By Dr. Tom Snyder
Back in 1944 there was a song called “Accentuate the Positive” that instructed people to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative, and latch onto the affirmative.” Although the song’s lyrics, written by the great Johnny Mercer, were inspired by a heretical preacher in the 20th Century named Father Divine, the lyrics echo, in a way, what God’s Word, through the mechanism of St. Paul, teaches us in Romans 12:21, “Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This is exactly Movieguide®’s approach to movies and television. Although we do advise people that they probably don’t want their family to see certain movies, especially movies that we rate Minus 3 or 4, our focus is on the more positive movies, the ones rated Minus 2 and above, and especially the ones rated Plus One to Plus Four and given three stars and four stars in artistic quality and entertainment value. We urge people to support these movies instead.
Recently, some conservatives started a boycott of the Liam Neeson action thriller NON-STOP because, in the ending, the villains turn out to be two former American soldiers, one of whom had a family member murdered on 9/11 by Muslim terrorists supported by the Muslim group Al Qaeda. Also in the movie, a doctor wearing a Muslim hat turned out to be a “good guy.”
Using St. Paul’s recommendation to “overcome evil with good,” Movieguide® doesn’t support boycotts. Instead, we recommend that moviegoers practice the strategy of “Othercott.”
The Othercott Strategy goes like this:
When a movie you want to oppose comes out, like NON-STOP or 300: THE RISE OF AN EMPIRE, the best way to deal with that problem is not by staging a boycott of that movie. Instead, start an Othercott Campaign to promote the good movies that are in your local theater at the same time.
Using the Othercott Strategy, Movieguide® urges moviegoers to oppose NON-STOP by going to see the good movies that are out now, starting with SON OF GOD, THE LEGO MOVIE, and the new animated feature from DreamWorks, MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN.
In this way, media-wise moviegoers can show Hollywood that, instead of making movies like NON-STOP, they should be making more movies like SON OF GOD, THE LEGO MOVIE, and MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN.
In this way, media-wise moviegoers can “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, and overcome evil with good.”
After all, Jesus Christ didn’t come to condemn us, but to save us.
Note: By the way, this is also the strategy behind Movieguide®’s Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry. And, since we began holding our Annual Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, the number of movies with strong or overt Christian content has increased from eight or less to more than 65 each year, an increase of more than 712 percent!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
– The Bible, Philippians 4:8 (NIV).