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Idol Chatter

Where have all the evangelicals gone? And for that matter, how about the Catholics? The Americans? Anyone who has remote respect for–and belief in–the Bible?
Last week, I heard about a controversy over Disney Radio refusing to mention the word “God” in the advertising for “The Ten Commandments,” the new animated movie starring Ben Kingsley, Christian Slater, Al Molina, and Elliot Gould. I have heard Christians protesting the fact that The Ten Commandments can’t be displayed on public buildings, and that a whole generation isn’t learning them. Today, I read in USA Today that “The Ten Commandments” brought in a paltry half-million dollars in limited release this weekend.
Fellow Beliefnet Idol Chatter blogger Kris Rasmussen didn’t like the movie at all,which I think is part of the problem. The Los Angeles Times–not exactly known for its biblecentric point of view–actually LIKED it! I don’t think Kris is a surfacy woman (at all), but it seems to me that Christians ought to care more about whether they got the story right (or that it succeeded in presenting a non-preachy feel that post-modern Christians will need to learn) as opposed to whether the animation was Pixar-level or better. And if Christians really do care about that, then they ought to jettison their protests about public displays, school prayer, or just about anything else that favors substance over style.


Why is it that Christians seem to be great at protesting publicly and commenting or writing or blogging about all of the evils of our society, but when it comes to their movie choices, they apparently would rather pay for the smut than support depictions of what their own Good Book says.
“The Ten Commandments,” currently showing in several (but not all) major markets in the U.S., is closer to the biblical account than such movies as “The Prince of Egypt,” but Christians apparently aren’t supporting it. At least not yet. Perhaps seeing Christian Slater on Fox News tonight or in one of the interviews he’s given will help.
Perhaps this will be a slow-burn marketing effort, something like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” overcoming the typical Hollywood cycle in which the first weekend means everything. Perhaps this movie just had a small marketing budget and people just haven’t heard about it yet. That would be great. Perhaps the main reason is that it hasn’t come to your local city yet. That would be great. But let me tell you what wouldn’t be great, and it comes from the words of a theater owner:

“The very folks that pester us the rest of the year with ‘why don’t you have something for the families’ or ‘why don’t you have something for the children’ don’t come to see the biblical movies when they come out.”… “It’s really kind of sick… not to mention monumentally hypocritical,” he continued. “We will always be glad to open these films (and) would really like for these films to do great business.”

Great business doesn’t happen if people who want better films don’t go see them when they come. They can’t just go when it’s a Mel Gibson flick. Let me ask you: If you were an investor, or a producer, or even a key grip, would you want to give your time and dollars to a project that probably will not do well?
It is no surprise that Hollywood turns out a lot of smut. It makes more money for those who produce it. At least for now.
I believe the Bible and will urge everyone I know to support “The Ten Commandments.” It’s only 10 bucks–but it sends a message that needs to be sent to an industry that needs to hear it.

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