The following is an article that appeared in The State newspaper during Dr. Ted Baehr’s visit to Columbia, SC.
Parents should gain “media wisdom,” Christian movie critic says
COLUMBIA, SC — Hollywood movie critic and author Theodore “Ted” Baehr came to Columbia this week with the hope of persuading Christian parents and children they have a moral obligation to take on the popular culture moguls who traffic in sex and violence in movies, video games and online entertainment.
Baehr has spent a lifetime teaching, writing and lecturing on the importance of spreading Christian values on the widescreen. He has challenged the movie industry through his biblically based movie reviews to recognize that there is money to be made in family-oriented movies.
“I’ve often said we need more Christians in Hollywood and less Hollywood in Christians,” Baehr, the son of a television actor, said.
Monday, he told middle and high school students at the private Christian Ben Lippen School they need to engage with the culture to select uplifting movies like the just-released “42,” which details how Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier, over movies like “The Hangover” and “Scary Movie 5,” which appeal to baser instincts.
He told a small group of parents afterward they need to gain “media wisdom,” as well to make sure their children are watching movies that are appropriate for their age. The marquees should uplift culture rather than tear it down, noting that “you go to a movie because Marlin finds Nemo.”
If parents take their kids to a PG-13 movie, and the previews feature R-rated movies, complain to the theater and the studio, he said.
Baehr, the founder and publisher of “MOVIEGUIDE: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment,” said he is optimistic that Hollywood’s major studios are listening to people like him, perhaps because he backs his work with box office statistics that show Americans want more wholesome fare and less sex and violence.
Baehr also heads the Christian Film & Television Commission (CFTVC) and provides financial awards to filmmakers through MOVIEGUIDE’s annual award shows.
Katy McCrudden, a mother of four children at Ben Lippen, said she has taught her children to be discriminating in their viewing and was gratified recently when one child declined to watch a movie at a friend’s house.
But she told Baehr, “I think Christian culture is way too quiet.”
Today, Baehr will speak to area pastors and ministry leaders at a pastors’ breakfast at First Baptist Church. Wednesday, he plans to speak at a seminar for home-schooling families hosted by the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools at Church of the Apostles on Bull Street.
Baehr’s visit to Columbia is sponsored by Frontline Ministries and Exodus Mandate, organizations founded by retired Army Col. E. Ray Moore to promote the movement of Christian children out of the public schools and into Christian or home school environments. Moore acknowledged Monday that effort has not been widely embraced and is met with some skepticism by his fellow evangelicals.
Mine is a minority position,” said Moore. “It’s a prickly issue.” But Baehr has endorsed the Exodus Mandate’s film on the subject called “IndoctriNation.”