Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Nicer, More Huggable Christian-Conservative Movement

Read this interesting article from the NY Times on the growing sophistication of the Christian-Conservative movement

The article centers around the film "Brokeback Mountain" as a means to describe the new ways Christian Conservatives have debated the issues.

This critical ambivalence represents a change in the way conservative Christians engage popular culture, said Robert Johnston, a professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical institution, in Pasadena, Calif. Until recently, he said, Christian groups would have ignored a sexually explicit movie like "Brokeback Mountain" except to protest it.

"Ten years ago, conservatives would say 'Schindler's List' should not be shown because of its nudity," said Professor Johnston, adding that he had not yet seen "Brokeback Mountain." "But just as in the wider culture, evangelicals as a group are becoming more sophisticated in their interaction with popular culture. There's been a recognition within the evangelical community that movies have become a primary means, perhaps the primary means, of telling our culture's stories. For this reason, evangelicals have become much more open to good stories, artfully told, but they also want stories whose values they can affirm or understand."

Be ecstatic over this trend and hope it continues. Hopefully it is illustrating a trend to a more open-minded society. Today, hard-core Christians are giving a film bad reviews. Yesterday, they would be marching in front of the movie theatre, demanding it to be removed, if not beating people up who went to see it. Maybe tommorow, they'll actually go and see a quality film for the experience of getting to see something artistically done as opposed to some big budget hack operation. In all likelihood, a more tolerant and accepting society will arise and sooner than we all think. Isn't it exciting?

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