Film Rating Upsets Christian Groups

ByABC News via via logo

June 22, 2006 — -- The makers of the new film "Facing the Giants" say the Motion Picture Association of America's viewpoint is biased on the movie's celebration of Christian values.

"It's interesting that the Bible, which used to be the standard for what is good and right and virtuous and true is now taboo and we have to warn people about it," said Alex Kendrick who directed and stars in "Facing the Giants."

"Facing the Giants" is about a down-and-out high school football coach who uses religion to fuel a personal and professional comeback.

The two evangelical pastors from Georgia who made the film on a shoestring budget thought they might get a PG rating because the hard football hits and frank talk about one character's infertility. They say they were shocked when the motion picture association told them they got the PG rating because of the film's religious content.

The Motion Picture Association of America, which rates movies, says it's received more than 15,000 e-mail complaints from people who say "Facing the Giants" should have been rated G instead of PG, more than 10 times the previous record for complaint volume.

Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sent an angry letter to the MPAA.

"If religion creates a warning for parents and kids and violence and bad language don't, this thing appears to me to be heading in the wrong direction, and I think most Americans would agree," Blunt said.

The MPAA says the uproar is simply a matter of miscommunication on both sides. Its spokesman doesn't deny that the world "proselytization" may have come up in the conversation between the filmmakers and the ratings board.

"It may well have come up, but it wasn't the reason they got that rating," said John Feehery, executive vice president of the MPAA. "The reason they got the rating was because of some of the more mature themes that were in that movie."

Some say the MPAA should warn parents whether a film has overtly religious overtones. One of the filmmakers said he'd want to be warned if his children were going to see a film with a pro-Islamic message.

"But our country wasn't founded on Islamic values," Kendrick said. "It was founded on Judeo-Christian values."

One conservative Christian commentator said that all the publicity this controversy had generated could help the film. He called it a "blessing in disguise."

"Facing the Giants" debuts on about 400 screens in September.

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