Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Protecting Minors from Christianity: MPAA Gives Movie PG Rating for Religious Content

Many Christians are upset over the MPAA's decision to give the clean family movie "Facing the Giants" a PG rating because of its "religious content." At least that's the reason the MPAA gave the evangelical Christian directors of the low-budget sports-oriented flick that conveys a message about faith in God, according to the directors. After broad negative publicity, the MPAA denies that religious content was the reason. See the ABC news story, an update on the story at Stones Cry Out, and see a TV news clip from WABC.

Guess it's no surprise that the ACLU thought virus has infected Hollywood.

So, how long before Mr. Krueger's Christmas goes NC-17?

14 comments:

Connor Boyack said...

This is pathetic. It reminds me of the controversy with Richard Dutcher's States of Grace flick. From the article:

The controversy stems from employees in the theater's ticket booth asking customers who purchased tickets to "States of Grace" about their religious beliefs.
According to protester Steven Greenstreet, patrons were asked if they were Christians and then "warned" that the movie is "Mormon, not Christian."


So it's okay if we see gore, naked women, and be subjected to profanity... but if there's any Christian tones, let's bump up the rating! :::rolls eyes:::

Along these lines, for those interested parents out there, there is a site called Screenit.com that gives very detailed reviews of movies so you can see what's in it before you decide to go. Perhaps now they'll be forced to create a "Christian" category to warn potential viewers of any religiously-themed elements? Good grief...

lief said...

So, if a movie depicted intense conversion and worship experiences for someone of the Hindu faith (which I understand this movie depicts for the Christian faith), you would want it rated G?

As members of our church, I thought we could agree that parents should take responsibility for the religious upbringing of our children, as opposed to the MPAA. Last I checked, "PG" meant "parental guidance suggested." That is the least I would expect for an intense religious movie (especially one coming from a religious tradition that tends to demean Mormons).

So it's okay if we see gore, naked women, and be subjected to profanity... but if there's any Christian tones, let's bump up the rating! :::rolls eyes

Hmm, this movie is PG, the kinds of movies you describe would be PG-13 at best. So which one is rated more "cleanly" than the other? The Christian one!

Although I used to describe myself as a conservative, I can only tolerate so much bending of the facts and basic rationality. Don't you all have a limit, too, or is it "give me culture wars or give me death!" over every non-issue that come along?

Sorry to be the more "liberal" fire house on your blog this weekend, I'll probably just go away if you leave me alone.

lief said...

Woops, can't leave this one alone. I see another post on this same blog about how "concerned Christians" have banned Jeff Lindsay's website.

Yet when these same "concerned Christians" make a religious movie, we're tripping over ourselves to have our kids watch it without any of the suggested parental guidance! Weird.

Clark Goble said...

"So, if a movie depicted intense conversion and worship experiences for someone of the Hindu faith (which I understand this movie depicts for the Christian faith), you would want it rated G?"

I would if there were no other objectionable materials in it.

Say the makers of Vegitales makes a pro-Evangelical film. I wouldn't want it rated PG instead of G simply because I disagree with the religion. That makes a mockery of the ratings system.

Jeff said...

I think the rating system should do more than reflect a measure of sex and violence. If a film has a certain religious position set forth, the "PG" rating - meaning Parental Guidance, should indicate to the parents that there is some content in the film that may need to be discussed with the children in order to help them understand it. A "G" movie is something you could theoretically put in the DVD player and let it run, and never have to watch it yourself (in a perfect situation) and trust it not to disrupt your children in any way. If a movie has religious content, it could lead to confusing questions especially if it presents a different picture of faith than the one your family prescribes to, and a discussion is in order and would make it into a learning experience, thus PG is very appropriate, in my opinion. When they start giving films PG-13 for religious content, that's another story altogether, but it doesn't sound like this is what has happened.

Anonymous said...

What if the Moonies, the Scientologists, or the FLDS made a children's movie specifically designed to inculcate their religious beliefs and then mass marketed it?

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem here is that people are trying to make the rating system something it isn't.

I am no defender of the rating system as it is currently implemented, as ratings are often inconsistent and arbitrary. But even so, it was never intended to be a guide to movie morality per se. It wasn't intended to advise adults as to what they should see, only to provide a very rough guide for parents to use in picking movies for the kids.

I haven't seen the particular film of this dispute, but all a PG rating means is that this is something parents may want to check out, period. It doesn't mean children can't go, it doesn't mean the film has immorality in it, it doesn't mean that the film is somehow bad. All it means is that parents might want to check this one out, for any number of reasons. That's all.

So what's the big deal? Some people are so eager to find signs of the "culture wars" that they'll find it anywhere.

Mormanity said...

Sounds like some folks don't see that there actually IS a culture war raging.

And hey, lief, the Overly Concerned Christians aren't the ones who made this movie. The fact that some of my Christian brothers disagree with me and use unfair tactics against Mormons does not mean that I should sit back when evangelical Christianity comes under fire in our culture.

Helaman said...

I guess we can see who takes an active role in parenting and who lets others do it for them...

For those who use the ratings for absolutes, have your kid rent 'Lady In Red' which is rated PG - your children will love the anatomy lessons. Or for the Sci-Fi loves, rent 'Back to the Future' for the great language course.

As a parent with 3 kids, finding movies for the whole family to watch is kind of hard, even PG and on rare occasion G movies are worthless.

Don't just sit around and let the movie teach your kids, sit with them and discuss the movie, even my 3 yr old has questions about things in movies and it's pretty nice to be able to talk about them with him. It's also nice to have a quick finger on the remote to skip chapters when certain things come up.

Helaman said...

I guess we can see who takes an active role in parenting and who lets others do it for them...

For those who use the ratings for absolutes, have your kid rent 'Lady In Red' which is rated PG - your children will love the anatomy lessons. Or for the Sci-Fi loves, rent 'Back to the Future' for the great language course.

As a parent with 3 kids, finding movies for the whole family to watch is kind of hard, even PG and on rare occasion G movies are worthless.

Don't just sit around and let the movie teach your kids, sit with them and discuss the movie, even my 3 yr old has questions about things in movies and it's pretty nice to be able to talk about them with him. It's also nice to have a quick finger on the remote to skip chapters when certain things come up.

Connor Boyack said...

Congress is now demanding an explanation regarding this movie's rating.

Ryan said...

It sort of makes sense to make a religous movie PG because "there is some content in the film that may need to be discussed with the children in order to help them understand it"

I see two reasons why people might reasonably be upset though:

1. By that definition virtually every "G" rated movie would have to be rated PG, especially if it had "bad guys" in it.

2. If this argument were applied fairly every movie that has a Christian bad guy or mocks Christianity should also be rated PG, and the public school system should be rated PG as well.

Connor Boyack said...

If you read the article I posted above, the MPAA claims that the PG rating has nothing to do with religion. Riiiiight.

lief said...

Mormanity -

You are right that Concerned Christians did not make the movie, instead the Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia made the movie. Perhaps they have no "Concerned Chirstians" in their midst and took steps to ensure that their movie was consistent with LDS teachings. I am going out on a limb and assuming that they did not.

In fact, the Sherwood Church's website propogates several doctrines that are vastly different from core LDS teachings (i.e. the Holy Ghost is God, Jesus Christ is God, the Bible is the only possible source of authority, faith alone is enough for salvation without works).

Also, a spokesperson for the Southern Baptist Convention (I could not verify wheter they are in communion with Sherwood Baptist) recently reiterated in the LA Times that, in their view, Mormons are not Christians and are properly characterized as a cult.

The movie at issue is unabashedly admitted to be religious propaganda for the narrow-minded Baptist version of christianity. Remind me again why responsible LDS parents should be chomping at the bit to have their children watch this movie without the slightest modicum of parental guidance? Even if we really like evangelical christianity (which seems to me to be as far from LDS teachings as Islam, but that's another topic), why would we want to introduce the possibility that our children will reject extra-0biblical LDS teachings and join up with the Baptists?

Also, it is tempting for propagators of the notion that there are "Culture Wars" to assume that MPAA ratings are issued by Hollywood film-industry liberal elitists. In fact, the ratings board consists of ordinary parents with no ties to the Hollywood establishment, see http://www.mpaa.org/Ratings_HowRated.asp. Some of them might even be Christians!