The Salt Lake Tribune has a story up about a new religious study conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and amongst various tidbits about members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, i.e. Mormons), the study reports that 68 percent of LDS folks feel their values are threatened by Hollywood. According to the study, the “general population” feels less threatened by Hollywood at only a 42 percent clip. I’m not really sure what threatened means, but it must be like the time Paris Hilton showed up at my house with Tom Cruise trying to get me to star in a Church of Scientology Night Vision Sex Video with Hilton’s Chihuahua.
So why am I posting this? I don’t understand the threat and accompanying fear. I really don’t.
Folks – regardless of whatever religion you are – the power of what media you and your family view is in your hands and within control. The MPAA, while flawed, exists to give you a somewhat articulate idea of a film’s content. Granted, I don’t think you should blindly agree with an anonymous group of people who may not hold to the same beliefs you do, especially when it comes to the PG-13 rating, but even if you give no heed to the MPAA, there are enough websites (see: kids-in-mind.com and screenit.com) that give a detailed descriptions of content that no surprises should await you upon entering the cinema.
What I’m saying is this: Don’t be afraid. I truly don’t believe Hollywood is a cadre of Satanists intent on circling an anti-family, anti-religion fiery wagon train of vice around the proverbial God-fearing, flag-waving, value-oriented families in this country. I really don’t. I see a group of businesses wanting to make money via its artists, most of who are all set on entertaining people. It’s called freedom of choice. You might think “Brokeback Mountain” is trying to convert you to homosexuality, while another might see a beautiful love story. The point is their product isn’t forced on you; you make the choice to watch or not.
I have two children and the only people responsible for the choices they make are me and my wife and them. Just because they see someone smoking in a movie doesn’t mean they will go out and try cigarettes. And that goes for any potential bad behavior exhibited in the movies. I do believe my children will make mistakes I won’t be happy about. In fact, I’m sure of it. But there are two things I will do without fear and without reservation. One is simple: I will love them for the individuals they are no matter what. Last, I have and will continue to have open and frank discussions with my children that are based on facts and truth, not fear and scare tactics. I see no other way.
In the end, ff you’re worried about seeing and hearing things in movies that might offend your values, or that might convert your children into hedonists, do your research. If you fail to check out the content of a movie before you go, don’t complain to me about Hollywood trying to smuggle you to hell. You’re the slothful one who uses Tinsletown’s threatening vice as an excuse for your own laziness.