Our neighbors in Hollywood

We are told to love our neighbors and to be at peace with all men. The human family needs to communicate. In the United States, television and movies have degenerated. The companies that own the studios that produce TV shows and film need to hear from Catholics.

The stories they are telling are more pornographic, contain profanity and present immorality in a neutral or positive light. Some ask, what happened?

In the 1960s, a man would appear on TV who represented the Standards and Practices Department. Their job was to make sure everything you watched was suitable for the entire family. By the end of the 1960s, the demands of the Hippies, Radicals and Anarchists slowly entered TV and movies. They were: “free love” (sex with anyone, married or not), the use of illegal “mind expanding” drugs like LSD, and smoking marijuana, “don’t trust anyone over 30” which meant it was OK to ignore parents, the Church and “the Establishment,” and a general disrespect for authority. They were going to create a Woodstock Nation but what we ended up with is our current culture. Which is what they wanted.

Like it or not, TV and movies advertise people behaving a certain way, which leads some people, especially the young, to see in these behaviors something positive. After all, if you see a bunch of happy, emphasis on happy, people having sex with anyone, cussing and swearing and showing lots of skin, it’s OK, right? It’s cool, right? It looks like fun! Yes, we are told that sin can look glamorous. We can be fooled into thinking we can do a lot of things without thinking about the consequences.

Large companies sometimes advertise their commitment to their community by showing their employees volunteering, or talking about how much money they donated to a local hospital, or teaching people how to read. They want to show that they are giving back to the community and are good and responsible corporate citizens.

My letter to Hollywood would go like this:

Dear Neighbor,

Why are you promoting prostitutes, fornicators, idolatry and mean behavior? Aren’t you concerned about parents who are trying to raise their children in an environment that is conducive to developing a strong sense of right and wrong? And by the way, that sense of right and wrong does not go away when they become “adults.” I’m tired of seeing the words “Adult Language” before a TV program. You assume I have a choice to make. I don’t. I will reject this type of program every single time. If I don’t allow cussing and swearing in my house, I don’t want it coming out of my TV either. I’m also tired of the “accuracy” excuse. A documentary is one thing, but what passes for entertainment today is garbage and filth. I would not want even a tiny piece of excrement in my food but that’s what I’m asked to “enjoy” on TV.

You are my neighbor, and it’s not enough for me to just turn it off. I’m asking you neighbor, why? Are these the only stories left to tell? Don’t you see the harm in producing stories that show the worst in people? The sinful, the depraved? Why neighbor? I’ve had bad things happen to me and people I know. I’ve seen people’s lives ruined by making the same bad decisions I’m watching on TV shows that are supposed to be “entertaining.” It’s not. It’s really not. It’s sad to watch people stumbling through their lives the way these people do on these TV shows. I can’t relate to them. They are not role models and they revel in their sinful behavior. From Grey’s Anatomy: “So I’m a dirty whore. So what?” And the lead character drinks tequila and picks up men in bars for anonymous sex.

So neighbor, please consider that the endless sex jokes, the casual sex and dysfunctional relationships between men and women and children contribute nothing of value to our culture. As a Catholic, they are a celebration of all the sinful things I’ve been taught to avoid and an affront to a civilized society. Decency. Respect. Self-restraint. Politeness. These are the things that are needed for a civil society. Needed.

Please reconsider the direction you are heading in. The programs and movies you produce are a hindrance to people and an attack on human respect and dignity.

God bless,
Ed

Christians are continually being attacked in the media these days… I did not notice such virulent attacks in the mass media in the last decade, the 1990s. I can’t name any major anti-christian pieces of fiction from the 1990s and certainly nothing on par with Dan Brown’s abomination.

The only anti-catholic mass media messages were probably from people like Anne Rice(when she was an atheistic horror writer), and she got sick of it and swam the Tiber back to Rome…

Now every major film involving the church in some way is always anti-catholic… it’s strong these days isn’t it? And not just our religion but Islam and Judaism seem to also be suffering the same media attacks on their faiths.

I hope Mel Gibson makes another blockbuster one day, his films, while gory and very adult, are so spiritually uplifting, it’s nice to see a filmmaker who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. I oft wonder if Apocalypto was meant to be a commentary about OUR modern culture where morality, family values and religion seem to be dying out… Are we like the violent and rather industrial Atzecs or the family driven, morally sound peaceful Mayans? Is the a new beginning waiting for us when Christ returns to judge us? The Atzecs were wiped out, and only the mayans survived the Spanish invasion…

Was Gibson saying “we are on the path to destruction, and in the end those who will survive the culture destruction are the religious, family driven people”?

One thing that you can do that is of IMMENSE importance is to write those directors and producers and let them know when they are headed in the right direction.

E.g., the movie Evan Almighty was not perfect, but it sure beat a lot of the anti-God trash that comes out of Hollywood. Bridge to Terabithia is another extremely family-friendly film–the couple in the film had FIVE children, even though they were poor. Wow. That’s sacrilege nowadays! But this film showed a family that is “overpopulating” the world!

The Unit is an unashamedly patriotic television show. Notice that it didn’t get nominated for any Emmys. No wonder–it actually depicts “religion” and “love of country” in positive ways.

Let the Hollywood people know when they are doing good! It actually means more than a negative letter. When Hollywood people read negative mail, they often see it as “publicity!” People watch trash.

Another thing you can do is PRAY for Hollywood. There is a group of actors, writers, producers, etc. who are bucking the anti-family trend and putting out great shows with great values, as well as trying to live those values in their private lives. These people are trying very hard to practice their faith, live moral lives, have strong marriages, and raise good families.

My favorite actor has often talked about the Bible study that he attends, how much he loves his wife and kids (“they’re my greatest production!” he says about his kids, and about his wife, he says, “We have a covenant marriage.”), and how much he wants to “tell good stories” in his movies and television shows.

Yet he also talks about the need to make a living and also about his desire to act in all kinds of roles, not just portray “heros.”

It’s tough. What’s the balance?

It is SOOOO difficult for people in the entertainment business to live a godly life. Actors spend a lot of time away from their families, and things happen, bad things.

My daughter works in the theater. She has tried to find a “mate,” but it’s so hard. The one man that she really loves is away on tour all the time, and it’s just too difficult to maintain a solid relationship. And everyone else she meets is boring compared to her theater friends.

PRAY for Hollywood and the rest of the entertainment industry. Pray for the PEOPLE–that they would find God and glorify Him.

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