Since at least the 1970s,
the vast majority of Hollywood films dealing with Christians and
their faith have portrayed them in a harshly negative light. For the
most part, characters such as kindly priests and steadfast ministers
have disappeared from American cinema,
supplanted by what the author Don
Feder has called “a
rogue’s gallery of lusting priests, sadistic nuns, perverted
pastors and con-men TV evangelists – not to mention ordinary
Christians (Catholic or evangelical) who are depicted as
superstitious nitwits, malevolent hypocrites, or both.” Examples of
films that feature such characters are legion.
Films such as The
Last Temptation of Christ
(2004) explicitly portray religion as violent, hypocritical,
sexually abusive, and psychologically inhumane.
Notably, filmmakers generally have nothing unkind to say or
suggest about Christianity's leftist denominations – Unitarian,
Presbyterian, Congregationalist, etc. Rather, their ridicule is
aimed only at traditional Catholics and evangelicals, whose
conservative values are diametrically at odds with those of the
Hollywood left. Columnist Don Feder has identified
some of these major points of conflict:
glorification of pre-marital sex (including adolescent
experimentation), adultery, homosexuality, abortion, and the
sexualization of children stands in a stark contrast to the
Judeo-Christian ethic of sexual restraint/responsibility, and the
sanctification of sex within marriage.
"live-for-the-moment" ethos fundamentally rejects the
Christian emphasis on living not for immediate gratification but
rather with an eye to eternity.Hollywood's emphasis
on perpetual self-indulgence is antithetical to the Christian
teaching that one's life is not one's own but instead belongs to the
“gender-sameness” dogma, which holds that men and women are
psychologically identical and that gender roles are socially
imposed, lies at the heart of leftism's push to radically remake the
so-called "patriarchal" and "male-dominated"
family that traditional Christianity embraces.
- Hollywood's belief that religious expression
should be confined to churches, and that traditional faith should
play no role in shaping America's laws and institutions, is
incompatible with religious notions about people being "endowed
by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” or of America
being a nation "under God."
The Hollywood left
understands that conservative Christians – whose evangelical
groups now constitute America's
largest identifiable voting bloc
– represent a major obstacle to the realization of its political
and social agendas. To delegitimize and neutralize the political
clout of these Christians, the entertainment industry has cast them
in the most negative light possible -- a religious bigotry that would
be condemned if it were practiced elsewhere in our social life.