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Evangelicals damned for reviewing ‘porn’

Evangelicals damned for reviewing ‘porn’

A dotty evangelical outfit in America, Focus on the Family, has drawn fire from an even dottier bunch of fundies for reviewing the recently released movie Fifty Shades of Grey … after it had urged cinemas not to screen it.

The FotF review appeared on its popular culture site, Plugged In, where Paul Asay wrote:

This is a love story, it could be said. But any love story without God gets twisted into a broken, heartbreaking jumble.

Earlier he warned readers about the sexual content, saying:

Ana [Dakota Johnson who has acted as Anastasia Steele in the Hollywood movie], who is a virgin when the story starts, spends large quantities of screen time naked, and we see pretty much every part of her that there is to see, including full-frontal nudity.

Asay explains here why Plugged In chose to review the film.

Enter Shane Dodson, who writes for Gospel Spam (motto “Theology worth reading, not deleting”). On discovering the review, he let loose with:

Have you heard? Focus on the Family is now reviewing … pornography. A pornographic film based upon a pornographic book is about to be released to theaters nationwide, and Focus on the Family is reviewing it so that you – dear Christian – can know whether or not you should go and watch pornography. That’s right, a popular evangelical Christian ministry has as its stated policy the practice of reviewing pornography.

Dodson, who “desires to serve King Jesus until his time here is finished” adds:

There is a reason why this pornographic film is being talked about in break rooms and living rooms and even churches across our country: because people are voyeuristic perverts. Pornography has become a scourge not only on our nation but specifically upon the American evangelical church.

Church members (both male and female) sit in pews Sunday and after Sunday pretending to be spiritual folk as they continue to harbor a secret love of pornography. Children are being exposed to pornography at an alarming rate. Marriages have been decimated because of a spouse that was entrenched in porn.

Other marriages and families continue to suffer because of it. What is Focus on the Family’s response? Go watch it and provide a review of it for their readers. Using the logic presented here, they should also send reviewers to various pornographic websites – many of which are far more popular and generate far more revenue than a fictional book about a sadomasochistic relationship – and provide reviews of the sex videos available there. Does that sound positively absurd? Why doesn’t it sound absurd to Focus on the Family?

Dodson’s lengthy rant concludes with the words:

Plugged In – in their unfortunate choice to bring pornographic films into their scope of film criticism –have committed the error of conflating porn as art. I hope and pray that those in control of such things repent of their blasphemy and of causing brothers and sisters to stumble.

The Lord Jesus Christ warned of a horrible fate for those who would cause a believer to stumble (Mark 9:42). Focus on the Family should heed that warning, because there is more than just their credibility on the line here.

Meanwhile, Edward L Rubin, writing for Salon, reported that:

In spite of this avalanche of condemnations, a funny thing happened last weekend: ’50 Shades of Grey’ grossed a monstrous $93 million at the box office –  eclipsing The Passion of the Christ, of all movies, as the highest-grossing February opening of all time.

Not even Christian moviegoers seemed to be paying much attention to evangelical pundits. ’50 Shades’ is a smash hit in the heavily Republican, mega-churchgoing Southern states of the union. Mississippi and Arkansas, certainly two of the most conservative and religious states in the country, ranked first and second in pre-opening ticket purchases.

Rubin concludes:

This is a moral movie, despite all of its flaws, not because the characters are necessarily in the right, but for the same reason that ‘King Lear’ is a moral play. It gives the audience a chance to think about their own ideas of right and wrong. That is why writers attached to the old morality (who typically identify themselves as Christians) have been urging their readers not to see the movie. 

It’s not only that the movie depicts sex, but because it invites its viewers to think about, and become familiar with, the rapidly advancing morality of self-fulfillment.

16 responses to “Evangelicals damned for reviewing ‘porn’”

  1. zombiehunter says:

    Father Ted “DOWN WITH THIS SORT OF THING”

    Father Dougal “careful now”

  2. Broga says:

    I tried to read the sample of the book on Kindle. It was dreary. I soon gave up. I have heard the film is better than the book. However, that sets the bar very low.

    Mary Whitehouse now gone to heaven, largely forgotten, and unlamented saw it as her duty to check out programmes or books featuring sex. A typical self sacrificing Christian. Or someone able to indulge her sexual appetite vicariously while doing her duty.

  3. Daz says:

    I did the same as Broga, and so far as I can tell from the sample, it’s a fuckin’ awful read. I think it shows how prudish we are as a society that a book should gain so much attention merely for daring to discuss sexual matters, regardless of literary merit.

    (By the way, I highly recommend Jasper Fforde’s unenumerated and unsexy Shades Of Grey.)

  4. barriejohn says:

    Broga: Mary Whitehouse even saw sexual innuendo in BBC childrens’ programmes. I see today that, in a new book, one of her chief lieutenants in the appalling Festival of Light (Malcolm “The Life of Brian is blasphemous” Muggeridge) is being accused of having been a “serial groper”!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2962449/1970s-icons-BBC-Malcolm-Muggeridge-Sir-Huw-Wheldon-serial-gropers-claims-book.html

  5. SallyinMI says:

    I have to admit that I read the entire first book. It is awful. The writing is high school level at best. The sex is well, unusual. I’m sure this appeals to young married women who want a thrill (I was attracted to Bertrice Small books 30 years ago) but the writing is so awful that the movie had to be better. I will not waste money on the film. And the evangelicals can rant and rave all they like, but it’s sort of like the Catholic bishops demanding their women not use contraception, all the while knowing that most of them do. People like porn, and threatening them with hell won’t keep them away from this film. More’s the pity…there are two more books!

  6. barriejohn says:

    More breaking news: pornography is a “silent epidemic in churches”. Meanwhile, bears continue their lavatorial pursuits in woods, and the Pope denies rumours of his imminent conversion to protestantism.

    http://limaohio.com/news/lifestyle/151912900/Pornography:-Silent-epidemic-in-churches

    PS People are wondering what a “self processed Christian man” might be. The mind boggles!

  7. Broga says:

    Daz: Thanks. Yep, Fifty Shades of Grey, or the bit I read, was clumsily written and dull,dull,dull.

  8. barriejohn says:

    BTW I have mentioned several times recently my interest in the tripe being sent into people’s homes on Freeview Channel 65 by TBN UK. One particularly appalling series, eulogizing such blatant liars and faudsters as Smith Wigglesworth and Kathryn Kuhlman, is God’s Generals, presented by one Roberts Liardon. When I looked up this vile creature (who was new to me) on the internet I very nearly sprayed coffee all over my computer!

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/liardon.html

    Pastor and writer Roberts Liardon is stepping down from ministry after admitting to “moral failure.” He is taking a three-month leave of absence to seek “professional and church counseling related to a recent short-term homosexual relationship,” according to a statement issued on behalf of his Embassy Christian Center in Irvine, Calif.

    Now, where have I heard that before?

  9. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Oh no, not the saintly Malcolm, discoverer of Mother Theresa. Is nothing sacred? I can still recall that prissy voice, the exaggerated enunciation, the superior tone. A serial groper, indeed. MM who was so condemnatory towards others. How many more?

  10. Trevor Blake says:

    “Unto the pure, all things are pure… but unto them that are defiled is nothing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” – Titus 1:15,

  11. Broga says:

    Posh accents, superior attitudes, members of the VIP club all to hide a moral sewer. The plebs have been conditioned into knee jerk subservience.

  12. tonye says:

    I love this bit ‘But any love story without God gets twisted into a broken, heartbreaking jumble.’

    Which made me think that gods hardly the best marriage counsellor around, just ask Lots wife and Job’s wife for references.

  13. Marky Mark says:

    If I remember correctly, back in the seventies a book titled, “The Happy Hooker” was a big hit and best seller. Christians have always bought and read such books over the years in the privacy of their own homes, than condemn them on Sundays.

    I’ve not read this book but have heard about it…guess I’ll have to watch the movie since like all humans, I’m a voyeur too.

  14. Vanity Unfair says:

    http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/fifty-shades-of-grey.aspx
    Look at the bright side. Paul Asay has seen the film before reviewing it. Now read the review. It’s well written and has some interesting points.
    Asay does point out its positive aspects as well as those he finds unsuitable for his readership. He does not find it a good film; neither do other reviewers. If you have read his review you will not see this film by mistake.

  15. gedediah says:

    “It gives the audience a chance to think about their own ideas of right and wrong.”

    That’s the last thing fundies want their flocks to do.

  16. Robster says:

    That Muggeridge character’s already shuffled off this mortal coil if I remember correctly. Sad really, imagine the prison story if he, Rolf Harris and Gary Glitter were to end up in the same house? There’d be average vocals, some good art and lots of mindless bloviating I recon. Be most entertaining.