We Christians have a lot to answer for, because we don't always do what the Lord teaches us. Unfortunately for us, being human often makes us look hypocritical to nonbelievers, this foible of the human nature leaving us vulnerable to many moviemakers. And right now we are easy prey to artists at war with God. Somehow, we have become the bad guys in their eyes and the elite of Hollywood are becoming more and more vitriolic in their attack on us, our faith and our Lord. Let me give you an example and a possible solution.
EASY A is a film about high schoolers searching for ways to be accepted by their peers, yet the script counters its very theme – to accept one another and show one another respect – by mocking and belittling all Christians. The lead begins a misleading rumor about herself, letting others think she slept with a fellow student. She does this in order to find acceptance. Soon, however, this make-believe indiscretion causes her life to parallel Hester Prynne's in THE SCARLET LETTER. Then, for money, she aids nerds by letting them tell others they have had sexual encounters with her. Some think she is cool because she dresses lewdly and has become sexually promiscuous, while others think she has become the school tramp (much harsher words are used to describe her in the film).
A colleague and friend enjoyed the film and simply overlooked the profane language (Lisa Kudrow from FRIENDS goes off on a tirade using the profane term "G-D-" at least10 times). Nor was she concerned by the film's caustic attack on members of the Christian faith. Here, the Christian youth group is seen reading the Bible, praying, singing songs, all the while showing nothing but hatred and bigotry toward their fellow students. There isn't one single example of a person of faith being shown in a good light, not even when the lead goes to different churches seeking solace for her actions. Why is my film friend immune to this grievous presentation? Perhaps because we are getting used to such Hollywood presentations and, unlike those who stand up for the rights of Jews, blacks, gays, illegal Immigrants and, well, you name it, our "group" isn't speaking up. There doesn't seem to be any effective Christian alliance willing to voice our dissatisfaction with the film industry's bigotry toward us.
I'm sure those responsible for EASY A would counter with, "It's meant as satire, in keeping with the themes found in Hawthorne's The Scarlett Letter. Fair enough, but try painting everyone in a minority group or an entire heritage of another religion with this same caricaturist brushstroke. First, they wouldn't do it, and second, they'd catch fire and brimstone if they did. Yet somehow, it's okay when mockery is aimed at followers of Christ.
It's both revealing and upsetting when critics fail to mention the Christian-bashing found in the movies they review. In his review of EASY A, Jason Heck of the Kansas City Star, refers to the cartoonish "Christian" girl as a "Jesus freak," a rather insensitive term some might consider name calling. "…Girls, led by Jesus-freak Marianne (a screechy and funny Amanda Bynes) regard her cattily, spreading gossip at the speed of text." No assault on Mr. Heck, he's an excellent reviewer, but it's revealing that many critics ignore such cinematic ambushes on people of the Christian faith. It's also upsetting that Christian moviegoers are complacent about this artistic offense.
I won't review the film here, but I hope you will read the entire critique in order to learn the reason for its PG-13 content.
Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern (a 2005 Pulitzer Prize recipient for criticism) focused his take on EASY A by examining the cleverness of the film and by spotlighting the performance and demeanor of its star, Emma Stone. "With her agile features, Cognac voice and Spritely spirit, she makes Olive an embodiment of young sophistication." Good line, wish I'd written it. But somehow, the 30 obscenities (curse words) and 20 profanities (misuses of God's name and Christ's), and the one-dimensional portrayal of the films "villains" seemingly had no impact on him.
Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly, refers to the film as "cheeky sociological teen-raunch," but also fails to show any sensitivity toward people of faith.
Christianity has been wounded throughout Europe and now that demonic advance has spread throughout America's culture, primarily sponsored by media celebrities. Their directive, perhaps based on personal disagreement with biblical pronouncements, seems meant to convince America's youth that our Faith is false. Is the objective of ridiculing followers of the faith, agenda driven, a course set in order to eliminate any Christian impact on our society? YES!
Does anybody see what I'm seeing? Then do something. Discuss it with your kids. Ask your pastor to address it. Don't go to movies that send such calculated strikes against your beliefs. Rather, read reviews that contain the reason for the rating of a film in order to be able to discuss it without financially supporting it. Write letters to the editor of your local paper. Do something. Or wait for the next generation to be doomed to living in a nation that no longer considers itself Christian.
I wish I were a better writer in order to stress this warning against apathy, to impassion you concerning Hollywood's discrimination towards our faith. But evidently, I'm all you've got. So read between my clumsy attempts and do something.
"A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." "The Fall of the Roman Empire"
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14
Phil Boatwright reviews films from a Christian perspective for Baptist Press and is the author of "Movies: The Good, The Bad, and the Really, Really Bad," available on Amazon.com.