Monday, July 03, 2006

Skippy of the Day: House Majority Whip Roy Blunt

First, the back story:
A Christian-themed movie about a football coach's faith in God is finding an audience in Congress -- not so much for its inspirational message, but for the PG rating it received.

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt and other lawmakers are demanding explanations after hearing complaints that the movie "Facing the Giants" was rated PG instead of G due to religious content.

A PG rating means parental guidance is suggested because the MPAA believes some material may not be suitable for children. A G rating means the MPAA has found the movie acceptable for all audiences.

The Motion Picture Association of America claims the controversy arose from a miscommunication with the filmmakers. It says religion was not the reason for the rating.

Now, the quote:

"This incident raises the disquieting possibility that the MPAA considers exposure to Christian themes more dangerous for children than exposure to gratuitous sex and violence," Blunt said in a letter to MPAA Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Glickman.
Does Roy Blunt have a firm grasp of numbers and words or is he too busy trying to learn how to go potty by himself?

Break it down, folks. It's not hard. In order for this movie to be considered more dangerous than a film with sex and violence, to would have to have a rating that was more restrictive than said sex and violence film. As it is, it has a PG rating, which simply means "Parental Guidance suggested", not required. Specifically, it means:
"Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels."
Next level up? PG-13:
"Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. This signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; one use of the harsher sexually derived words may be heard."
Notice again that it does not restrict, but only cautions. Any children wanting to see a film that is PG or PG-13 will not be turned away by the heathen, calf-worshiping theater employees.

Next up is R, and here we get to the sex and violence:
"An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film's use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use."
Check it out, folks. It's on their website for everyone to see.

Irresponsible statements like these really infuriate me to no end. How do these people get elected when they are so careless with what they say and do?

And as for the specific issue of religious content garnering a PG, Roger Ebert (whom I hope is recuperating well after emergency surgery this weekend) said it best when responding to an equally idiotic letter writer from Concord, California. Here is the question and answer:
Q. The Motion Picture Association of America is warning parents of movies that contain a reference to the Christian faith, equating Christianity with sex, violence and profanity. The MPAA is controlled by Hollywood moguls known for their bitter opposition to Christianity. A new family film featuring miracles and a pro-God theme has earned the PG rating because it would offend non-believers.

"Facing the Giants" is the story of a Christian high school football coach who uses his undying faith to battle the giants of fear and failure. Due to the Christian content, the MPAA rated it PG, placing it in the same offensive category as sex, violence and profanity. The plot includes several prayers being answered, a medical miracle, and a mystic who delivers a message from God. The scene the MPAA found most offensive was a discussion between the football coach and a boy named Matt. The coach says the boy needs to stop bad-mouthing his 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 responds: "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 will change your life. You will never be the same." That, says the MPAA, is very objectionable and parents need to be warned.

Tom Payne, Concord, Calif.

A. The PG rating does not permit sex, violence and profanity, so the MPAA is not equating that content with Christianity. The mild PG rating informs parents of young children that some of the material may be intended for more mature audiences. Assume for the sake of argument that the movie featured the coach telling the child, "Following Allah is the decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it will change your life. You will never be the same." Would that be all right with you, or would that be an element you would want to be informed about? There is no official religion in this country. Not all parents are Christians, and the MPAA ratings should serve all parents.

Thanks, Roger. It's good to listen to sane man after all that.

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