Lately, we've been getting a bad rap, and sometimes deservedly so. There is no excuse for bigotry, prejudice, or most forms of censorship, especially from a group of people who are supposed to be known for their love.
My personal goal is to stay true to my God and to my faith, while still loving those around me as He does. I have no desire to squash people or thoughts that are different to me; on the contrast, I revel in them. This may be why I love movies so much... they allow me to see the world from others' perspectives.
So I was taken aback a few weeks ago, during a night class held at my church. The speaker was talking about morality, and was using an illustration to show that all of us, by ourselves, fall far short of God's standard. He asked us to name some people we thought of as moral (Billy Graham, Mother Theresa). Then he asked us to name people we thought of as immoral, expecting answers like Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, etc. One lady, however, shouted out "Hollywood!" I believe she expected full agreement, and no one contradicted her...
But I was really disturbed! I grew up in this evangelical Christian faith... As a kid, I heard many preachers decry the evils of Hollywood, and how we're all going to be corrupted by the horrible influence of the entertainment industry. But here, now, in 2008, do people still really believe that? Can you really lump everyone together who creates any kind of entertainment and call them the Great Satan, and go unquestioned? It seems like such a bigoted idea. My passion is movies... so am I passionate about evil, sin, and immorality?
I discussed this stuff with my friend David, who is also a Christian movie buff, and he suggested another perspective:
"I think when people think of Hollywood in a judgemental
fashion like that, they're thinking more of the lifestyles of
entertainers. It's the Paris Hiltons and the Lindsay
Lohans. I have a hard time believing that Christians
would condemn the entire filmmaking community...What
I tell people most of the time is something like this.
People in 'Hollywood' are put under a pretty scrutinizing
magnifying glass, and I challenge anyone to tell me that
under that same magnifying glass they would come out
looking like saints...most of the people they take issue
with are actors, and actors are just a part of the business.
Plus, most of the great actors you hear very little about.
When's the last time you heard about Morgan Freeman,
John Cusack, or Harrison Ford in any kind of major
trouble? Ironically enough, Mel Gibson, our very own
Passion of the Christ filmmaker, has had more trouble in
Hollywood than any of these folk. I don't know. Just like
the tabloids in the supermarket line, I wouldn't take any
of the comments too seriously (why do people have to
hate on Katie Holmes?!)."