ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS:
What You Need to Know About Government Portrayal in Movies
By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher
*Editor’s Note: This article is part of our parenting series. For similar stories, click here.
Discernment question: How are government and business portrayed?
This question belongs as a subset of the question “how is the world portrayed,” but because so many movies attack Republican governments, that have checks and balances to minimize the government and to allow for more self-government, and promote socialism, communism and other leftist notions, it behooves us to pay close attention to the way a movie portrays government. Furthermore, to really analyze what worldview is being promoted by a motion picture, we should also ask in conjunction with this question, how is private enterprise portrayed in the movie?
The Lichter, Rothman and Lichter studies show the vast majority of those involved in the entertainment industry politically support socialism. Socialism calls for the state, ruled by elites, to save mankind from greedy businessmen and women by eliminating the private ownership of property. Ironically, this same group is determined to guard the intellectual property rights that enable them to become wealthy making movies and entertainment.
At the very root of socialism and communism is a negation of God’s Law, the Ten Commandments, particularly the First Commandment, since the state is being elevated to a position higher than God and the Eighth Commandment, because to outlaw theft one must assume God established private property. You cannot steal something unless someone else owns it. The Tenth, is also negated because to envy or covet something requires that it belong to someone else. A movie that lifts up the state as savior and attacks the individual and their God-given rights is, in fact, promoting a very Anti-Christian worldview.
The 2020 Oscar winning movie PARASITE from South Korea is a particularly insidious example of Neo-Marxist, anti-capitalist propaganda. The movie is a dark satire about South Korea where rich and poor alike have become corrupt under a corrupt system. Violence eventually explodes between two poor families vying for a piece of the pie, and the violence leads to a poor man taking everything out on the male head of a rich family. PARASITE is a pretty nihilistic, misanthropic movie that ends on a wish that maybe things can work out right, but the wish is clearly based on wishful thinking. Tellingly, there is no God and no salvation to offer any hope to the movie’s characters.
A second example is V FOR VENDETTA, an Anti-Christian, atheist political fantasy about a masked vigilante in a futuristic Britain trying to spark a revolution against a corrupt oppressive police state that oppresses and manipulates its citizens with fear-tactics, hellfire-and-brimstone religious rhetoric and a media-machine akin to the Nazi’s Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Under a religious leader’s control, the government persecutes homosexuals, executes those found with copies of the Koran, engages in state-sanctioned torture, and participates in bio-terrorism.
Another extreme, but older, example is REMO WILLIAMS: THE ADVENTURE BEGINS, a fascist fantasy wherein mystical, humanistic violence is used to defend the Big Brother State from unscrupulous free enterprise capitalists. The savior is an ancient Korean marshal arts master who can walk on water. Regrettably, this savior is dedicated to serving Big Brother and death. Many people become infected by the virus of the corrupt mystic statism in such movies, so we need to be aware of these deceptions and be prepared to rebuke them.
The opposite view, that the state is always the villain, as represented in the movies JFK and NIXON, is also wrong. In a similar vein, FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY suggests that the United States government was immoral for creating and employing the atomic bomb to end World War II. INDEPENDENCE DAY, for all its many good points, goes in the opposite direction and suggests that internationalism is the key to harmony and world peace.
Statism, in whatever form it takes – whether fascism, communism or national socialism – is a punishment for rejecting God and seeking salvation from men. This is the key to the impoverishment of every totalitarian state, including the former Soviet Union with all its natural wealth. Salvation can never be found in the state, but tyranny can.
FORREST GUMP, BRAVEHEART, LITTLE PINK HOUSE, THE GIVER, INCREDIBLES 2, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS are very successful examples of movies that adhere to a biblical view. FORREST GUMP shows the foolishness of the self-appointed revolutionaries; while BRAVEHEART demonstrates the principle of Lex Rex which holds that even the king has no right to violate God’s Law. LITTLE PINK HOUSE is a true story that shows the horror of the government’s seizure of a humble person’s home for the officials self-aggrandizement and personal gain. PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is based on a true story also which demonstrates that people will excel when they are free to do so. In the animated Pixar movie INCREDIBLES 2, a wealthy businessman who doesn’t like the big government rules restricting the liberty of superheroes helps Mr. Incredible and his family fight a villain who’s using mass media to hypnotizing people into creating chaos.
The beloved classic IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE features a greedy banker as its villain and a compassionate banker as its hero. Thus, greed and deception are presented as evil, not banking. The same was true with MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON. There were good people and bad people in government. The movie is anti-corruption, not anti-government.
Asking how government and private enterprise are portrayed will help us to cut through the hidden political agendas that are in too many films and other entertainment.
Discernment question: How is history treated in the media product?
Any familiarity with world history will convince us that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. When the media revises the past to suit their worldview, it is a very serious issue for the future of our civilization.
Much revisionism has been devoted to whitewashing the Holocaust, where Hitler’s National Socialist Party slaughtered five to six million Jews. Those who deal in this area of revisionism are anxious to remove the memory of the Holocaust from the annals of history by claiming that the gas chambers could not have killed so many people and that the death camps were actually work camps with good sanitary conditions.
While SCHINDLER’S LIST accurately portrays the horror of the Holocaust, THE ENGLISH PATIENT whitewashes the real history of its National Socialist hero, extols adultery and promotes euthanasia.
In recent years, there have been a spate of movies about British history, twisting it to promote politically correct, left-leaning political ideology, including feminism, and to undermine any sense of patriotic pride. Movies like THE FAVOURITE, THE KING and ROBIN HOOD (2018) are prime examples of such revisionist history. Also, contemporary filmmakers keep distorting the truth of what happened during the Hollywood Blacklist and the McCarthy Era during the late 1940s and the 1950s, with movies like TRUMBO, WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? and GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.
Perhaps, the worst example of revisionism is LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. The movie portrays the almighty God, Creator of the universe, who loves us and is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, and who is Jesus Christ, as: weak, confused, fearful, doesn’t know who he is, from time to time falls on the ground in a faint after hearing voices. Jesus says he wants God to hate him. He makes crosses because he wants God to hate him. He doesn’t know if the voices come from God or the devil. Jesus says: “I’m a liar, a hypocrite, I’m afraid of everything. . . . Do you want to know who my God is? They’re fear. . . Lucifer is inside me. He tells me I am not a man, but the Son of Man, more the Son of God, more than that, God.”
Of course, for Jesus who is very God of very God to say this is blasphemy of the first order, as well as abhorrent for its metaphysical implications.
At the Last Supper, after the apostles partake of the Bread and the Cup, blood and flesh are seen dripping from some of the apostles’ mouths.
When Jesus visits Mary Magdalene’s house, the room is filled with men sitting down, watching Mary have sex with a customer. Jesus sits down and watches, implying that God lusts after human women.
Later, Jesus and Mary Magdalene (Barbara Hershey) fornicate, and Mary breathes, “We can make a baby.”
Another egregious example is KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, an adventure epic intended, according to Director Ridley Scott himself, to undermine Christianity while promoting Islam. The movie about the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem in 1187 falsely blames Christian leaders for bringing the Muslim army down on the city. In reality, Jerusalem had been a Christian city for three centuries before 638, when the Muslims first conquered the Holy Land and began destroying Christian and Jewish holy sites. The movie attributes Muslim jihad to Christians and Christian virtues to Muslims.
Any thinking person understands the threat of revising history to remove the memory of holocaust, but few object to the wholesale revision of history that supports our republican democracy and Christian heritage. Historian Catherine Millard has chronicled the removing of Christian quotes and information from our national monuments by the U.S. Park Service and the removal of the Christian writings of our Founding Fathers from the Library of Congress in her book THE REWRITING OF AMERICA’S HISTORY (Horizon). Reading her book gives a frightening look at how the revisionists are trying to remove any trace of Christianity from our society.
*Editor’s Note: These articles are adapted from Dr. Ted Baehr’s THE CULTURE WISE FAMILY book. You can buy a copy from www.movieguide.org or on Amazon
 See Lichter, S. Robert, Rothman, Stanley & Lichter, Linda, The Media Elite (Maryland: Adler & Adler, 1986). Also, see Wildmon, Donald, The Home Invaders (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1985) pp. 18-23 for an excellent analysis of the Lichter Rothman studies.