Ministry cited movie ‘ratings creep’ years ago

By Ron Strom

A Christian ministry advising parents about the content of popular movies says its not surprised by a Harvard University study finding films within the same rating class are getting raunchier, noting it made the same discovery four years ago.

ChildCare Action Project Movie Ministry indicates the Harvard data echoes its own findings from 2000. The Harvard study, released last month, shows content of movies with specific ratings is getting stronger, meaning a film rated PG-13 today likely would have received an R rating several years ago.

Researchers looked at films released between 1992 and 2003. The study found more sex and violence in later PG movies and more of the same, plus more profanity, in PG-13 movies. It also found R-rated movies contained more profanity and sex.

Today’s PG-13 movies, it was found, are inching toward what R-rated movies looked like in 1992.

Even films rated G were found to have more violence, especially in animated features.

The CAP Ministry notes it scrutinized films for eight years using a specific set of standards and mathematical formulae. The group’s statistical analysis found PG-13 movies consistently including more objectionable elements as the years went on, leading the researchers to coin the rating “R-13.”

“In the first five years the percentage of R-13 movies more than quadrupled (an increase of 459 percent) which says in the year 2000, 450 percent more of the PG-13 audiences were fed R-rated programming than in 1996/7,” the Christian research said.

Researchers from both CAP Ministry and Harvard noted the movie rating system used by the Motion Picture Association of America, or MPAA, is too general.

Said CAP Ministry founder Tom Carder: “The CAP Analysis Model could replace the MPAA. And the CAP Analysis Model provides it objectively, not vulnerable to mood and preference subjectivity so you can be in a better position to have the information you need to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit for your kids (or yourself).”

Carder touted his film-analysis system, noting it includes “80 prescribed unchanging investigation standards (biblical values/morals)” and “more than 30 mathematical operations to generate comparative and trending values in each of six investigation areas, plus a final score plus an influence density plus frequency of examples per hour in each of six investigation areas.”

CAP Ministry’s analysis tool includes mathematical statistics based on a film’s amount of: wanton violence/crime, impudence/hate, sexual immorality, drugs/alcohol, offense to God and murder/suicide. The first letters of each category spell out “wisdom.”

Carder hopes the fact his organization beat a large university to the punch will help raise funds needed to continue his work:

“Help us not let the mainstream media and their animosity toward anything Christian bury another little ‘David’ grass-roots Christian ministry which provides before-the-fact corroboration with a Goliath university,” he writes on his website. “Rally all in your circles of influence. Please, please help us distribute this most significant information by forwarding this page in its entirety to all your friends and lists.”

Special notice:

The American Film Renaissance Festival will present 17 movies and documentaries celebrating traditional values and love for America. The event takes place next month in Dallas.