Hollywoods Attack On Religion

  • Length: 1585 words (4.5 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

Hollywood's Attack on Religion

The section that I have chosen to analyze from the book Hollywood vs.
America is "The Attack on Religion." In this part of the book, Michael Medved
discusses the shift in attitude Hollywood has made toward religion, from
acceptable to contemptible. He takes a look at the messages being sent in films,
music and television in the last 15 to 20 years and analyzes their effects. In
general, Hollywood depicts religion in an unfavorable manner, according to
Medved. Moreover, Medved also argues that, not only has Hollywood taken a
hostile stance toward religion, but it has paid the price, literally, for doing
so. All of Medved's arguments are well supported and documented, making them
seemingly futile to argue against. Yet, Hollywood, which includes films, music
and television, continues to disregard the obvious facts that Medved has
In the first chapter of this section, "A Declaration of War," Medved
discusses the facts surrounding the protest which took place on August 11, 1988,
in opposition to the release of the motion picture The Last Temptation of Christ.
MCA/Universal, which funded the Martin Scorsese film, called the protesters a
"know-nothing wacky pack" (38). However, as Medved points out, the protest was
"the largest protest ever mounted against the release of a motion picture" (37)
and included such groups as the National Council of Catholic Bishops, the
Southern Baptist Convention, twenty members of the U.S. House of Representatives
and prominent figures such as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Ken Wales, former
vice president at Disney studios. Even with such strong opposition from these
respected groups and people, the studio refused to listen and stood behind its
First Amendment rights.
MCA/Universal was even supported by the Motion Picture Association of
America, which stated that "The . . . MPAA support MCA/Universal in its absolute
right to offer to the people whatever movie it chooses" (41). However, Medved
rebukes this statement, arguing that "absolute right" wasn't the issue; the
issue "concerned the movie company's choices, not its rights" (41). He supports
this argument further by indicating that the MPAA would never support a film
portraying Malcolm X as a paid agent of Hoover's FBI or portraying Anne Frank
"as an out-of-control nymphomaniac" (41). By releasing The Last Temptation of
Christ, the studio positions Jesus, God and Christianity below these prominent
figures in history because it is portraying Jesus and other religious figures in
uncharacteristic situations that would never be associated with these historical
figures. This is supported by past experiences when movies were edited so as to
not offend animal rights activists, gay advocacy groups, and ethnic

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Hollywoods Attack On Religion." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Apr 2018
Title Length Color Rating  
Essay about The Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor - On December 7, 1941 -- the day that will always be commemorated as “the date which will live in infamy” by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- the Japanese unexpectedly attacked the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This crippling attack caused many American casualties, and American citizens quickly became filled with fury and abhorrence; the detestation that swallowed the hearts of the American citizens was shown through President Roosevelt’s expeditious appeal to Congress to declare war against Japan....   [tags: Pearl Harbor Attack]
:: 15 Works Cited
1405 words
(4 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Reasons for the Attack on Pearl Harbor Essay - December 7th, 1941. This was the date of one of the most important attacks on the United States in the history of America. This was the date of the Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor was the last straw that led to the United States joining World War II as part of the Allied Power. The bombing was in reaction to many economic sanctions that were placed on Japan, so the bombing was not just to make the United States mad....   [tags: japanese attack, malaya, doolittle raid]
:: 30 Works Cited
1675 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about The Pearl Harbor Attack - The Pearl Harbor attack was a surprise, but for decades, America and Japan had been moving towards a war. No one thought that Japan would start a war with an attack on American soil. President Franklin Roosevelt called December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy. Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941; just 200 miles from Oahu. Hawaii and Japan are about 4,000 miles apart. This attack lasted two very short hours. The bombing killed more than 2,300 Americans and sank or beached 12 ships and destroyed 9....   [tags: attack, war, japan] 682 words
(1.9 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Religion in Candide by Voltaire Essay - ... Voltaire said that Jacques was a good Anabaptist in the ‘Candide’ though he was never baptized. The Anabaptist represents a solution or viewpoint of the sufferings. Anabaptist is a member of a radical sixteenth-century Christianity in which is a sect of the Reformation He cares for Candide and Pangloss. Pangloss says Candide that ‘Private misfortunes contribute to the general good, so that the more private misfortunes there are, the more we find that all is well’(pg 31) The kindness of the Anabaptist that Candide meets, shows the stupidity of religious prejudices to us....   [tags: attacks and criticism on religion] 825 words
(2.4 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay about The Effects of Hollywoods on Society - ... “There are 12 year old girls who see photos of celebrities who wear a size 0. These celebrities are obviously glamorized and those little girls start telling themselves they are not good enough the way they are. They need to diet & exercise. The fact is, we can’t shield our pre-teens from this negativity" (Miller). She also says "Now, there is a whole load of 40 year olds developing anorexia because so much emphasis is now created on the slogan “40 is the new 20" (Miller). This is crucial in understanding that Hollywood is harmful for all ages....   [tags: models, children, real]
:: 3 Works Cited
831 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Education and Religion - Religion is the foundation for all societies and cultures. Religion makes people who they are. Because the United States was founded on the principles of religion, the citizens of this country can practice whatever religion they like without being persecuted. The liberties provided under the Constitution allow individuals to practice their religious beliefs openly and without judgment. These beliefs provide guidance and structure in the lives of these individuals. Religion influence many aspects of day to day issues such as life choices, dress, and education....   [tags: Religion ]
:: 7 Works Cited
1616 words
(4.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Religion and Violence Essay - Conflict and violence is around us throughout the world and the mass media has made a huge impact of what we think of violence and the relation to religion, especially in the last couple of years. In addition violence has been considered as being part of human nature and comes from our biological structure of aggression. It is an out let for us to relieve stress levels and some believe that it can be a device of vengeance and a positive mechanism to human survival. For example it is a system for the survival of the fittest and reproduction....   [tags: Religion] 1089 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Target: The Largest Data Breach/Attack - In December 2013, Target was attacked by a cyber-attack due to a data breach. Target is a widely known retailer that has millions of consumers flocking every day to the retailer to partake in the stores wonders. The Target Data Breach is now known as the largest data breach/attack surpassing the TJX data breach in 2007. “The second-biggest attack struck TJX Companies, the parent company of TJMaxx and Marshall’s, which said in 2007 that about 45 million credit cards and debit cards had been compromised.” (Timberg, Yang, & Tsukayama, 2013) The data breach occurred to Target was a strong swift kick to the guts to not only the retailer/corporation, but to employees and consumers....   [tags: cyber attack, data breach, hackers]
:: 7 Works Cited
1217 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
My Father's Heart Attack Essay - My Father's Heart Attack In March of 1998, my father was rushed to the hospital because of a heart attack. I remember getting home from basketball practice without my mother home. Instead, my sister was there with her children. The fact that my sister was there was familiar to me, but something did not seem right. My sister stayed with me and did not tell me what happened. Later that night, after my sister left, the news that followed would prepare me to encounter the most defining moment of my life....   [tags: Personal Narrative Heart Attack Medical Essays] 815 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Islamic Religion Essays - Islamic Religion Islam has been characterized inequitably by historians and the media as a religion of violence. Islam was mainly spread through Arab territorial conquests. Upon examination, it is not fair to make the generalization that Islam is a religion of violence. One can see when looking at world religion on a whole that Islam was no more violent than any other religion. In fact, not only is Islam not a fundamentally violent philosophy, but we can also see that many other religions normally considered "non-violent," such as Christianity or Hinduism, have been spread through bloody conquest....   [tags: Islam Religion Religion Essays History] 1752 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]

Related Searches


Leaders of the motion picture business showed more concern
with possible sacrilege against the religious traditions of
a single Hopi village than with certain offense to the faith
of tens of millions of believing Christians; the prospect of
being labeled "antiwolf" produced greater worry than the
prospect of being labeled "anti-Christ" (42).

Of course, the response to this is that the changes were made during the
production of the other films, not afterward. Again, Medved argues back,
pointing out that "Martin Scorsese and his associates kept their plans for The
Last Temptation a closely guarded secret from all church leaders" (43).
The press also distorted the movement against the release of the film by
"focusing on one utterly unrepresentative individual as the preeminent symbol of
that movement: the Reverend R. L. Hymers" (43). His predictions of impending
apocalypse, his violent outbursts, and his history of legal problems "lived up
to anyone's worst nightmare of deranged religious fanatic. Naturally, the press
couldn't get enough of him" (43). The press also misrepresented the movement's
main objections, according to Medved, by focusing on the "dream sequence" in
which Jesus makes love to Mary Magdalene, "and asserting that this image alone
had provoked the furor in the religious community" (44). However, Christian
leaders objected to more than that; they identified "more than twenty elements"
(44) that were offending to them. In other words, "the press helped to make the
protesters look like narrow-minded prudes" (44). As a result, Hollywood misled
itself and the public into believing that the protesters' main objective was to
censor the film. As Medved says, "What they [protester] wanted from the
industry wasn't censorship; it was sensitivity" (45).
     Besides the fact that The Last Temptation of Christ was so heavily
protested against, it was a bad movie, according to Medved, who is also a movie
critic. He even went on the record saying,

It is the height of irony that all this controversy should
be generated by a film that turns out to be so breathtakingly
bad, so unbearably boring. In my opinion, the controversy
about this picture is a lot more interesting than the film
itself (47).

However, the movie industry defended the film by nominating Scorsese for an
Academy Award as Best Director. This response by the movie industry "provides a
good example of the film establishment rallying around a bad film to protect its
own selfish interest . . . that film, . . . was a slap in the face to
Christians everywhere," (48) according to Mickey Rooney, one of only a few
established Hollywood figures who spoke out against the film. And in the end,
MCA/Universal got what it deserved, according to Medved, losing at least $10
million because people, Christian or not, realized how bad the movie was.
The confrontation between Christians and Hollywood over The Last
Temptation of Christ was just one of the incidents in the last 15 years in which
Hollywood has attacked religion. In the past, leaders of the film industry
"understood the importance of honoring the faith of their patrons. For them, it
was not only a matter of good business, but an element of Œgood citizenship'"
(51). Films such as Going My Way, Angels with Dirty Faces, and Boys Town,
portrayed religious characters "in a sympathetic light" (51). But in the last
15 years or so, "Hollywood has swung in the opposite extreme" (52). When a
religious figure is portrayed now, it is likely that "he will turn out to be
corrupt or crazy ­ or probably both" (52). Medved goes on to discuss several
movies which attacked Catholics, Born-Again Christians, and Jews. He gives a
brief synopsis of these movies, highlighting the portions which portray religion
in a negative way. For the most part, the movie titles are unfamiliar. This
can be accounted for by the fact that "the overwhelming majority of these
pictures performed abysmally at the box office" (64).
The main reason these films did so poorly is probably due to the fact
that there is "a significant ­ and growing ­ percentage of the American
population" (70) that is committed to a traditional faith. On the other hand,
most of the people who play a large part in producing movies claim no religious
affiliation whatsoever: "93 percent . . . say they seldom or never attend
religious services" (71). This fact is one of the main reasons why Hollywood
has lost touch when it comes to religion in movies, according to Medved: ". . .
unrepresentative personal perspective has helped to blind Hollywood's leaders to
the intense involvement of most Americans with organized faith" (71). And when
movies "have portrayed organized faith in a favorable and affectionable light,"
(75) they have been successful:

          . . . the extraordinary films mentioned above shared another
common element: an impressive level of both commercial and
critical success. These seven pictures won two Oscars for Best
Picture . . . three for Best Actress, and one for Best Actor (76).

Of course, the film industry isn't solely responsible for Hollywood's
attack on religion. The music industry and television are also guilty of
slandering religion. Lyrics by groups such as R.E.M., Black Sabbath and Judas
Priest indicate the music industry's contempt for religion. For television,
"God's influence . . . is all but invisible" (79). Statistics show that "only
5.4 percent of the characters had an identifiable religious affiliation ­
although 89 percent of Americans claim affiliation with an organized faith" (80).
Religion's only outlet for television is "relegated mostly to Sunday mornings
and televangelists" (80).
Medved analyzes the reasons for Hollywood's attack on religion and
narrows it down to two specific reasons. One reason is that "movie, TV, and
music moguls are motivated by the pursuit of profit" (87) and they believe there
is money to be made by slandering religion. But the main reason is that they
are in constant pursuit of "the respect of their peers" (87). And religion "is
the one subject in the world that everyone acknowledges as fundamentally
serious" (88). So when writers and directors attack religion, "no matter how
clumsy or contrived that attack may be, they can feel as if they've made some
sort of important and courageous statement" (88). Thus, "a filmmaker can win
the respect of his colleagues, even if his work is rejected by the larger
public" (88).
It is obvious that Hollywood's attacks on religion have been fruitless;
Hollywood loses money and established religions have been degraded publicly.
Medved is thorough in evaluating Hollywood's stance on religion, and even more
thorough in knocking it down. His arguments against Hollywood for its attacks
on religion are supported by facts that Hollywood has refused to realize. It is
absurd that Hollywood continues to attack religion, especially when figures show
that a vast majority of the population claim some sort of affiliation with an
established religion. It would only make sense for Hollywood to change its ways
and adopt "a greater sense of neutrality and balance . . . when it comes to
portrayals of organized faith" (90).

Return to 123HelpMe.com