Media giants Disney, Warner Brothers and Fox are locked up in a hot legal battle in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals with the tiny company Vidangel. Vidangel gave conscientious viewers the opportunity to stream major movies to their devices while modifying or blocking unwanted profanity, sexual speech, blasphemy, discriminatory language, sex scenes, immodesty, nudity, violence, blood and gore. For families deeply concerned about what Hollywood pipes into their living rooms, Vidangel was a win-win. They could enjoy movies without all the filth and violence.
Purity is big business for companies like Clearplay, CleanFlicks and Vidangel. Even Sony is reportedly going after business in announcing a “Clean Version” initiative. Vidangel vows to take their cause all the way to the Supreme Court hiring high profile 7-time Supreme Court advocate and appellate lawyer, Peter Stris. Vidangel has gained a great following on social media among fans and recently even changed their business model to meet the demands of caring customers.
With the high profile case wrapped up in trial, Vidangel recently released a video that discussed their conscientious issues with Hollywood. The video targeted three main points.
1. Nudity and Art in Movies. Vidangel asks – if nudity is about art in movies, why are women nude three times as much as men? Naked female bodies litter movie posters while rarely showing a woman’s face. Nudity destroys our view of women and sends that message out to thousands of young people. Women are portrayed as sex objects to be used instead of individuals worthy of respect.
2. Murder and Violence. Vidangel cites that by the age of 18 young viewers will observe 16,000 murders on movies or TV. Violence through media can be linked to criminal activity, spousal abuse, and aggression. Vidangel asks, how many times does the good guy in a film force himself onto a woman? Letting Hollywood have its way with normal sexuality can have devastating consequences. Rape is no laughing matter. And child sex abuse is ravaging.
3. Language Issues. Vidangel cites that adult language in films increased between 1950 and 2010 some 800%. Vidangel asks why not protect the innocence of children longer? Bigoted and profane language should not be the norm. Vidangel allows viewers to remove trigger moments in traumatic scenes for young viewers, scary scenes for the youth, and the Lord’s name in vain for the religious.
In thinking of this case, Christians should make sure they are spiritually sensitive to powerful forces that allure the soul. Satan wants us to let our guard down. It’s one of his favorite tactics. He wants free reign in your living room. He wants fiction to get a free pass. He wants you to care less on whether content is wholesome, constructive and helpful. Instead, he wants you to justify evil with claims like “the scene isn’t real”, “it’s imaginary” or “it’s not like it’s a documentary.” The Vidangel case gives pause for reflecting on our spiritual sensitivities.
Ask - to what extent do we blush at nudity or near nudity? What makes us blush is an indicator of our inward spiritual sensitivities and the degree to which we are walking by the Spirit or walking by the flesh. If we walk by the Spirit we “will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). Human bodies are not objects for everyone’s consumption. They are bodies created in the image of God with dignity and sanctity. Bodies are to be the dwelling place of the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Lustful eyes can feast on the naked or nearly naked. Job 31:1 says “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?” Jesus, knowing that fleshly beauty could quickly pivot to lust, warned us to be guarded on what we see and think (Matt. 5:28).
Ask - how do we flinch at murder or violence? Through media murders and violence can become so frequent that we stop reacting, wincing or even pausing when people die sometimes violent deaths. Writers know that shock value has impact. People in movies and television are hunted down like animals, captured and tortured in sadistic ways before dying. Writers playout horrific scenes where victims lay powerless against murderous tyrants who take their time in killing the poor, needy and weak (cf. Job 24:14). Does murder and violence make us bristle?
Ask - what language do we find appropriate in media? Do we laugh at insult or get drawn in and captivated by sensual and salacious language? Language can glorify evil, immortalize wickedness, adore rivalry, and make murderers heroes (Gal. 5:19-21, Col. 3:5-8, Eph. 5:3-4).
Let us keep our sensitives alert and aware. Be resolute and willing to change the channel. Let us stand on guard, observe and deflect the enemy. God’s given us what is pure. Let’s not give it away.