Hollywood Righteousness

Hollywood Righteousness

By Peter Lundell, Contributing Writer

Hollywood is a sanctuary of righteousness. It really is.

Depending on your definition of righteousness.

After taking a great filmmaking class with Dr. Ted Baehr called HOW TO SUCCEED IN HOLLYWOOD (WITHOUT LOSING YOUR SOUL), I took a famous film class at a major secular university in Los Angeles. Besides skills in screenwriting, I also learned a bit about the culture surrounding the film industry. One thing is that you must never be cliche-ish. About anything. Except the “F” word. Then you can be cliche-ish all you like.

As a class exercise, each day we read aloud and critiqued scenes from one another’s screenplays. I saw a generous and steady supply of “F–” this and “F–” that. Grammatical variations on the word came in the forms of verbs, participles, infinitives, gerunds, concrete nouns, and even abstract nouns. I was impressed at how many ways a clichéd word could be used.

Along with that, we couldn’t leave out “D–” words, “S–” words, and combinations of vulgarity and abusing God’s name. But, no problem! We don’t mind. No one minds—at least, we don’t care who minds. That’s how we hopefully keep the linguistic shock value flowing. Or, so the thinking seems to go.

Most of my classmates seemed oblivious to the continual offense toward anyone with spiritual or moral values who might take issue with such “freedom of expression.”

Then the fun part came. One student had a scene in which the protagonist female African-American character auditioned for a lead role in a play. Competition was high, so in this particular scene the character asked a white male supporting character to do something that would shock the play’s director into a sense of injustice and sympathy, which the protagonist hoped would get her the coveted lead role. We wondered what the ploy would be.

The shock of discovery rolled across the classroom like an ocean wave. A lingering anxiety remained like a wave in a rising tide that doesn’t entirely go back out.

The supporting character would call the protagonist a—

I can’t say it…a racial epitaph.

Don’t get me wrong. A number of my close friends are African-American. My early childhood was spent in East Africa, where my best friends carried traditional weapons such as shields and spears. I am not kidding, and I have photos to prove it. If you do my African friends wrong, you do me wrong.

However, here were aspiring screenwriters who couldn’t have cared less if they insulted God or Christians or Jews (though other beliefs seemed to get a pass). They didn’t mind demeaning women or traditional values. And all manner of vulgarity, whether in speech, action, or imagery, was just fine.

But not the racial derogatory term that is frequently used by rappers!

The professor said to the guy reading the part, “Just try, and we’ll understand. See how it goes.”

Tension rose as we came near the unsacred line. The guy paused, started to say the word, and stopped. All breaths were held. He let out his breath and confessed, “I just can’t say the word.”

“That’s okay,” the professor said. “Just as well. Keep going.” And, calm returned to the classroom.

I sat amazed.

I will never willingly speak or act disparagingly toward people of any race, ethnicity, religion, or sex. So I too would not have wanted to say the epitaph. Yet, I would have been absolutely unwilling to abuse God’s name.

Then it became clear to me. Christians and other people of religious faith or high moral sensibilities are not the only ones with a sense of righteousness.

The difference is that our righteousness (however well or badly we practice it) is vertical. It is defined and formed largely by biblical teaching, a higher authority that comes down to us. Thus, we not only avoid speech that disparages other people, we also avoid speech, attitudes, and practices that are offensive to God and the moral lifestyle the Bible establishes.

What I call “Hollywood righteousness” is horizontal. It is non-religious and has nothing to do with a religious faith or morality. It has to do with the society it serves and the social aspects it chooses to care about.

Hollywood righteousness is defined primarily by Political Correctness. So it might equally be called “politically correct righteousness.”

In the collective conscience of Political Correctness, vulgarity and taking God’s name in vain are allowed. After all, we want to be free from godly religion. And, we want freedom to be as debased as our hormones lead us. But, Political Correctness dictates that the certain offensive words, like the one in the example above must never be said. Never mind that all this ignores the real issues of transformation of the human heart. By its very nature, Political Correctness cannot go beneath superficialities. It is inherently a veneer that demands things look and sound “correct.”

So here I am, a person who humbly, sometimes stumbling, pursues vertical righteousness. In this entertainment world of horizontal, politically correct righteousness, what do I do?

I smile. I love. I befriend. I stand my ground. And, I write very the best I can. I am a light in a sometimes-dark place.

Light always prevails.

And, God is not going away.

Editor’s note: Peter Lundell is a writer, pastor, and teacher who helps people live well in the face of eternity—visit him at www.PeterLundell.com


What To Catch On Netflix Before It’s Gone!


What To Catch On Netflix Before It’s Gone This August!




In the movie THE SANDLOT, young Scott Smalls moves to a new California neighborhood and attempts to make friends with the eight boys who play sandlot baseball. Each of the boys, including their leader, Benny, takes baseball very seriously, so when Scott finally gets his opportunity to play with them, he finds himself humiliated because he can neither catch nor throw the ball…



Mr. Peabody is a genius dog who’s adopted a little boy named Sherman. Sherman was just left in an alleyway in a box, and Peabody found him there. After adopting Sherman, Peabody made a machine that could take them back in to time, called the Wabac Machine. Mr. Peabody takes Sherman on historical adventures to learn about history…



ZATHURA is a delightful space adventure geared to families. Two bickering boys, Danny, age 6, and Walter, age 10, uncover an old tattered metal board game. The game pummels their dad’s house with a meteor shower and catapults the house into outer space….



THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is the inspiring true-life story of Chris Gardner’s pursuit of not one, but two dreams: financial success and everything that that could bring to the life of both he and his son, and the other is to end the cycle in his family of the absentee father. The pursuit of both of these dreams is what makes this an important movie about one man’s American and family dream come true…


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What Arab Civilization? Muslim Claims of Accomplishment Are False

By: Peter BetBasoo / ChristiansOfIraq.com

EDITOR’S NOTE: There is great need for setting the record straight on the history of the Middle East. The revisionism of the last few years will lead Western Civilization into bondage. The following letter by Assyrian scholar Peter BetBasoo is a very important step in the right direction. It was sent by Assyrian scholar Peter BetBasoo to Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett Packard Corporation, in response to a speech she presented in Minneapolis on September 26, 2001. It is reprinted by permission. Please read and pass it on to others. It has been condensed.

This article is presented because of the constant disinformation presented on the mainstream news and in movies such as WATER DIVINER. It will alert you to the dangers of unwittingly being drawn into the Arabist/Islamist ideology, which seeks to assimilate all cultures and religions into the Arab/Islamic fold through intimidation.

The term “civilized” is defined, “bring (a place or people) to a stage of social, cultural, and moral development considered to be more advanced.” The greatest advances in civilization are not in science and art, they’re in how people in a society treat other people. Higher civilizations send teachers, doctors and missionaries to help other civilizations advance. Lower civilizations send pirates and terrorists.

Arabs and Muslims appeared on the world scene in 630 A.D., when the armies of Muhammad began their conquest of the Middle East. We should be very clear that this was a military conquest, not a missionary enterprise, and through the use of force, authorized by a declaration of a Jihad against infidels, Arabs/Muslims were able to forcibly convert and assimilate non-Arabs and non-Muslims into their fold. Very few indigenous communities of the Middle East survived this – primarily Assyrians, Jews, Armenians and Coptics (of Egypt).

Having conquered the Middle East, Arabs placed these communities under a Dhimmi (see the book DHIMMI, by Bat Ye’Or) system of governance, where the communities were allowed to rule themselves as religious minorities (Christians, Jews and Zoroastrian). These communities had to pay a tax (called a Jizzya in Arabic) that was, in effect, a penalty for being non-Muslim, and that was typically 80% in times of tolerance and up to 150% in times of oppression. This tax forced many of these communities to convert to Islam, as it was designed to do.

Carly Fiorina stated, “its architects designed buildings that defied gravity.”

The fundamental architectural breakthrough of using a parabolic shape instead of a spherical shape for these structures was made by the Assyrians more than 1300 years earlier, as evidenced by their archaeological record.

Carly Fiorina stated,”its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption.”

The fundamental basis of modern mathematics had been laid down not hundreds but thousands of years before by Assyrians and Babylonians, who already knew of the concept of zero, of the Pythagorean Theorem, and of many, many other developments expropriated by Arabs/Muslims (see HISTORY OF BABYLONIAN MATHEMATICS by Otto E. Neugebauer).

Carly Fiorina stated, “its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease.”

The overwhelming majority of these doctors (99%) were Assyrians. In the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries Assyrians began a systematic translation of the Greek body of knowledge into Assyrian. At first, they concentrated on the religious works but then quickly moved to science, philosophy and medicine. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Galen, and many others were translated into Assyrian, and from Assyrian into Arabic. It is these Arabic translations which the Moors brought with them into Spain, and which the Spaniards translated into Latin and spread throughout Europe, thus igniting the European Renaissance.

By the sixth century A.D., Assyrians had begun exporting back to Byzantia their own works on science, philosophy and medicine. In the field of medicine, the Bakhteesho Assyrian family produced nine generations of physicians, and founded the great medical school at Gundeshapur (Iran). Also in the area of medicine, (the Assyrian) Hunayn ibn-Ishaq’s textbook on ophthalmology, written in 950 A.D., remained the authoritative source on the subject until 1800 A.D.

In the area of philosophy, the Assyrian philosopher Job of Edessa developed a physical theory of the universe, in the Assyrian language, that rivaled Aristotle’s theory, and that sought to replace matter with forces (a theory that anticipated some ideas in quantum mechanics, such as the spontaneous creation and destruction of matter that occurs in the quantum vacuum).

One of the greatest Assyrian achievements of the fourth century was the founding of the first university in the world, the School of Nisibis, which had three departments, theology, philosophy and medicine, and which became a magnet and center of intellectual development in the Middle East. The statutes of the School of Nisibis, which have been preserved, later became the model upon which the first Italian university was based (see THE STATUTES OF THE SCHOOL OF NISIBIS by Arthur Voobus).

When Arabs and Islam swept through the Middle East in 630 A.D., they encountered 600 years of Assyrian Christian civilization, with a rich heritage, a highly developed culture, and advanced learning institutions. It is this civilization that became the foundation of the Arab civilization.

Carly Fiorina stated, “Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.”

This is a bit melodramatic. In fact, the astronomers you refer to were not Arabs but Chaldeans and Babylonians (of present day south-Iraq), who for millennia were known as astronomers and astrologers, and who were forcibly Arabized and Islamized – so rapidly that by 750 A.D. they had disappeared completely.

Carly Fiorina stated, “its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things.”

There is very little literature in the Arabic language that comes from this period you are referring to (the Koran is the only significant piece of literature), whereas the literary output of the Assyrians and Jews was vast. The third largest corpus of Christian writing, after Latin and Greek, is by the Assyrians in the Assyrian language (also called Syriac).

Carly Fiorina stated, “when other nations were afraid of ideas, this civilization thrived on them, and kept them alive. When censors threatened to wipe out knowledge from past civilizations, this civilization kept the knowledge alive, and passed it on to others.”

This is a very important issue you raise, and it goes to the heart of the matter of what Arab/Islamic civilization represents. I reviewed a book titled HOW GREEK SCIENCE PASSED TO THE ARABS, in which author De Lacy O’Leary lists the significant translators and interpreters of Greek science. Of the 22 scholars listed, 20 were Assyrians, one was Persian and one an Arab. I state at the end of my review: “The salient conclusion which can be drawn from O’Leary’s book is that Assyrians played a significant role in the shaping of the Islamic world via the Greek corpus of knowledge. If this is so, one must then ask the question, what happened to the Christian communities which made them lose this great intellectual enterprise they had established? One can ask this same question of the Arabs. Sadly, O’Leary’s book does not answer this question, and we must look elsewhere for the answer.”

I did not answer this question I posed in the review because it was not the place to answer it, but the answer is very clear, the Christian Assyrian community was drained of its population through forced conversion to Islam (by the Jizzya), and once the community had dwindled below a critical threshold, it ceased producing the scholars that were the intellectual driving force of the Islamic civilization, and that is when the so called “Golden Age of Islam” came to an end (about 850 A.D.). Islam the religion itself was significantly molded by Assyrians and Jews (see NESTORIAN INFLUENCE ON ISLAM and HAGARISM: THE MAKING OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD).

Arab/Islamic civilization is not a progressive force, it is a regressive force; it does not give impetus, it retards. The great civilization you describe was not an Arab/Muslim accomplishment, it was an Assyrian accomplishment that Arabs expropriated and subsequently lost when they drained, through the forced conversion of Assyrians to Islam, the source of the intellectual vitality that propelled it. What other Arab/Muslim civilization has risen since? What other Arab/Muslim successes can we cite?

Carly Fiorina stated, “and perhaps we can learn a lesson from his [Suleiman] example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions.”

In fact, the Ottomans were extremely oppressive to non-Muslims. For example, young Christian boys were forcefully taken from their families, usually at the age of 8-10, and inducted into the Janissaries, (yeniceri in Turkish) where they were Islamized and made to fight for the Ottoman state. What literary, artistic or scientific achievements of the Ottomans can we point to? We can, on the other hand, point to the genocide of 750,000 Assyrians, 1.5 million Armenians and 400,000 Greeks in World War One by the Kemalist “Young Turk” government. This is the true face of Islam.


Arabs/Muslims are engaged in an explicit campaign of destruction and expropriation of cultures and communities, identities and ideas. Wherever Arab/Muslim civilization encounters a non-Arab/Muslim one, it attempts to destroy it (as the Buddhist statues in Afghanistan were destroyed, as Persepolis was destroyed by the Ayotollah Khomeini).

This is a pattern that has been recurring since the advent of Islam, 1400 years ago, and is amply substantiated by the historical record. If the “foreign” culture cannot be destroyed, then it is expropriated, and revisionist historians claim that it is and was Arab, as is the case of most of the Arab “accomplishments” you cited in your speech. For example, Arab history texts in the Middle East teach that Assyrians were Arabs, a fact that no reputable scholar would assert, and that no living Assyrian would accept. Assyrians first settled Nineveh, one of the major Assyrian cities, in 5000 B.C., which is 5630 years before Arabs came into that area. Even the word ‘Arab’ is an Assyrian word, meaning “Westerner” (the first written reference to Arabs was by the Assyrian King Sennacherib, 800 B.C., in which he tells of conquering the “ma’rabayeh” – Westerners. See THE MIGHT THAT WAS ASSYRIA by H. W. F. Saggs).

Even in America this Arabization policy continues. On October 27th a coalition of seven Assyrian and Maronite

organizations sent an official letter to the Arab American Institute asking it to stop identifying Assyrians and Maronites as Arabs, which it had been deliberately doing.

There are minorities and nations struggling for survival in the Arab/Muslim ocean of the Middle East and Africa (Assyrians, Armenians, Coptics, Jews, southern Sudanese, Ethiopians, Nigerians…), and we must be very sensitive not to unwittingly and inadvertently support Islamic fascism and Arab Imperialism, with their attempts to wipe out all other cultures, religions and civilizations. It is incumbent upon each one of us to do our homework and research when making statements and speeches about these sensitive matters.

Thank you for your consideration.

Peter BetBasoo is an Assyrian from Iraq and the co-founder and director of the Assyrian International News Agency (www.aina.org).


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