MPAA hates the baby Jesus

Movie rated PG for all the creepy Jesus stuff. (Love that headline.) The Baptist-backed film Facing the Giants has been issued a PG-rating by the MPAA for "thematic elements" about which it believes parents might want to know. Because said elements are overtly evangelical themes, the distributors--and the wingnutosphere--are up in arms about the PG rating. They don’t consider it a reasonable possibility that, say, Jewish parents might be aghast at taking their children to a movie marketed as a sports film a la Hoosiers, only to be delivered scenes like the following:
[T]he scene that caught the MPAA's attention may have been the chat between football coach Grant Taylor -- played by Alex Kendrick -- and a rich brat named Matt Prader. The coach says that he needs to stop bad-mouthing his bossy father and get right with God.
The boy replies: "You really believe in all that honoring God and following Jesus stuff? ... Well, I ain't trying to be disrespectful, but not everybody believes in that."
The coach replies: "Matt, nobody's forcing anything on you. Following Jesus Christ is the decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it'll change your life. You'll never be the same."
Facing the Giants "includes waves of answered prayers, a medical miracle, a mysterious silver-haired mystic who delivers a message from God and a bench-warmer who kicks a 51-yard field goal to win the big game when his handicapped father pulls himself out of a wheelchair and stands under the goal post to inspire his son's faith. There's a prayer-driven gust of wind in there, too." Made by two brothers, who are the "associate pastors of media" at megachurch Sherwood Baptist in Albany, GA (which also owns its own cable channel), the film was made for $100,000 with local volunteers playing the roles and "a small crew of tech professionals." Clearly, it was designed to be essentially a propaganda piece pimping the lord, which is fair enough, but then its makers shouldn't get their panties in a wad when the MPAA treats it thusly. Although PG ratings are usually given to warn parents of strong language, brief nudity, etc., it literally means "Parental Guidance suggested," which is hardly an unfair recommendation about a Christian homily put to film but not marketed that way. I suspect the same rating would be issued if the film were made by an Islamic group trying to sneak a sermon in through the back door.

Some taking issue with the rating seem to feel the MPAA is being ridiculously arbitrary. I don't agree, but let's say for a moment that the assertion is correct. Well, welcome to the MPAA, which still regards expressions of homosexuality as more explicit than their hetero counterpart (although they've eased up on that in recent years), lesbianism more acceptable than sexuality expressed between two men, and female nudity less sacred than male nudity. If they can be abritrarily restrictive or lenient toward gays and women, then they can be completely nonsensical about proselytizing, too. Welcome to the world where images of dicks are spellbindingly shocking, but boobies are good, clean fun!


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