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Christians are Insulted Enough
No Need to Make Up Reasons to be Offended

by Scott Nehring

Speak to Christians about cinema for more than five minutes and you’ll likely hear moaning over treatment by the secular media. With films such as The Golden Compass and The Da Vinci Code, complaints about theological bigotry seem to ring true.

Facing the Giants was a small-budget, Christian-focused film about a troubled football coach who turned to God for help. The film gained quick notoriety when it was nationally reported that the MPAA had given the family-friendly film a PG rating.

According to the film’s producers,  Alex and Stephen Kendrick,4 the MPAA told them the PG rating was warranted due to the film’s frank religious content.  The MPAA admits to citing the film’s religious message as being one of the original factors in their decision of a PG rather than a G rating, but the MPAA had other reasons, viable reasons for the rating, including the main character’s open discussion of his infertility.

When this story of perceived bigotry hit The Drudge Report in June of 2006, Christian media went nuts. Across the Internet, columnists and bloggers, myself included, decried the horrible threat to our faith. U.  S. Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO) stated,

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.

The commotion, however, stemmed from miscommunication between the film’s producers and the MPAA. The MPAA was initially wrong to even broach the subject of theology; then, when the controversy blew up, the MPAA was forced to restate their decision and remove any references to the religious message of the film.

There is a basic lack of logic in the film’s producers’ expectations of a G-Rating. The main character talks about the usefulness of his genitalia, which alone should make the film a target for parental guidance.

The concern which surrounds the religious elements appears to be a simple case of an insensitive and clueless MPAA board member not being mindful of his words. But instead of handling this for what it was, a misunderstanding, the Christian media went wild with claims of bigotry and censorship where none existed.

The hoopla served the Kendrick brothers and provided priceless marketing that was certainly a factor in their film grossing millions at the box office. But let us move beyond the Kendrick Brothers, who were after all just releasing a movie, and examine the Christian subculture’s reaction.

This situation reminds us we have to confront actual bigotry when it rears its head. Censorship should never be permitted. However, we must be careful not to become hypersensitive and carry on with perceived insults when none were intended.  We are then merely being defensive—and we propagate a lie.

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Originally published in Movies & Culture Report. Feb 1, 2011. All rights reserved.