Every day, something in the entertainment industry seems to come out that could have a negative impact on our children and grandchildren – from the rape of a little girl in “Houndog” to the breaking of all the Ten Commandments in “The Ten” to the gruesome private-part violence in the horrible video game “Manhunt 2” to the attack on faith and values in “The Golden Compass.” We at MOVIEGUIDE? and the Christian Film and Television Commission take a very visible stand against such things. Furthermore, I am often invited on radio and television shows to confront these atrocities. As a ministry, we produce our own programs and articles warning parents about these evils.
Some antinomian so-called Christian pundits, who live in ivory towers apart from the reality of fundraising and who apparently believe that Christians are not obligated to obey God’s moral laws, suggest that those of us who take a stand are doing so to raise money.
Taking highly visible stands against evil in the entertainment industry hampers our ability to work quietly behind the scenes with executives and producers. The primary role of the Christian Film & Television Commission is to encourage good entertainment. Our largest expense each year is the Movieguide? Awards where we celebrate the best movies of the year and encourage the production of more wholesome entertainment. Strong stands against evil make our primary work more difficult and have even been known to make fundraising more difficult.
So, why do we do it?
Well, because we’ve studied the impact of the media on children since I was the head of the Television Center at the City University of New York in 1978 and formed a nonprofit organization on the mass media. And, the evidence of many empirical studies and much scientific research is that children are susceptible to what they see and hear in movies, music, video games and on television and the Internet. In fact, some children are so susceptible that they end up like the young humanist, nihilistic mass murderers at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Jokela High School in Finland.
If you received advance notice that a child was headed to your local high school with a machine gun, would you take a stand to warn potential victims?
I cannot tell you which child will become the next mass murderer. I cannot tell you which school will be victimized. I can tell you that some child influenced by the media will be the next school killer. I can tell you with certainty that evil movies and video games have a destructive impact on children. Your child may not be the next mass murderer, but he or she may grow up showing no respect for his or her elders. Your child may grow up believing that violence is a just response to a verbal insult. Your child may reject your values and come to believe sin is freedom and righteousness is bondage.
We cannot and will not wait to take a stand until we know which child is about to commit mass murder. We will warn you NOW that as long as horribly violent movies and video games are made available to children, there will be more murders. There will be more abusive boyfriends and husbands. There will be more little girls kidnapped, raped and murdered. And YOU will have all the more reason to live in fear, buy alarm systems and stay home behind locked doors.
We are dedicated to protecting children and grandchildren, and glorifying God. Therefore, part of our responsibility is like being watchmen on the wall, warning of impending attacks. That watchman job is not nearly as productive as building the wall. I am sure that James Dobson, William Donahue, Joseph Farah, Janet Folger, Robert Knight, Janet Parshall, Don Wildmon and the other people standing watch would love to be doing something more positive like preaching the Gospel and rewarding the Good, the True and the Beautiful, but we cannot ignore the bad things in the mass media of entertainment that ruin children’s lives. And the job of watchman is tremendously important according to the Word of God:
Son of man, I have made you a watchman over the house of Israel. When you hear a word from My mouth, give them a warning from Me. If I say to the wicked person: You will surely die, but you do not warn him – you don’t speak out to warn him about his wicked way in order to save his life – that wicked person will die for his iniquity. Yet I will hold you responsible for his blood. – Ezekiel 3:17-19 (HCSB)
Thus, anyone who says we’re doing this for our own gain is being foolish. Those alleged Christians and conservatives who do gain from bad entertainment ventures are those who get bought off, take bribes and make money off of things like “The Da Vinci Code.” The duty of the righteous, however, is to take a stand against such wicked cultural fads full of false information, inane attacks, phony philosophies, false religions and misguided political ideologies.
To paraphrase Edmund Burke, the father of conservative political philosophy, evil will triumph when good men do nothing.
Protecting children from wickedness is a very important part of being a good person who actively does good things. Thus, people who are not concerned about protecting children are the kind of people who let evil triumph and put children at terrible risk.
As Jesus says in Luke 17:1-3, “Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come. It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. So watch yourselves.”
In contrast, “Those … who lead many to do what is right and good will shine like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3, New Life Edition).
I hope you will consider sending a loved one a gift subscription to movieguide.org and MOVIEGUIDE magazine to help fill their new year with the brightest possible entertainment choices. Any donation above the subscription price is a tax-deductible contribution to support promoting choices that are good, true and beautiful.