Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Last Ounce of Courage

posted by Nell Minow
D
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for thematic elements, some war images, and brief smoking
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:None
Alcohol/Drugs:Some drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:References to casualties and fatalities in war, brief image of an accidental gunshot wound
Diversity Issues:Intolerance of non-Christians
Movie Release Date:September 12, 2012

It is truly disappointing that a film that is intended to be in favor of “peace and joy and love,” faith, freedom and Christmas is instead about being a bully and being a phony.

Last Ounce of Courage is the story of a small town pharmacist and part-time mayor who bonds with his teenage grandson over a plan to celebrate Christmas, not in the home and the church, but in the school, the town square, and the federally funded veterans’ facility.  Unlike the vastly superior Christmas with a Capital C, which addresses the same issues with insight and compassion — and better acting and more believable characters, this movie almost literally demonizes anyone who thinks that publicly funded venues should respect every faith (or absence of faith) of its citizens.  Anyone who objects to a cross or a Christmas tree on public space is portrayed as an enemy of freedom.  The idea that the imposition of one religion’s symbols, including a “Jesus Saves” cross, on the entire community might be insensitive, unfair, or unconstitutional is portrayed as anti-freedom.  Infringing the freedom of those who do not want to see those emblems is not considered.  While a character says he respects the rights of Muslims and Jews to practice their religion, the fact that he is taking over the public space with his symbols does not seem to to bother him and despite his being the mayor of the city and thus the representative of all its citizens, he makes no effort to find out what anyone else thinks.  Military music and references to fallen soldiers (and an angel and a family reconciliation) are used to obscure the complete distortion of the law and history of the separation of church and state.  It is worse than inaccurate — it is condescending, manipulative, thuggish, and hypocritical.

The people in this story who have no understanding of the meaning of Christmas are those who think it is about forcing one particular idea of how it should be recognized on those whose beliefs are different, or that the most trivial symbols matter more than the message of hope, peace, and goodwill, much less the importance of good deeds and humility.  Unlike “Christmas with a Capital C,” there is no recognition that Christmas is about kindness, compassion, generosity, and love.  Instead, this film perpetuates a disheartening and divisive stereotype, not just “us and them” but “us versus them.”  In an era when there is such an avid audience for faith-based films and we have been lucky enough to see so many that are genuinely moving and inspiring, it is too bad that this film is so over the top it almost constitutes a parody of the the ideas it most hopes to communicate.

I mean, the main character has to be named Revere, right?  And the school is so committed to secularity that it decides to have a nativity play(?!?!) but substitutes aliens for the wise men and shepherds and a pot of gold for Jesus.  ‘Cause that happens. And the teacher in charge of the play is a little bit effeminate, while the good guys are all hog-ridin’ he-men.  All of the people on “our side” are righteous and all of the people who are not are stupid or just waiting to be enlightened.  And God must be on our side because an angel shows up to let Revere know that his grandson came through.

This is bigotry masquerading as leadership, thuggery claiming the banner of freedom, braggadocio pretending to be strength.  It is arrogant, smug, and superficial, with no evidence of generosity, tolerance, empathy, or kindness.  Saddest of all, it is about reinforcing those beliefs instead of reaching out  to try to share with, connect to, or understand others.  They talk about their respect for the Bible and the Constitution, but do not seem to have read either one.

Parents should know that there is brief wartime footage and a brief image of an accidental self-inflicted gun wound, some smoking and drinking, and insensitive portrayals of the rights of everyone but the movie’s heroes.

Family discussion: Have there been any debates about the separation of church and state in your community?  Read some of the history of this issue and look in the news for current discussions and controversies.

If you like this, try: “Christmas with a Capital C”



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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Fred Atkinson

    The only bigotry I see is in your comments.

    • Nell Minow

      I’m sorry you feel that way, Mr. Atkinson, but I am sorrier that you are perpetuating this movie’s flaws by name-calling instead of having a conversation. I explained my views and gave an example of another faith-based film that addresses the same issues much more thoughtfully and meaningfully. It is too bad you could not engage in a respectful discussion and only proved the validity of my concerns.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jason

    In 50 years there will be NO majority White countries left. Yet Africans will have over 50 nations that remain African. Asia will remain Asian. ONLY White countries are being flooded with non-Whites and it is EVERY single White country.
    When the Chinese force assimilate Tibet, it is rightly called genocide. Genocide does not require lining people up and killing them.
    If Africa was undergoing forced assimilation and massive immigration of non-blacks to the point that every single African country would be non-black by midcentury – well we would know it was genocide.
    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-White. Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.

    • Nell Minow

      Jason, I am sorry for whatever fears and experiences you have had that have led you to these separatist views, but you prove my point by aligning them with this bigoted movie. It is especially distressing to see this perspective associated with a film that purports to exemplify the values of Christianity.

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  • http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=123 Doug Iford

    The Amendment I to the US Constitution says nothing about freedom FROM religion as current detractors would have us believe. It says, “CONGRESS shall MAKE NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, OR PROHIBITING FREE EXERCISE thereof.” See “The Separation of Church and State” discussion at the link provided.
    IMHO, if one does not believe in the tenants of some religion, simply don’t pay any attention to them (or to their visible manifestations, at any rate). It is getting to the point where saying almost anything about any topic will “offend” someone. There is no law that I know of (yet) that makes being a boor illegal. Diversity, it seems, is enjoying the good things about various cultures and, as much as possible, overlooking that which is not to your particular liking. If you don’t like the movie, don’t go. If you don’t like kimchi, likewise for Korean restaurants, etc.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you, Mr. Ilford. I appreciate your support for tolerance. I am a lawyer and I have studied Constitutional law, so I am very familiar with the history and views and case law on the establishment clause of the 1st Amendment. One reason I am so critical of this film is that the main character says his family no longer celebrates Christmas as they once did in their own home, strongly implying either that the government has ever tried to interfere or that the lack of Christmas symbols in taxpayer-funded spaces somehow impinges on his family’s own personal celebration. The government has been pretty successful at staying out of the personal religious practices of individuals (with some exceptions, like polygamy and use of illegal drugs). But it is considered “establishment” to, for example, have public school teachers direct students to say prayers, as happened in classrooms I was in as a child. Diversity is more than overlooking that which is not to your liking — it includes not having to use your tax dollars to support any individual religion in places that represent all citizens. Religion is freely practiced in homes and places of worship and any private space. And it is the establishment clause that separates us from countries where government and religion have combined in ways that have have threatened not just diversity but the very foundation of the society.

  • http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=123 Doug Iford

    Since the URL I added to my previous post didn’t appear, here it is in the text to cut and paste:
    http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=123

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment David

    I was trying to figure out why this movie was getting so many bad reviews. I get it now. It has nothing to do with the quality of the film. Its that most of the reviewers personally disagree with its message. Thanks for the summary of the plot. I was on the fence about taking my kid to this tonight, but now I think he will love it. We’re there dude.

    • Nell Minow

      David, if you read the review you will see that I recommend another faith-based film that raises the same questions and has better acting and storyline. On the other hand, you expressed your view without having seen either one, so that pretty much makes my point. Dude.

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com Chuck Anziulewicz

    Every year, usually around November, Fox News windbag Bill O’Reilly starts going on the warpath about some imaginary “War on Christmas,” which apparently has something to do with the fact that not everyone is Christian.

    Well this year director Darrel Campbell has beaten O’Reilly to the punch, putting together the story of one Bob Revere (!) in a movie guaranteed to be every teabagger’s wet dream.

    “People are declaring war on Christmas!” Revere cries, because at the local middle school, students in the holiday play sing Christmas carols with secularized lyrics such as “Silent night, wintry night” under the shrill direction of a (Surprise!) stereotypically Gay drama teacher.

    So Mr. Revere rallies the rest of the townsfolk to take on the nefarious American Civil Liberties Organization (read: ACLU), which naturally is not so much concerned with guarding our Constitutional rights as it is with making life miserable for poor Godfearing Christians like himself.

    Any wonder that this movie, like “2016: Obama’s America,” was timed to be released right before the election? How transparent can you get?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jenta

    I saw this movie, last night. I thought it was very good. It was heartwarming and as a Christian myself, it really spoke to the things I have found disturbing in my own country. No one was ramming Christianity down anyone’s throat and if you think so, please do not go see the movie. It simply was about standing up to the freedoms that many Christians, like myself, feel are being taken away. There is no law that says that a student cannot bring a bible to school or that says you cannot call the break during Christmas time..”Christmas Break”, or a Nativity scene on government property…period. No one should be offended by this, but simply be tolerant of our faith & not whine “I’m offended”! Whether any of you like it or not, this country was founded on Christian principles, and I’m NOT saying it was founded on the Christian faith…but principles that our founding fathers considered in their own Christian faith. This country was founded on freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. This is factual! Did you know that the universities in early America were run by pastors? Pastors were the founding Presidents in these universities. These days that would have been laughed at. Did you also know throughout history, if a country turned their back on God, every one of them were doomed and failed?? One of the most wonderful things about our country is that we have freedom to worship as we please or not……but please do not continue to persecute Christians by forcing us to hide our faith even if we are in public!! God Bless all of you.

  • http://pamsknitting.blogspot.com/ Pam

    Wow! What a storm! After reading your review, I thought I’d skip this one.

    But now that I’ve read the comments, I think I need to see this movie AND Christmas with a Capital C, so I can have some credibility when I talk with folks about this movie.

    Many of these comments make me sad. Thank you for your honest reviews, Nell.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Hope Mann

    Instead of taking the word of Nell, my hope is you will see the movie and make up your own mind — you might be pleasantly surprised and even inspired . . . the comment by many leaving the theater was, “This should be shown in every school in America.” Sadly, that is no longer possible.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you, Ms. Mann. I’m always glad to hear from someone who sees more in a movie than I do. As I said, however, this movie is likely to reinforce the views of those who already believe that Christianity is more about imposing symbols on the community than demonstrating grace and compassion.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tom

    The reality is that nell is no doubt a liberal. Liberalism has infiltrated the churches in America and the telling point is calling Christians that stand up for their faith, BULLIES! Jesus was in no way tolerant of anyone believing satanic religions such as Islam. Jesus said love the sinner, but hate the sin, People such as nell are using the typical method of attacking Christianity, TOLERANCE! Jesus never tolerated anything or anyone. Jesus went so far as to shake the dust from His feet if the people did not want to hear what He had to say. Does nell respect the right of the Israeli state to exist? Will nell admit that Christianity, the following of Jesus is the one TRUE faith and the Only way to heaven? When nell tolerates evil, she is, by her own words, saying it is Ok to exist. I guess beliefnet is a wolf In sheep’s clothing. You MUST NOTICE THIS! nell used the liberal keyword, TOLERANCE!

    • Nell Minow

      Tom, normally I would not allow a comment that is so hateful, but in this case I think it is important to let people know the atrocious positions taken by a small minority of those who call themselves Christian. It saddens me terribly to see anyone reinforce the worst fears of those who think of Christians as arrogant or bigoted. There is more evil in the absence of compassion and generosity of spirit of your comment than in those you accuse. Those who are called to worship God in ways that do not meet your narrow definition are more likely to be found pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. Keep in mind that you are always an ambassador for your beliefs. You will not bring anyone closer to the divine with this kind of bitterness and ignorance.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pam N.

    Hi, I just wanted to add 2 cents to this discussion for those who might be interested. The specific post to which I am responding referenced Thomas Jefferson’s view on the importance of separation of church and state. I just wanted to add that the subject came up in a letter he wrote to a church group that was very concerned about the new government enforcing state established churches. Thomas Jefferson assured them that the STATE would not impose its values on their freedom of worship. It was NOT the other way around! And just a note — it is NOT in the constitution or the Declaration of Independence. Freedom of religion is, however, in the constitution and was/is a much broader right than just freedom of worship as so many would like to define it to be today. Another quick thought – being a Christian (a Catholic Christian in particular) does not at all preclude a belief in evolution. They are NOT mutually exclusive.

    • Nell Minow

      Pam N and Mr. Fischer — I suggest you read through the extensive comments on the movie and my review for further thoughts on the movie and the separation of church and state. I happen to be a lawyer as well as a movie critic and I have studied the history of the 1st Amendment, the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison about their intentions, and the Supreme Court decisions written by many Justices appointed by both Republicans and Democrats over many decades. Many of them concern the meaning of the “Establishment Clause,” and what actions constitute sufficient government support for religion to “establish” it, including showing support for one religion over another. I believe the courts are correct in interpreting that as limiting the display of one religion’s symbols or practices in public spaces like town squares and schools. Thanks, Pam N, for your views on religion and evolution. I agree. They are different but entirely compatible ways of looking at the same questions. But you will not be surprised to hear that the last discussion of that topic also led to a lot of comments with more heat than light. Having religious symbols on public property that is supposed to represent all of the people is exactly the kind of government support and involvement in religion that Thomas Jefferson wanted to prevent, and that is what the Supreme Court has referred to in ruling on these issues over many decades and with opinions by Justices appointed by both Democrats and Republicans. Those decisions are well worth reading.

      Mr. Fischer, I was especially disappointed in the lack of compassion and empathy in your comments. It always saddens me deeply when those who purport to represent Christian faith display smallness of spirit. Many Jewish people do work on Christmas and in a number of cities there are coordinated efforts by Jews to take over for Christians who were scheduled to work so that they can be with their families. However, it is a federal holiday, while they must use their vacation time to observe their holy days.

      This country was founded on the separation of church and state. The founders were well aware of the consequences of combining them when, for example, Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church and later when his sister tried to reinstate it and when groups like the Pilgrims were not allowed to practice their religion and had to leave. The US has been a shining light to the rest of the world as other countries have struggled and abused their citizens in the name of religion. This country stands for two principles — the free exercise of religion by anyone who wishes and no imposition of religion (including no government preference for any religion). As with other freedoms, your freedom ends where your neighbor’s freedom begins and your freedom to practice your religion does not include your freedom to intrude or impose it on anyone else.

      From my perspective, this movie promoted bullying by supporting the idea of imposing one religious practice on others. I am unable to understand how it promotes anyone’s spiritual connection to the divine to devote any time or energy to putting religious symbols anywhere other than private property and places of worship when they may intrude on other people. To me, it feels like pride and has no connection to the humility, grace, and privacy that nourishes the spirit. And I am unable to understand how anyone considers this to be a “liberal” point of view when it is the very essence of conservatism to give each individual the freedom from intrusive bullying by others on matters that are so deeply personal.

  • http://Youdisappointedme. Bruce Fischer

    I have always checked your reviews before I see a move but after your liberal bashing of Last Ounce of Courage, I am having second thoughts. Yes this is a simple movie about what the majority of America believes is Christmas – and why is that wrong? Granted it exaggerates items but sometimes you need to do that to make a point.

    Also – as the mayor said, anyone who wants to display a non-Christian symbol in the town square is welcomed to do so – OH you neglected to mention that. Christmas is just that – a Christian holiday. It was designated as such and there is nothing wrong with that. It was sad that 100% of the theater – was over 50 years old – about 40 people. The liberals and the young are giving away the freedom that I – and many others fought for – something that today is being forgotten.

    Why can’t a town have a Christmas tree – if you are of another faith and wish to have your symbol up – do so – but please go to work on Christmas day. What is wrong with wishing people Merry Christmas? They can reply and a Happy Hanukah to you.

    I am extremely disappointed at the extreme liberal stance you took. Just as a FYI – I am a straight 68 year old Vietnam Era veteran, married for 46 years and a Christian – in other words a dinosaur.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Randy Maasters

    Nell, I finally saw the movie today with my sons. Very moving, especially the military aspects.

    I was thinking as I watched about the various discussions about separation of church and state that I’ve been in recently. I take this movie, admittedly heavy-handed, is a general expression of people’s discontent that faith is intimidated out of the public square. If government really is “we the people” well, we the people are majority people of faith. Why shouldn’t that aspect of “we the people” be acknowledged and celebrated? I thought it was a fine film, and was glad that I had my boys with me.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks, Randy, always glad to hear from you. I agree that the film is heavy handed, using our emotional connection to the tragic losses and our pride in the military to obscure the facts and the law. Yes, some people are discontented at keeping religious symbols out of public spaces. And some people are discontented when those symbols are put in public spaces. That is why we get so many lawsuits trying to apply the First Amendment in a way that protects the freedom of both sides. I do not expect that we will agree on this issue, my friend, but I can say as a lawyer and a passionate scholar of the 1st Amendment, I believe we best follow the wise intentions of the Founding Fathers by exercising our freedom of religion in our homes and in our places of worship to make sure that all Americans feel equally free to practice as they see fit. As the Supreme Court wrote: “The Constitution mandates that the government remain secular, rather than affiliating itself with religious beliefs or institutions, precisely in order to avoid discriminating against citizens on the basis of their religious faiths. Thus, the claim that prohibiting government from celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday discriminates against Christians in favor of nonadherents must fail, since it contradicts the fundamental premise of the Establishment Clause itself.” This seems to me be the entirely compatible with and even beneficial to the truest faith journeys, which are about grace, compassion, and giving rather than about pride, proclamations, and intrusion. As noted in my review, I much prefer “Christmas with a Capital C,” which concludes that a better way to observe God’s guidance than our puny symbols is to demonstrate compassion, forgiveness, and generosity. You are a good example of that, so I know you know what I am talking about.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rick LaMirand

    as a Christian and determined to follow the principle and teaching of Christ!, I strongly believe we should try to reach out to others in love and compassion, and love our neighbor as ourselves, and while tolerance is to be our goal, at what point do we give in to everything, and stand for nothing? This movie, while slightly cheesy is about taking a stand for what you believe and what you value. All of us believe in something and if we compromise on everything than at what point is there any real truth.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you, Mr. LaMirand. Of course it is important to take a stand for what you believe and what you value and it is important to know the difference between compromise and surrender. But I do not see how it is anything but destructive to both the foundational principles of The Constitution and the values of Christianity to focus on trivial symbols and public expressions of faith instead of protecting the freedoms of those with other beliefs and practicing humility and compassion.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jennifer

    As a Christian, there are alot of things being done today that offend my beliefs and practices. My son (who is 9) was in school and saying a prayer to himself before he ate his lunch. He got in trouble because he offended those that were not christian around him. We are so worried about being politically correct, that we are stomping on the beliefs and values that created this country. This country was founded on Christianity. The original government would say a prayer before each congressional hearing. The word chistmas is being changed to x-mas-which is offensive! Reading a bible in public is considered offensive-because others do not want to look at it. We have taken the 1st admendment to the other extreme. We are now so worried about the minority that we are degrading the beliefs of others, expecially those that are christian. I have lived in other countries and seem religious oppression. I have seen those same countries with a government religion-there is a difference in those countries. It is a section of their religion that they think is dominant over the other section.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you for your comments, Jennifer. A few points in response. First, Xmas is an ancient term that goes back centuries when X was used to represent the name of Christ. That term is not a reflection of secularization of Christmas. Second, this country was founded on the separation of church and state. The founding fathers were very aware of the butchery and abuse that resulted from combining religion and government in England and Spain. The First Amendment gives everyone the right to practice their religion as long as it does not infringe on anyone else or reflect any government endorsement or preference. I am a lawyer who has studied Constitutional law and I strongly suggest that you read the words of the founding fathers and the decisions of the Supreme Court, written by many justices appointed by both parties over many decades. You will see that some of your claims are not accurate. There is still a Chaplain in the House of Representatives and you can see the prayers here: http://chaplain.house.gov/ No political candidate or party is asking that “In God We Trust” be removed from money. I do share your views about the coarsening of the language and images our children are exposed to, which is one of the reasons I have this site.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jennifer

    I was trying to correct my spelling errors in the comment, and hit enter (I know especially and seen :-)). As a country we are so worried about what everyone things, and are we being politically correct. I have no problem with other religions, but I do think that we need to realize that our country was founded on the basis of Christianity and its beliefs. Without these beliefs, most of us would not be here today. We are seeing these values being takne away more and more everyday. “In God we Trust” is on money-and yet it is something that people are fighting to remove because it offends them. Saying the pledge of alliance in classrooms-is not being said because of the words “under god.” What I find funny, is that we have so many people fighting about these simple words, and that they are being offended by christianity, but yet these same people have no problems with the language and the sex being displayed on tv, in movies, etc. Not one religion in this world allows and agrees with sex and the foul language anywhere. What the problem is, is people’s comfort level. They dont care about the sex and language, because it is freedom of speech, but yet saying a prayer or seeing a christmas tree or anything on those lines is offensive. There is a problem with humanity as a whole, when we allow sex and foul language over God into our hearts and minds.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Shirl

    I see you feature the horoscope…

    I’m sorry..I thought I had stumbled onto a Christian site. Now I better understand the review.

    • Nell Minow

      Shirl — Beliefnet respects people of all faiths and all journeys to a connection with the divine. I am sorry to see someone who identifies as a Christian expressing herself with sarcasm and hostility as it reinforces the worst stereotypes of those who profess to follow Christ but in reality are petty and lack compassion. If you want to bring people closer to God, try showing them the grace your faith has brought to you.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Linda Peterson

    I chanced upon your review of this movie and am in total disagreement with your assessment. Yes, you DO sound like a thin-skinned liberal whose goal is to demonize movies about religious freedoms. If you thought the mayor of this town was a bully, you weren’t paying attention to who the real bully was. Most of those townspeople–THE MAJORITY!!!–wanted to celebrate their faith PUBLICLY!! They were not breaking any laws and their unity against Christian detractors won the day. Sure a few scenes were a little hokey, but the writing and the plot were well done. Sorry you don’t like it when lives are made whole after tragedy, but the point of fighting for FREEDOM comes through loud and clear. The ending was very touching. The characters demonstrated that the citizens of the United States need to take a stand for the freedoms that are slipping away, due to liberal government and apathetic, clueless citizens. I recommend you also watch the movie “Time Changer,” which also happens to feature Jennifer O’Neal. She’s on fire for Christ! By the way, do you also think the annual Lifechain event is bullying? Too bad!

    • Nell Minow

      Ms. Peterson, I appreciate your taking the time to share your views but I think anyone who reads your comments and mine will know which one of us is “thin-skinned,” — the one who uses all caps. People in this country have the freedom to practice whatever religion they want to in their homes and places of worship and on private property and in their hearts. But you are wrong about the law, which does prohibit certain religious practices and symbols in spaces that belong to all the people. The right to freedom of religion is not the same as the right to use taxpayer resources to inflict that practice on others. Many countries combine church and state according to the beliefs of the majority, but this country was founded on the opposite principle and any individual’s freedoms end where others begin. I recommend you read some of the history of the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the Supreme Court decisions interpreting the 1st Amendment, written by many justices appointed by both parties over many decades and look at what happens in countries where governments and religion are combined. The other movie I recommend in place of this one, “Christmas with a Capital C,” is a faith-based film that instead of focusing on forcing unimportant symbols of Christian holidays on people who do not want to see them, shows that the best way to connect to God and fulfill His purpose — and bring others closer to Him as well — is to practice kindness, forgiveness, and humility.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment david

    some at church have mentioned seeing this film, the boy scout troop my boys belong to are going to see it, I watched the trailer and did not like what i felt it was trying to say, after your review I feel I was right, 11 year old boys are not old enough to understand the polical undertones this film seems to have.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you, David. I appreciate your letting me know your decision, and I agree.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Brinor

    I haven’t seen the movie but was thinking about purchasing the DVD for family Christmss gifts because I liked the message. After reading your comments and those of others on this site I am prompted to ask: How did we manage to keep our Freedom and our constitutional rights for all the years before the ACLU stuck its nose into interpreting the law in favor of the minority. We sang Christmas Carols in school, had nativity plays, put up CHRISTMAS trees on municipal property and no one suffered for it. Those who did not believe recognized that they were in the minority and had no right to impose their views on the MAJORITY since that is what democracy is about. I don’t like nor do I want my grandchildren to see Gays and Lesbians and TG/BS people flaunt their behavior on the streets but if I lived in San Francisco I’d have to see it in a parade on a PUBLIC STREET. Where is the difference please? What Christians want is not harmful to anyone. Those who can find a small child in a manger, a shepherd, some sheep, a couple of adults, a donkey and a cow a threat are the ones who have problems. Are they threatened by such a scene? How does it offend?

    • Nell Minow

      It saddens me deeply to see such a comment like this associated with Christianity. I wish you set a better example of what faith has to offer. Brinor, if I thought you were open to engaging sincerely on the answers to the questions you pose, I would direct you to the many sources that are available to explain what our Constitutional rights mean, especially with regard to minorities. As I have already explained, our founding fathers were very much aware of the atrocities that resulted from imposition of majority views of religion on the minority; indeed, it was a response to just that kind of oppression that inspired the pilgrims to set sail for what would become America. You are in no position to determine whether anyone suffered from government sponsorship of religious views that were not their own as you have not experienced it. You are not qualified to determine whether what you want is harmful to those who do not want it. If you would like to live in a country where the religion of the majority is inflicted on everyone, I can give you a list, but the US is not one of them. I will only suggest that you can better display the true spirit of Christianity and of Christmas by demonstrating compassion and generosity than by hanging tinsel anywhere but your own property and your place of worship or sounding like a bully in telling people for whom you have shown no consideration at all what they should feel. I hope the spirit of the season brings you more grace, humility, and understanding.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rich

    Interesting comments on this film. I can see both sides on this issue. The mayor was taking a stand for what he believed was a loss of our freedoms. He saw Christmas as something to be celebrated and not removed from discussion. It was Christmas not just a winter holiday. He questioned his grandson getting into trouble at school for bringing a bible. Could that overreaching happen? Yes. While I did not see him as being a bully I do see that a public entity should not be promoting a religion. But in the movie the town Christmas tree was taken down! I also see Christmas as a tradition that many fear is being lost. The movie also addresses the loss of a soldier son and it’s impact on his survivors and recognizes that we do not always behave with kindness to each other. Overall I liked the movie so long as you keep it simple. To the extent we haggle over the mayor taking a stand and pushing his point of view we complicate it. It was not about legalities as much as it is about being able to enjoy Christmas. By the way the mayor did say other religions should be free to do their thing too. Of course I appreciate the separation of church and state as quite necessary so a public entity cannot be pushing one religion. But then I see where Christmas is a long standing tradition and not solely religious.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you for your comments, Rich, much appreciated. I agree with you that kindness is what really matters most.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment papahog

    I can see by your review you know nothing about Freedom, this is probably the most powerful movie ever filmed. Hats of to the Producers and cast. “MERRY CHRISTMAS”

    • Nell Minow

      I can see why the movie appeals to you, papahog, because it promotes the same kind of bullying and lack of concern for others that you display in your comment. I wish I could find the humility, generosity, and grace of the Bible in your enthusiasm for the film.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jack

    Fine review, Nell. As someone who works in the Christian film industry, I have to say Last Ounce of Courage is an atrocious film in every respect, not least its bludgeoning “message”. Saddening — though hardly surprising — to see the response from so many who would call themselves Christian. Your replies to these comments are intelligent, thoughtful, and respectful — though I fear we may have moved irreversibly beyond the point of reasoned debate on such matters in this country. A great shame.

    • Nell Minow

      Thank you very much, Jack. Your kind words mean a great deal to me. And I am glad someone like you is working on faith-based films that will deliver the true message of Christianity and promote the reasoned debate we so desperately need.

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