The story of Harvey Weinstein’s abuse of women has been dominating the news cycle. Weinstein, co-founder of the famed Miramax studio and, until this week, co-chairman of the Weinstein Company, has been accused of sexual harassment by woman after woman. The accusations aren’t new revelations; Hollywood has known for years that Weinstein treats women as if they exist solely for his enjoyment. Of course, Hollywood hasn’t cared, because it has a history of treating women as if they exist solely for the enjoyment of men.
I can’t help but wonder how many Christians will nod in agreement with the previous statement while surfing through Netflix to find a movie to watch. On one level, that’s fine. As hard as this may be to believe, especially considering this current article and the many, many other anti-pop culture articles that I’ve written, I’m not opposed to movies or pop culture, in general. I am opposed to Christians denying the reality that pop culture is actively engaged in a war against their Savior. The denial of that reality allows Christians to excuse their interaction with pop culture in a manner that is unthinking, hypocritical, and dishonoring to Jesus.
To the great delight of my friends, I was recently called a “Victorian scold” in the comment section on one of my recent PJ Media articles. I happily accept the charge and ask, “more, please?” You see, as the Holy Spirit has grown me in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ, I have become increasingly concerned with the fascination that many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have with pop culture. Stealing the words of a great man of God who lived 500 years ago, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.” I will continue to use the platforms God has given me to call Christians to repentance over their blind acceptance of pop culture. Leftist men like Harvey Weinstein are constantly making my case for me. Hollywood hates God.
Others have written about the obvious hypocrisy coursing through this whole Weinstein mess. And they’re correct. Add in the LA Times story this past week about how a fourth woman has come forward accusing revered director Roman Polanski of rape, the hero worship of pornographer and serial objectifier of women Hugh Hefner, and the continued fascination with violent rape scenes in movies, and it’s not difficult to be disgusted by the hypocrisy of an industry that pretends to promote feminism—while being feted by the D.C. power players on the left. In fact, that’s the article I originally wanted to write.
As I thought about it, though, I realized that the bigger story for me is how this illustrates the degrading, immoral, anti-human industry Hollywood is, and the sad reality that many Christians refuse to acknowledge Hollywood as deeply antithetical to their faith.
Hollywood is an industry that has, throughout its entire history and without any evidence of slowing down anytime soon, brazenly splashed their rebellion against the Creator of the universe across the movie and TV screens of this nation. And it’s an industry that makes much of its money from professing Christians who love to be entertained.
Tragically, it often appears as if few Christians actually weigh the content and worldview of the pop culture they love against the tenets and commands of their faith. Apparently, in the minds of many Christians, God understands when His command to pursue holiness takes a backseat to an entertaining TV show or movie. After all, Paul’s command in Romans 12:2 is better translated “be not conformed to this world — unless you found a show you want to binge-watch.” Right?
The thing is, Christians generally hold ourselves to a higher standard of holiness when interacting with broader culture. Conservative Christians make much of God’s parameters for sex. We denounce same-sex marriage and transgenderism. We condemn pornography and are involved in organizations that provide aid to sex-workers and those who are victims of the sex-trafficking industry, and the two groups often overlap. We cluck at and apply church discipline to those who are caught in adultery. All rightly so.
However, how many of us who condemn sex-trafficking and the exploitation of women by the porn industry consume movies and TV shows that exploit the naked bodies of actresses? Make no mistake, Harvey Weinstein and his producer buddies know that nudity is a selling point. Repeating myself ad nauseam (I’ve written this point over and over, and many Christians seemingly don’t get it), Sport’s Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue isn’t the magazine’s largest selling issue because men like “reading” it for the articles. Likewise, men (and women) like movies and TV shows with nudity and sex scenes because it feeds their lust.
We condemn Weinstein for his sexual harassment — for things like asking actresses to audition in a bikini. We recognize the exploitation in that. Yet, in the very next instance, we turn on a TV show in which an actress is required to put her body on display for the enjoyment of an unseen audience. And that actress is literally nude — she’s not acting.
Christians recognize that adultery is a sin before God, yet we laugh along with comedies that treat sex outside of marriage as normal and something good that should be desired. We deny that the very shows we binge watch normalize sinful behavior. We defend watching and enjoying the presentation of sin as our “Christian liberty,” and label anyone who calls us to pursue holiness through our entertainment options a legalist.
Sadly, many Christians love their entertainment more than they love holiness. And, yes, sometimes those two things — entertainment and holiness — are mutually exclusive. Harvey Weinstein’s behavior isn’t an exception in Hollywood; it’s the norm. An industry that openly rebels against God’s standards of holiness is not an industry that Christians should defend or seek to find common ground with.