Film: Give Us a G!

Well, they can deny it, but the fact is, nobody knows how they decide what rating to give a movie. It's a big secret.

Remember, "PG" stands for "Parental Guidance." They don't turn anybody away, they're just giving parents a heads up.

Let me tell you a true personal story -- I'm going to be vague in case anyone thinks they recognize themselves here. A while back, my daughter was invited by a neighborhood friend to go spend a summer week at a cabin at a lake up north. We'd met the other girl's father before, we didn't know him well but he seemed all right, so we said OK.

Well, guess what -- all the way there, my daughter said, she got lectured about how rotten she was because of her "liberal upbringing," and how she was going to hell because of her not-born-again parents. And when they got to the cabin, the dad made the kids watch a video about how evolution was a big fake, and only sinners believed in it ... and it went downhill from there. It was nothing but preaching, day and night, trying to get my poor kid to let Jesus into her heart.

My daughter called us in the middle of the night, and we had to arrange an escape. I was going to drive up, but a sympathetic family member agreed to drive her to the airport, and we flew her home.

It was no place for a child to be. My kid was scared, and I was concerned about what might happen.

That was a situation that called for Parental Guidance. Majorly.

Listen to these guys:
Across the Internet and on talk radio, religious groups and conservative commentators have seized on the rating flap as evidence that Hollywood is anti-Christian. And the third-ranking House Republican has written to MPAA Chief Executive Dan Glickman demanding answers.

"This incident raises the disquieting possibility that MPAA considers exposure to Christian themes more dangerous for children than exposure to gratuitous sex and mindless violence," said Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

The problem is, these guys are used to having their way, and they're shocked and offended when the system serves any reality besides theirs. America's Taliban expects to dictate how movies are rated.

And when it comes to education, same thing -- they are offended if we don't hand them the right to decide what will be in our kids' classrooms.

You can't fight it, but you can laugh at it occasionally.

They're so used to controlling what the rest of us see and do that they are outraged -- oh, it's proof of a conspiracy against them! -- when other people turn it around and say, we don't want our kids or ourselves ambushed by your brainwashing.

Can you imagine sending your kids into a movie theater, and then when you pick them up you find out that the heartwarming football movie was really two hours of Baptist proselytizing? The theater manager would hear from me if that happened to my kids.

That's why they put the PG on there, so parents can exercise Parental Guidance. People who want to see that stuff can Guide their children toward it, the rest of us Parents can Guide them somewhere else.

They think these ratings exist only to enforce their puritan standards. No, sometimes they're a warning to the rest of us.


Blogger Regan said...

Well said!
It's very hard to not be confronted by a zealous Christian (no other denominations confront people without cause) on the street.
Just because I support gay equality, I'm accused of having no moral standards whatsoever.
And on any blogs that concern that subject, someone ALWAYS leaves a sermon.
I was at a townhall meeting on marriage equality and a handful of very young adults crashed the situation and broke the rules of their comment limits by trying to shout a sermon at the gay people present.
It was a mixed crowd.
This group ended up picketing outside.
So I went up to one of them and said, "didn't you notice the gray haired people there and on the panel? Did you hear how many of them were Jewish? They've been hearing what you had to say LONG BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!
So what you shouted wasn't news to them. We don't live in a world of uncritical following, we are an educated country with laws that reflect it.
But one of these people told me he was 24.
I told him of a friend of mine his same age. Who'd nearly been killed by his older brother and father when his gay orientation was revealed. He was told to never come back home after he was released from the hospital.
After working several jobs and foster care, he was adopted by a single, gay father.
Once he came to Los Angeles, at 19. He managed an apartment building until he was eligible to join the Los Angeles Police Dept as the youngest cadet in his class, graduating at age 21.
I looked at this holy roller and told him that my friend was already a three year veteran on the mean streets of LA as a gay man in a uniform.
And I asked this holy roller what HE was doing with his life that was so courageous, protective of the community and inspiring?

From that, I got silence and lips pursed in frustration.
I simply said then: 'you don't impress me much with your preaching to gay people. The Bible won't change, it's always going to say the same thing and mean different things to different people. But freedom and love, EVERYONE understands and the protection of it for everyone will impress God more than anything else you'll ever say.
That's when the holy rollers had had enough of me.
And I them.
Their world is so, so tiny and they are afraid of so much that they really don't know how to handle reality, just theory.
Thanks for your comments and I can appreciate how scary an episode of indoctrination that had to be for your daughter.

June 22, 2006 12:19 PM  
Blogger digger said...

I discovered something that I just have to tell someone, and y'all get to be my audience.

i was messing around on the internet and looked at the list of charter members of the American College of Pediatricians. ACP sounds like an important, official professional group, but it turns out to be a very small group with an agenda of opposing abortion, adoption and foster parenting by gay couples, and gay marriage, and supporting reparative therapy.

There on the list of charter members was my pediatrician from when i was a teenage (many, many years ago). I was shocked and hurt; I loved and trusted him. But then I remmber, he was the only one except my youth group leader I told about my same-gender attractions way back in middle school (when Vietnam was still two countries). I remember he said I should think about women when I wanted to think about men, and it would go away.

This makes me feel really weird. I don't know if I'm angry, hurt, or frightened. I think frightened. I'm going to go eat a donut.


June 22, 2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I'm going to go eat a donut.

... You see, that's a step in the right direction. Not a hot dog -- a donut ...

Joking aside, I imagine that is a kind of shocker. Somtimes you have to go back and think through everything all over again, because assumptions you made originally turned out to be incorrect or incomplete.


June 22, 2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

The ratings system is odd anyway. Of course, this is using my own value system- I like to actually think about what I or my kids are seeing. I don't think PG or PG-13 or R means bad- it can mean serious, dramatic- or it can mean scary, violent, bad language or sex(I don't know why violence gets a lower rating than nudity- but that is the US). You might need to think if you wanted to see a G film- "suitable for all ages" can also mean boring or immature. But I forget this is not about people who want others to think- just sheep.

June 23, 2006 12:21 PM  

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