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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Movie Nudity – A Moral Issue

inthenewsI recently came across an article from the online edition of the Kansas City Star, detailing objections of the Chinese government to scenes contained in the recently released movie, Mission Impossible III.

The movie contains a few scenes shot in Shanghai, which the Chinese government finds objectionable. Of course, most are aware of the fact that China’s government is repressive, and does not allow the almost unlimited expression of free speech we see in other societies.

The columnist, Robert W. Butler, notes:

“The day is quickly coming when American movie distributors will be told to remove offending elements if they want their pictures to play in China.

“The questionable material could deal with sex, nudity, violence or raw language. Or it could be about free speech, open markets, pacifism and any number of other issues that a foreign government thinks it must withhold from its citizens.”

The most interesting aspect of this report is Butler’s note that the issue is a moral one. Notice the following quote:

“The moral dilemma facing Hollywood is this: Will you allow a government to gut your movie to have it shown to a huge potential audience? Will you take the money and run?

“Or do you regard such censorship a moral test and decline to have your movie play in China if it means co-opting the film’s core intentions?

“Money? Or morality? Or something in between?”

Now I certainly understand the point that Butler is making. We are not fans of the oppressive government presently in power in China. Too, I am a fan of free speech, especially in regard to my rights as a Christian to share my faith with others. However, it seems a bit much to equate the deletion of a scene of gratuitous sexuality, profanity or violence as a moral issue, especially as it is intimated that the moral thing to do is to include the scene in the film!

Two thoughts to consider in regard to this report. First, let no one mistake the intentions of the Hollywood establishment. It is not only about money. There are many in Hollywood who feel a moral compulsion to promote agendas which are antagonistic to the Christian’s faith. Homosexuality, premarital and extramarital sexual affairs, immodest dress, crude humor, the Hollywood establishment seeks to destroy the concept of Christian morality.

Second, the messages characteristically being sent by television, movies and modern music have turned the concept of morality upside down. Now, it is considered a moral and courageous thing to “stand up for yourself” through rebellion, immorality, and individualism. Those who defend the status quo, (modesty, politeness, humility, morality, respect for authority, etc.) are portrayed as either morally bankrupt, or as mindless drones brainwashed by those who are in power.

Our hero is the antihero. We cheer for the rebel, and ridicule the meek. Our role model is the rich pampered athlete, or the immodestly dressed pop star. The religious are intolerant, and the humanist is lauded for his compassion. People clamor for a nebulous ‘spirituality” while decrying religion. Black is white, and white is black. In the midst of such ungodliness, the challenge for the Christian is, to borrow Butler’s phrase, a moral test!

“Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. 18 I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.'”

~ 2 Corinthians 6:17-18