What’s the True Motivation of the Christian Right?

For the most part, I could care less about Hollywood. I know more far more politicians than movie stars. I never watch the Golden Globes or other award programs because, to me, they are quite boring. This said, I do have contact with Hollywood insiders from time to time, mostly due to travel and my interests in music and politics. Over the years I’ve formed an opinion about the true motivation of the Hollywood elite: Making big piles of money.

Right-wingers seem to think they have a different motivator. From The Australian:

CHRISTIAN groups have launched a furious campaign against Hollywood, claiming the Golden Globe Awards promote films with gay or “leftist” themes to serve a political agenda.

The criticism was made after Brokeback Mountain, a film about the forbidden love between gay Wyoming cowboys that stars Australian Heath Ledger, won four awards on Tuesday.

Other winners included Philip Seymour Hoffman, named Best Actor for his portrayal of the homosexual writer Truman Capote; and Felicity Huffman, the Desperate Housewives star who played a transsexual with a gay prostitute son in Transamerica.

“Once again, the media elites are proving that their pet projects are more important than profit,” Janice Crouse, of Concerned Women for America, said.

While the movie industry may be a bit left-leaning, I’ve met my share of conservatives, libertarians, greens and people who simply don’t care about politics in Hollywood. Again, my perception of the common factor in the industry (like most others) is that they wish to earn a lot of money. The exception seems to be the occasional fundraiser for the cause du jour, and I’m not so convinced the cause is the prime motivator for most participants, anyway.

Whatever the motivation of Hollywood may be, the motivation of the Christian right is clear. They wish to disregard states’ rights with a federal ban on abortion, outlaw homosexuality, force public school children to recite Christian prayers in school (before you start arguing with me on this point, I still recall my Jewish classmates in Alabama being forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer), censor broadcast media and install their radical interpretation of the Bible, as opposed to the Constitution, as the ultimate law of the land.

Today’s article illustrates my point:

Stephen Bennett of Straight Talk Radio said: “When Hollywood is pumping out anti-family movies with sexually explicit, twisted and perverse themes that glorify homosexuality, transsexuality and every other kind of sexual immorality – then awarding itself for doing so – Middle America better take note.

“Hollywood (has) exposed its own corrupt agenda. (It) is no doubt out on a mission to homosexualise America.”

As a straight male (evidenced by bruises on my shin caused by my wife’s shoe) I’m not too concerned about being “homosexualized.” That the right has to dwell on this topic so much makes me wonder if they are afraid of their own latent tendencies.

Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

  1. I work for a major studio in “Hollywood.” People come here from all over the world with strong motivations. Their motivation varies: strong ambition, strong talent, a huge need to communicate, or to be loved, or to be famous. Often, they didn’t feel welcome where they came from. Many love the movies or television. Or they love the work. Many will work for free.

    The really amazing thing is that anything gets done. Imagine everyone from your high school class, your parents’ high school class and your child’s or grandparents’ class (depending on your age) working on a project together. All the conflicting talents, needs and desires result in product that is still the best in the world. FEMA couldn’t even make a movie, let alone market and distribute it or win any awards. It’s the free market at its very best.

    It boils down to somebody telling a story, and if it all comes together, others paying to go see it. Money is just the medium of exchange.

  2. Sandra, you’re dead-on about how movie-making epitomizes the free market. I’m not really into the movie industry, and wouldn’t know most famous actors and directors if they stood up in my soup. And yet the collaborative nature of film so impresses me, that I constantly draw analogies to it in the courses I teach on engineered systems design and project management. Glad to see someone else make a similar observation.

  3. Of course, what I should have said to complete the loop: the motives are as various as the people. Christians with a message are motivated to exercise free speech just like everybody else.

    In practice, showbiz has to be libertarian, because the accountants and the stockholders have goals in conflict with runaway-visionaries-without-discipline and they have to get along. Competition is so fierce, you have to have HUGE talent to get away with not playing fair (even more so in TV).

    My favorite screenwriting teacher says that most screenplays are stories of a character going from slavery to freedom (sometimes the reverse). Often, the slavery is self-imposed.

    If you look closely, no matter what the writers’ intended message, if the story is any good, it’ll advocate freedom.

    Forcing one’s views on an unwilling population doesn’t work in life or in movies. It works much better to set an example. The Bible’s full of them.

  4. Sounds like the Christian Right is worried its top members might become “homosexualized.”

    Me, I’m not worried – it’s pretty easy to test one’s sexual orientation, and I’m quite straight; I don’t see how these crazy bastards think that movies could turn somebody into a homosexual.

  5. What’s the motivation? I’ll let Mr. Mohler speak for himself:

    The Cultural Momentum of the Homosexual Movement
    January 6, 2006
    by Albert Mohler
    President, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

    The most urgent need is for the church to take up this challenge – and to present a clear and cogent defense of human sexuality as defined by the Creator.

    Our main concern must be the positive presentation of God’s perfect purpose in creating us male and female and as sexual beings. Nevertheless, we must also confront the confusions and distortions of our age, knowing that the rejection of God’s pattern and order for our sexuality leads inevitably to human misery and to God’s judgment.

    In a very real sense, we now find ourselves in a position much like that of the Christians in the first century. We are called to confront our culture with the revolutionary message of Christian truth applied to every dimension of life.

  6. They are most definitely afraid of their own latent tendencies. It’s pretty basic psychology. People who obsess over a trait in others usually cannot accept that trait within themselves. When you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you. I would say the same thing in regards to the right’s obsession with the socialism of the left. Who’s looking awfully socialistic these days?

  7. You can break all of the Christian right (the honest ones anyway) actions down just as easily as you can with hollywood. They are trying to save souls. Regardless of whether or not we want our hypothetical souls saved.

  8. Simply because one criticizes a ‘homosexual agenda’ doesn’t mean that one has latent homosexual tendencies. We see it all the time in conservatives and liberals criticizing each other’s agendas, but this doesn’t mean that the conservatives have latent liberal tendencies. God only knows we wish the liberals would have some conservative tendencies every now and then.

    I think you are likewise misunderstanding the ‘Christian Right’s’ emphasis on making abortion illegal. The fact is that it IS NOT a state issue right now. The government has taken over that issue. I think that you would find it more accurate that more Christian Right (that are informed) would rather it become a state issue.

  9. It is like these christians are caught up in a Shakespearean tragedy. In order to ascend it is not enough for the christians to live a moral and worshipping life, they must also save the godless and immoral. But the unworthy people do not want to be saved. The unworthy wants their free will. How can the christians ascend if their god gave all people free will?

    It is no wonder as each century that goes by, the christians believe the world is going to hell.

    Free will will always cause problems for a religion that wants to control people’s behaviors.

  10. The movie is incorrectly named. It should have been named “Bare Back Hump”.

  11. Julian, If I did not know better, I would think you spent your years as a title writer for “Barely Legal” film production. “Bare Back Hump” I can barely keep from falling out of my chair.

  12. I think that the conservative leaders have merely found something that allows them to raise large amounts of money. After all homosexuals are the ultimate hidden “enemy” within. Anyone could be gay/bi/les/trans whatever without you knowing it. That nice bagger at the grocer store, the receptionist at the lawyer’s office, the leader of the Republican party who knows. The gays are everywhere even more so than the communists in McCarthy’s head.
    In a funny and only slightly related incident my college’s gay-straight alliance set up a recruitment table at the organizational fair. My college’s GSA’s officers at that time were all straight so they didn’t think about the context that a “recruitment table” could be made to have. They do finally have more than one gay member now though so I guess recruiting worked. Who would have thought straights recruiting gays into an openly gay lifestyle and in the bible belt no less.
    Also “Bare Back Hump.” :)

  13. “Free will will always cause problems for a religion that wants to control people’s behaviors.”

    Or is that the appearance of free will. In any case, the more Christians that believe in free will the better as free will is a form of freedom. Anyone who believes in freedom can potentially be convinced of that the Libertarian agenda is right.

  14. And of course, most of the LP CONTINUES TO IGNORE that reason and logic are not the grand motivators of political success. Observe the frenzy over moralistic shades of grey in this country – there’s no logic or reason behind it. It’s all based on people’s morals.

    The LP needs to start showing off how immoral it is to be running a 50 trillion dollar national debt, after all long term obligations are factored in place. How immoral it is that the public schools have no parental input becuase the elite have both parents chained to a desk 50 miles form where their kids go to school.

    I get so sick of libertarian Spocks. Any attempt to reconcile genuine emotion with political activism is reduced to a “ad homeieum”(sic) attack on whatever it is you are rapping about… as if showing emotion invalidates what you say. I cant wait until I can get on video and let my lib freak flag fly.

  15. sofyst, “Simply because one criticizes a ‘homosexual agenda’ doesn’t mean that one has latent homosexual tendencies.” While this statement is true, it is quite misleading. Research in the field shows that virtually all human subjects have latent homosexual tendencies. If you need references, I will be happy to provide them, but I’m sure you could easily find them yourself with a simple internet search. Therefore, in all probability one who criticizes a ‘homosexual agenda’ most likely does have latent homosexual tendencies. This is yet another recent example of the widely practiced spin tactics of using logically true statements to lead to completely misleading conclusions.

  16. Likewise, just because a conservative criticizes a liberal’s agenda doesn’t mean that the conservative has latent liberal tendencies or vice versa. If you were to assume that “conservative” and “liberal” were mutually exclusive positions, this would be logically true as well. However, in all actuality most people don’t fall on one side or another of some imaginary line dividing “conservatives” and “liberals.” Generally speaking, people have conservative beliefs about some issues and liberal beliefs about others. Given the current state of jackyderm politics (props to Artus), I personally don’t see too much of a reason to distinguish between these two “latent tendencies.” Again just more spin.

    Sorry for the long post. I’ll leave the abortion issue for later… ;)

  17. What is the Christian right’s agenda
    1. Get as many people born-again as possible
    2. Keep traditional marriage
    3. Hate evil, love good
    4. Give to and serve others
    5. Value life
    6. Keep American religious traditions intact
    7. Love God and love their neighbor
    8. Live right

  18. John – I have no problem with 1 if force is not involved. Number 6 is the biggie — when legislation is attempted.

  19. That list is a series of euphemisms. No one who has objectively observed what is being done in the name of religion can deny that fundamentalists want to legislate their beliefs on the rest of us. The leaders of the so-called Christian Right would immediately embrace an effort to declare Trinitarian Christianity the official US religion and legislate their brand of morality.
    Anyone denying their desire to legally force their morals on the country as a whole is being dishonest or simply not paying attention.
    The vast majority of non-Christians don’t care what anyone else believes and only wish to be treated in kind.

  20. John,

    1. Keep govt out of it.
    2. Keep govt out of it.
    3. Quite subjective. How do you know that you aren’t evil?
    4. Keep govt out of it.
    5. You might telling your elected officials that one… they don’t seem to get it.
    6. Keep govt out of it.
    7. Who’s god? My neighbor actually sucks. I don’t love him one bit. You are free to come love him.
    8. By who’s standards?

  21. Here we go again the anti-religious Nazis who brand all of us Christian in the same batch. I have more tolerance than most Christians. I don’t want my children learning about homosexuality in public school or would I want the schools to teach them a religious view that contradicts what they learn at home. I see it this way. People have the free will to so whatever they want as long as it doesn’t infringe on my rights . If someone wants to be gay, cheat on their spouses or any other hideous act, by all means let them. In the end, God will judge them and punish them for their indiscretions. My job on this earth is to be the best Christian I can possibly be and if I wasn’t good enough I must pay the price. This is the one of many reasons Christians won’t join the LP because of the hate for us.

  22. Surely you can counter-point better than to resort to playing the tired and senseless Nazi card.
    I don’t hate any religious group, but I certainly take a defensive position when anyone attempts to legislate their spirituality onto others.
    It is clear from your “by all means let them” allowance above that the “Religious Right” doesn’t include you, Mr. Bennett. But there are plenty in that group who want to outlaw the practices you mentioned. Opposition to those people and their motivations hardly makes one a Nazi.

  23. Chris,

    Yes, Christians are generally full of hate. You are correct.

    I am sure your children will elarn a lot of things that “contradicts what they learn at home”. Why foucus on these?

    You should really homeschool.

  24. hBut a Libertarin’s consent hate for Christians doesn’t make this matter much better. The use of the word Nazi is used on a broader form. I think there are much more important things to concentrate on than to bash Christians isn’t there? If Libertarians want to grow in size, isn’t there a different approach than to bash us? It’s bad enough the LP doesn’t even reach out to minorities.

  25. I think there are much more important things to concentrate on than to bash Christians isn’t there?

    Absolutely. I wasn’t aware of any Christian bashing going on–only a justified bashing of those who want to increase the scope of government in the name of Christianity.

    It’s bad enough the LP doesn’t even reach out to minorities.

    Libertarians rightly believe in equal treatment under the law, regardless of race. I’m not sure what you would have libertarians do in regard to minorities other than point out the mistreatment and bigotry of the jackyderms and that we consider them equal and capable. It is also often pointed out that the drug war maintains the black market status of prohibited substances which adversely effect minorities and destroy families and neighborhoods.
    The libertarian message also makes clear that absurd govt. regulations hurt minorities the most by denying them the option of self-employment.
    These are valid and important points. What did you have in