On May 4th, I had the great honor of delivering the commencement address to the graduating 2013 Class of Palm Beach Atlantic University. Click here for the video of my speech!
A NEW FILM about Jackie Robinson, titled 42—the number he wore during his historic career—tells the triumphant story of how the Civil Rights icon integrated professional baseball by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. But there’s a mysterious hole at the center of this otherwise worthy film.
The man who chose Robinson for his role, and masterminded the whole affair, was Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford. In their initial meeting, the cigar-chomping Rickey makes it clear that whoever will be the first African American in major league baseball will be viciously attacked, verbally and physically. So Rickey famously says he’s looking for a man “with guts enough not to fight back.” He needs someone who will resist the temptation to retaliate. Robinson agrees to go along with it.
But where did Rickey get that crazy idea and why did Robinson agree? The film doesn’t tell us, but the answers to these questions lie in the devout Christian faith of both men To cont. reading, click here…
I had the honor of speaking about Religious Freedom at CPAC today, followed by a GREAT Q&A with Dr. Ben Carson! To watch the video, click here! I recommend using the full screen option and turning up the sound. I enter the stage at 6:30 into the video and speak for about 14 mins. Then Dr. Carson speaks for about 25 mins. After that — at 45:00 — there is my Q&A with him. You have to watch that last part! For the full text of my speech, click here. For just the video of my 14 minutes, click here. Religious Freedom is hugely important and we’re not hearing anything about it.
If you want to know what you can do, please help spread the word by sharing this speech. Please sign and share the Manhattan Declaration. Please watch Os Guinness’s speech at SITC by clicking here. And finally, if you get into a discussion about Same-Sex Marriage, ask about how it will affect Religious Liberty. That is the real issue and no one is discussing it.
This is worth watching just for John Piper’s spectacular exegesis of Romans 13. We also talk about the difference between killing and murder — and a host of other things. This took place after my Bonhoeffer speech at Dr. Piper’s church in Minneapolis. Here’s the link!
Yesterday at 9 a.m. I testified on Capitol Hill at a Congressional Hearing titled “Anti-Semitism: A Growing Threat to All Faiths.” Click here for the video. It’s in Part One. My five-min. prepared remarks are at 51:00 and my extemporaneous remarks on Religious Freedom and the lack of resolve in the West to deal with these issues, etc., are at 1:33 and 1:49 respectively. What an honor to testify on this important subject!
This year’s Nat’l Prayer Breakfast was simply amazing. I got to meet Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas and chat with Dr. Ben Carson. And I got to hear Andrea Boccelli sing LIVE. It was transcendent. For some photos, click here. Of course last year’s event, where I spoke, was fun too! Actually, the amazing KLo of NRO recently interviewed me about that event and and my book about it, titled No Pressure, Mr. President: Real Faith in a Time of Crisis. I always have a TON OF FUN talking to KLo as you’ll see by CLICKING HERE!
Ladies and Gentleman! The BRAND NEW Uncle Mugsy website is up! Huzzah!!!
If you don’t agree that Tim Raglin’s illustrations are GORGEOUS, see an optometrist immediately!
But seriously, these three books represent my most concerted effort at “creating culture” — at making something “good and beautiful and true” — at “lighting a candle instead of merely cursing the darkness.” I hope you’ll agree that the books themselves are physically of “heirloom” quality — oversized and sumptuously produced, just as books like these should be. And oh yes, I wrote them. Please visit and please tell your friends about this! It’s taken us years to get this to where it is now and I’m very, very excited we’re launching this website today!!! SDG.
Below is my Breakpoint Commentary. This weekend, please take your family to a theater that is playing the two movies mentioned and light a candle for Newtown and against over-the-top film violence. I suggest holding candles along with signs that simply say Remember Newtown or Against Violence or Please don’t see “Texas Chainsaw Massacre “or “Django Unchained” and you may also wish to hand out copies of this commentary so people can understand why you are doing what you are doing. God bless you.
Light a Candle Against Violence
See You at the Theater
Just weeks after Newtown, the top box office movies in America are “Texas Chainsaw 3-D” and “Django Unchained,” two grotesquely violent films. That’s a problem.
In the days following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, there were those who spoke of a “turning point” in American politics and culture. Surely, they reasoned, the horror of what happened would alter the trajectory that, in their estimation, had led to the death of twenty little children and eight others.
Just weeks later, events have proven such sentiments to be wishful thinking. That’s when “Texas Chainsaw 3-D” knocked “The Hobbit” out of first place at the box office. In second place was Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”
What both films have in common is that they are unspeakably, disturbingly, sadistically violent. In fact, their sole aim is the depiction of the killing of people. Period.
“Django Unchained” is a revenge fantasy featuring extremely cruel characters who inflict torture and death on their enemies. Let’s face it; Tarantino’s films are infamous for their extreme violence.
The “Texas Chainsaw” movies, like all “slasher” films, are not-even thinly disguised exercises in vicarious sadism. Human bodies are treated like carcasses in a slaughter house. Filming the movie in 3-D only serves to cynically heighten the sense of participatory slaughter.
The idea that such movies are playing so soon after the Newtown tragedy is beyond the pale. And what does it say about us? The fact that they are playing to packed houses is itself a nightmare. Hollywood has set an ugly tone and has aided and abetted the worst in our national character.
I’m happy to report that Django star Jamie Foxx has said that Hollywood cannot “turn its back” and deny the impact of violent films; good for him. But Tarantino is unrepentant. When pressed on this matter by NPR’s Terri Gross, he called the suggestion “disrespectful” and expressed annoyance at the line of questioning. To her credit, Gross continued to press him on the subject. And the church should follow her example.
While we may not have the chance to confront Tarantino or others involved in making these films, we can still express our horror and concern. And folks, we must.
And here’s something else we can do. I am today calling on everyone, but especially on Christians and churches, to gather outside theaters where these two films are playing and to politely (and legally) protest these gratuitous displays of violence. Perhaps hold a candle-light vigil for the victims of the violence in Newtown. I grew up ten minutes from where those events happened, and if you think those parents aren’t upset by films like these, you’re wrong.
Also, be sure to invite your non-believing friends and neighbors to join you. Every American has a stake in the kind of culture we live in. And by the way, this would be a great opportunity to get teachers and school students involved in an important, real-world exercise in free speech and civic responsibility.
Folks, this is one sure way to get the attention of the studios, distributors, theater chains, and the news media who should be covering this.
The other way is, for heaven’s sake, don’t spend your money on such movies. Instead reward responsible film makers and go and see quality films like “Les Miserables.”
President Bill Clinton once said “there’s nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed by what’s right with America.” I don’t, to put it mildly, always agree with the former president, but he’s absolutely right about this. Protesting the glorification of violence is something that Christians and non-Christians can and must do together for the common good.
It’s time for us to make our voices heard.
END (To listen to this commentary, click here.)