What Can Be Done?
- D. James Kennedy Author
- 2004 16 Mar
I've talked to newspaper and magazine writers who have told me, "I know that my editors [or publishers] want something much more negative, and I hope that I might be able to get this in." They feel constrained to write negative things about Christians or about ministers, knowing that if they don't, the editors won't even publish their stories. We need to realize that because we retreated from the media and from politics and government and science and higher education, we have left these fields to the unbelievers. Now we need to begin to get more young people into the media to affect it. We need to have more Christian studio heads, anchormen, news writers, producers, and directors to affect the culture, since these people influence the thinking of so many others. This is not going to happen overnight, but over a period of several decades.
Secondly, we need to pray for these people – for their conversions. I wonder how many of you pray for actors, directors, producers, and writers? I must confess that I have prayed very little for them. We should also pray that those who are Christians will be strengthened as they attempt to lead godly lives and to have some influence.
We also need to evangelize – not just people in the media, when we have an opportunity, but we need to evangelize, period. Because the church has failed to fulfill the Great Commission in evangelizing the culture and to fulfill the cultural mandate to affect the spheres of society, our culture has produced a vast audience for these people that allows them to go on.
Do you realize that Hollywood is one of America's largest exporters? But what are we exporting to the world? Denigration of Christian beliefs and morals. Promotion of the homosexual lifestyle, which generally cuts a person's life span in half.32 Promotion of all sorts of sex outside of marriage. Promotion of stealing, lying, and cheating when you can get away with it. Promotion of every profanity and blasphemy you can imagine. Promotion of gratuitous and disturbing violence. All these themes and many more are marketed to the world.
If millions of dedicated Christians turned off their sets at the onset of objectionable programs, stopped purchasing movie tickets for unacceptable movies, and stopped buying objectionable CDs, things would change rapidly. Too often we're part of the problem instead of the solution. Please do a little research before purchasing a movie ticket. You can find out about a movie before you decide to see it at www.movieguide.org or www.screenit.com. Generally, you don't get burned if you do your homework.
Missionaries to Hollywood
Think about this question. Who wields more influence? The leaders in Washington or those in Hollywood? Robert Knight, author of "The Age of Consent: The Rise of Relativism and the Corruption of Popular Culture," believes the answer is the latter: "If I had my choice to controlling Washington or Hollywood, I'd pick Hollywood in a heartbeat. Hollywood … has enormous influence on our culture. Political institutions don't operate in a vacuum, they arise out of culture. I'd rather control the high ground of culture than the political superstructure that grows out of that culture."33 Therefore, one way we can effect positive, long-term change is to support the missionaries to Hollywood (and New York).
One of my heroes is Larry Poland, who left a comfortable job as the president of a Christian college to start a missionary project. He founded Master Media in the 1980s to minister to Hollywood executives, writers, producers, and so on. And he also reached out to New York City media executives. At the same time he mobilized millions of Christians in the rest of the country to pray for all these people, including the "stars."
The work has been slow, but his organization has built bridges of friendships with many people over time. For instance, one Jewish man was miraculously converted. This man called Larry Poland and told him he was on the brink of signing a deal that would yield multimillions of dollars in profits. There was only one catch: pornography was at the heart of this venture. The Jewish convert told Larry, "Somehow I don't think Jesus would be pleased if I go through with the deal." Larry gently counseled the man, so that he could see for himself that, no, the Lord would not be pleased. Because of his new Christian convictions, the man turned down the deal.
Another man who is a type of missionary to Hollywood is Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of "Movieguide." Year after year Ted Baehr documents information that shows that anti-Christian movies generally bomb at the box office, while well-done pro-family movies, including those with Christian content, generally do well.34
I commend the work of these two missionaries. Since Hollywood exports to the rest of the world, these and similar efforts are extremely important. Please keep these men in your prayers and consider supporting their efforts. In the long run, this could easily have worldwide impact.
Do you know the name of the most active protest group to the media? It is the Gay Media Task Force. Directors and writers say that if they put anything on television that even in the slightest way is uncomplimentary to homosexuals, an unending string of phone calls comes into the station. And they will have a visit by several prominent homosexuals in the next forty-eight hours. That has an impact.
When was the last time you called a station and protested the way they portray Christians? We need to call the stations and write the networks.
There is also a need for solidarity. Unfortunately, too often Christians think, "That wasn't my particular denomination. They attacked somebody else."
That reminds me of what resistant Pastor Martin Niemoller said about the Nazis:
In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.35
We need to stand together as Christians, just as the Jewish people now do. If anything is said derogatorily about Jews, there's a tremendous outcry. It doesn't matter if the insult is against Reformed, Orthodox, or Conservative Jews; it is an attack upon Judaism. Yet we'll see the name of Jesus Christ dragged through the mud and Christians portrayed as idiots, hypocrites, fanatics, and worse, and we say nothing at all.
We also need to discuss what's going on with our youngsters. We can't protect our children from this media bias. They're going to get it some way, but they need to be taught to test what they are hearing.
Finally, we ought to watch less television. You know, television is addictive, according to psychologists. And some of you are addicted to television. In fact, I wonder if they took the television away altogether, would you know how to live your life? Someone said that merely trying to improve programming is like taking an alcoholic and telling him not to drink cheap whiskey, but Chavis Regal.
Thankfully, over the last few decades, millions and millions of Americans have been tuning out the dominant networks and turning to alternative sources of news. Fox News, which strives to allow for conservative voices, is beating the competition per capita everywhere it goes. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has far more listeners than any liberal commentator.
To counteract media bias, Christians are fighting back by finding alternative sources for news. This has inspired the founding of Christian radio and television stations that present another kind of news, and the rise of Internet sites.
Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin says:
NPR liberals are horrified. Across the country, thousands of radio listeners are tuning out conservative-basher Nina Totenberg, and tuning in conservative heroine Phyllis Schlafly ... For years, National Public Radio has gotten away with the smearing of religious groups and individuals, as it did earlier this year when NPR reporter David Kestenbaum falsely suggested that the Traditional Values Coalition, a Christian political action group, was responsible for the anthrax letters sent to Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Patrick Leahy, D-VT. Now religious groups are fighting back by taking over NPR's turf. American Family Radio, based in Tupelo, MS, now operates more than 200 stations nationwide and has applications pending with the Federal Communications Commission for hundreds more noncommercial radio outlets."36
Stay tuned, the best may be yet to come.
Excerpted from "What If America Were a Christian Nation Again?" by D. James Kennedy with Jerry Newcombe, © 2003, pages 162-167. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tenn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Dr. D. James Kennedy is the senior minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He holds nine degrees, including his Ph.D. in world religion from New York University. Kennedy is the most listened to Presbyterian minister in the world. He reaches about three million people each week through his internationally televised "Coral Ridge Hour," and his daily radio program, "Truths That Transform."
Jerry Newcombe serves as the senior producer for Coral Ridge Ministries where he has produced or co-produced several award-winning documentaries. He is the coauthor of eleven books, including "What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?", which he coauthored with Dr. Kennedy.