This is the title of a post by Phil Cooke on his blog "The Change Revolution".  Phil is a Christian media consultant (that is, a consultant to Christian media) and has had some big name clientsHis bio is impressive.

But I think he’s not giving churches and other Christian organizations enough credit.  As to why the changes in movies are happening, why the reduction in sex and nudity, this is his answer:


That’s right. In 2007, the major Hollywood studios made $17.9 billion in DVD sales. The catch? $4 billion (nearly 25%) was made from selling to Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. But Wal-Mart actually has a policy that forces any movie with high sexuality and nudity away from the areas of highest visibility in their stores. They take those DVD’s and put them in an "adult" section that’s much harder for customers to see.

Why do they do it? They don’t want to offend moms. They know mothers are there to get family oriented DVD’s for their kids, and they represent a huge market for Wal-Mart.

OK, fair enough.  And here’s what he says isn’t working.

Although it might be hard to believe, sexuality and nudity is actually going down in movies today. And a number of Christian organizations are taking the credit. Some raise money based on telling the public they work in Hollywood "consulting" the studios, and others say they boycott or apply pressure from the outside. I don’t need to mention them, but they jump to the forefront when statistics indicate that sexuality in movies have dropped over the last number of years, and are the first in line to take credit. But the truth is, that’s bunk.

His conclusion:

Is it religious ministry organizations making the difference? Nope. Studios are discovering that it’s simply good business.

I’m not sure that the conclusion necessarily follows. He zeroes in on Moms making good choices, but if we zoom out just a tad, isn’t it very likely that many of those moms are actively participating in a boycott of some sort?  Isn’t it at least possible that knowledge of certain religious organizations’ views influence their choices? 

And what of Wal-Mart itself?  The Walton family has a background in the Presbyterian Church USA and have given millions to that church.  I find it highly likely that their decisions for the stores is influenced by their church and other religious ministries.

Are bees responsible for the production of fruit on trees?  Nope.  Each individual bee is just hungry.  OK, not the best analogy, but hopefully it serves to show that if you look too closely, you can miss a much larger picture.  I’m surprised that a guy like Cooke can miss something like this.  Perhaps the influence of religious organizations isn’t as big as those organizations themselves think.  But Cooke’s analysis by no means proves they have no influence.

Salt and light work.

Filed under: ChristianityCultureEconomicsMoviesReligion

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