Movie is too religious for MPAA

Movie is too religious for MPAA

Feature films get PG ratings because the Motion Picture Association of America deems that parental guidance is necessary for younger viewers. Their own web site,, says that the PG rating means:

Some material may not be suitable for children. This signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children - material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

Here’s the G rating:

This signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.

Thus a number of people are left scratching their heads wondering why the MPAA gave a movie produced by a Georgia church a PG-rating for being too religious.

A church-produced film about a school whose losing football team is turned around after the coach turns to God has been slapped with a “PG” rating—for being too religious. ... But after the Motion Picture Association of America rated the film, Kendrick said he was told that it got the ‘Parental Guidance’ rating for being so openly religious. Kendrick said he’s never heard of that criteria before and suggests it shows how much times have changed.

The MPAA’s own site says of the PG-rating for “Facing the Giants”: “Rated PG for some thematic elements.” Read the plot summary at and tell me why this merits a PG rating and not a G. There is no nudity, no sex, no drug use. Violence is apparently limited to football games. In fact, the rating says it is due to the movie’s themes. There was a time when movie ratings helped parents to determine whether a movie was suitable for their kids. Now it looks like it’s being used to advance an agenda, which is that traditional Christian faith is offensive to mainstream Americans.

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  • I wrote about this issue yesterday. Parental Guidance means just that. Parents should take a look before allowing their kids to see the film. If I were a Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, or Atheist parent and the movie was proselytizing Christianity I would want a heads up. As a Catholic Christian parent I want to know if the movie is a recruiting film for Islam, Judaism, Wicca, or Atheism. So on the surface the rating is not indefensible. If the concern was based strictly on the theme being Christianity, then yes, the rating is objectionable.

  • If proselytizing were the criteria then no movie could get a G rating. Even the G-rated movies today are advancing a viewpoint.

    Note that the G rating says the movie should contain nothing that most parents would consider offensive. The movie doesn’t have to be completely inoffensive to everyone. Would most Americans find a movie showing a religious conversion to a deeper Christian faith to be offensive?

    And what are the odds that the MPAA would slap a PG on the same movie if it were Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism? I’d say slim to none.

  • And indeed, as a Catholic parent, I would want to know if the film is prosletyzing for evangelical fundamentalist Protestantism.

  • In which case you read the movie synopsis or watch the trailer. I find having the MPAA decide a priori that the movie’s Christian content requires parental guidance to be disturbing.

    What’s next? PG for Veggies Tales? PG for those cartoons about the lives of the saints like the children of Fatima or St. Nicholas, (I think it’s called “The Boy Who Became Santa”). After all they contain “thematic” material that be proselytizing Christiniaty.

    I’m not comfortable when parents abdicate their normal responsibilities to Big Brother.

  • “In which case you read the movie synopsis or watch the trailer.”

    Isn’t that the whole point of the PG rating – to point out that parents will want to examine or inquire about the material?

    And although you seem to feel otherwise, I would hardly say that Christians are a persecuted minority when the religious right is claiming to represent “mainstream America” and the opinions of people like James Dobson and Pat Robertson get solicited from the White House.  Listening to this week’s Senate debate, it seems that anything other than “traditional Christian faith” is offensive to mainstream America.

  • Our local paper ran a blurb in its movie listings when the “Passion of Christ” had its run. The blurb warned of blood and violence…no other R-rated movie, from my observations, had ever received such an extra warning in the listing.

    Must be something about Christian…

  • Michael: If you’re waiting for to see what the rating is before reviewing whether your kid should see it, then you’re falling down on the job.

    And if you think the White House still consults Pat Robertson, you’re about 14 years behind in your political knowledge.

  • CCT,

    Congratulations. You’ve just provided an argument that would free every convicted criminal anywhere, unless perhaps the criminal committed the crime right there in the courtroom, and the trial happened immediately thereafter with the same judge and jury that were present for the crime.