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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits

(June 23, 2002)

By John W. Kennedy

Christians who watch motion pictures and videos rated PG-13, PG and even G believing the content is safe might want to give their decision some more thought.

"The ratings are profoundly misleading," film critic Michael Medved told PE Report. "PG-13 in particular has been something of a Trojan horse. PG-13 is much closer to R than PG in terms of content."

Movie reviewer Ted Baehr, author of The Media-Wise Family, concurs.

"The purpose of movie ratings is to confuse the issue," says Baehr, who publishes Movieguide in Los Angeles. "The whole thing is just a sham."

The Motion Picture Association of America, an anonymous seven-member board whose members are selected by the major studios, determines film ratings. Moviemakers voluntarily submit to the ratings — which are based on the amount of sex, violence and profanity — in an effort to keep from government regulation.

"The ratings no longer give parents a reliable indication of what they should be concerned about because some of the most worrisome films end up as PG-13," says the Seattle-based Medved, author of Hollywood Vs. America: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values.

"Many movies rated PG-13 today would have been rated R 10 years ago. There’s been a change in standards."

Those under age 17 are not supposed to see an R-rated film unless accompanied by an adult, although many young teens view the R rating not as a restriction but as a dare to try to get inside. Last year, theaters stepped up enforcement of the age restriction in an effort to avert congressional regulations.

Baehr, 55, points out that before ratings came into existence in 1968 Hollywood abided by the Motion Picture Code, which limited violence, graphic sexual content, profanity, obscenity and irreverent treatment of religion. Until that time, the Protestant Film Office and Catholic Legion of Decency reviewed nearly every script for immorality and anti-Christian bigotry. Now it’s clear that the movie ratings have been created by an industry that doesn’t accept Jesus Christ as Lord, Baehr says.

The MPAA board sets ratings by a formula that includes counting swear words and unclothed body parts. However, the immorality of the message isn’t necessarily measured.

Medved, 53, cites The Fast and the Furious as a violence- and profanity-laced film that "clearly glorified drugs, drinking, gang life and irresponsible sex." He also decries last year’s Crazy/Beautiful as more dangerous than many R-rated movies because it is targeted to teens. "It romanticized and glorified a very attractive and irresponsible hard-drinking, class-cutting, parent-defying, sexually free-spirited high school girl," says Medved, who hosts a three-hour syndicated talk show on the Salem Radio Network.

Studios seek the PG-13 rating for teen movies to gain a larger audience. PG-13 releases have gradually increased the amount of sexual innuendo, profanity and brief nudity allowed since implementation of the MPAA ratings.

Medved says some R-rated movies have a more positive message than PG-13 or PG films. Baehr says that some motion pictures, such as Amistad and Schindler’s List, have a great deal of Christian content despite an R rating.

Baehr’s Movieguide contains an elaborate content analysis that reviews everything from homosexual worldview to New Age elements. When Baehr in 1985 formed the Christian Film and Television Commission, a nonprofit organization that urges filmmakers to use Christian values in movies, only one Hollywood film, The Trip to Bountiful, had such elements. Last year, 98 theatrical releases — including seven of the top 10 moneymakers — had overt Christian and/or redemptive content, he says.

Baehr also is encouraged that studios no longer are shying away from G-rated features. The Princess Diaries last year became the first non-animated G-rated studio film in six years. It grossed $108.1 million, landing it in the top 20 moneymakers for 2001.

But even G-rated movies may have objectionable content. Last year, a Harvard School of Public Health study of 81 G-rated animated films since 1937 found that more than one-third of them showed tobacco or alcohol usage.

Baehr warns that seemingly benign films can be contrary to an evangelical Christian worldview. He says The Other Side of Heaven, a recent PG release about a Mormon missionary in the South Pacific, is theologically inaccurate and mocks true miracles available through Jesus Christ.

"If a cleaner film is just hiding nefarious occultic religious content, it’s not better," Baehr says. "Every religion except Christianity is a false religion."

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