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FIRST-PERSON:’But in the movies, Jesus is known as…’

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (BP)–Every book in the Bible has a description of our Lord. Just to name a few:

In Genesis — Jesus is the ram at Abraham’s altar

Exodus — he’s the Passover lamb

Leviticus — Jesus is the high priest

Numbers — he’s the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night

Judges — Jesus is our judge

Psalms — he’s my shepherd

Proverbs — he’s our wisdom

Amos — he’s our burden bearer

Obadiah — he’s our Savior

Zechariah — he’s our fountain

Matthew — “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God”

Mark — he’s the miracle worker

John — he’s the door by which every one of us must enter

Romans — he’s our justifier

1 Corinthians — he’s our resurrection

In Revelation — he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Jesus, the Son of God, our Redeemer, is seldom referred to in the movies. When His name does come up, it’s generally used as a mere expletive. Ironic, isn’t it? The name of the one man who gave his life so that all mankind could enjoy an eternal fellowship with the Creator is nothing more to the film industry than a superfluous exclamation. And I can’t think of one celebrity from this generation who has not profaned God’s name on screen. Not one.

In 1995 Richard Dreyfuss starred in the terrific “Mr. Holland’s Opus.” It was a feel-good movie about a struggling composer who takes a job as a high school teacher. Soon it becomes his 30-year occupation, giving students a compass to life. It was a pleasure to view a film about a principled man, loyal in profession and marriage. But all of a sudden, in a fit of anger, the Dreyfuss character takes God’s name in vain.

For years I defended that film [and still do] because of the valuable messages it presented. But that film’s one use of God’s name followed by a curse has always bothered me. When that expression is used on screen, it not only reveals a limited artistic ability on the part of the filmmaker to express frustration, but it also portrays the offending character as someone who does not honor or fear God. Mr. Holland’s only reference to the Almighty is in the form of a curse. It defines his religious views.

While society points an accusatory finger at the media for the exploitation of violence and sexuality, I find these infractions to only be symptoms of what ails our entertainment mediums. The Bible gives us countless instructions about reverencing God. He is not just our Heavenly Daddy. He is the Most Holy Creator of everyone and everything. He is to be reverenced. “Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises” [Psalms 25:14 Living Bible]. Let’s face it, although there are people of faith in the entertainment community, the industry as a whole is not doing much to honor the Supreme Being or the King of Kings.

Let’s not become as desensitized to profane expressions as have many members of the media. If you’ve just seen a picture where God’s name or that of our Savior was used as an obscene expletive, do something positive about it. Write to that filmmaker or studio in Christ’s love, letting them know how offensive and unnecessary those profanities are. [Each letter represents the feelings of over 1,000 viewers.]

“Phil, I’ve tried that. It didn’t do any good.”

Don’t be so certain. Someone is reading that letter. It might touch that person. Taking a stand for the cause of Christ is never done fruitlessly.

Remember, profanity is not only offensive, it’s against the law — the third law ever given: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7 (NIV)


— Columbia: 10202 W. Washington, Culver City, Calif. 90232-3195

— Walt Disney Co/Touchstone Pictures: 500 S. Buena Vista St, Burbank, Calif. 91521

— MGM: 2500 Broadway St., Santa Monica, Calif. 90404-3061

— Paramount Pictures: 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90038

— Twentieth Century-Fox: 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90035

— Universal: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, Calif. 91608

— Warner Brothers: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, Calif. 91522

    About the Author

  • Phil Boatwright