Statement from Ted Baehr on Hollywood and the Church

Dr. Ted Baehr, founder of Movieguide, provided Jerry Newcombe with a statement on the link between the presence of the church and the Golden Age of Hollywood and also the absence of the church and the moral decline and quality decline of Hollywood. Salt and light, provided by the followers of Jesus Christ, make a huge difference in every aspect of life.

Here is Ted Baehr:

Part of the reason for the breakdown of morality in movies and television today, and in the culture at large, is that people of faith retreated from being salt and light in the culture.

From 1933 to 1966, people of faith were one of the predominant forces in Hollywood. During that period, the Roman Catholic Legion of Decency and the Protestant Film Commission (which started several years after the Legion of Decency) read every script to ensure that movies represented the largest possible audience by adhering to high standards of decency. As a result, MR. SMITH [went] TO WASHINGTON, IT [was] A WONDERFUL LIFE and THE BELLS OF ST. MARY’S rang out across the land!

It took 10 years and God’s Grace acting through three dedicated Christian men to position God’s people to be such a powerful moral influence on Hollywood. As the videotape HOLLYWOOD UNCENSORED all too clearly demonstrates, prior to their involvement in 1933, American movies were morally bankrupt – full of nudity, perversity and violence. From 1922 to 1933, church-going men and women tried everything, including censorship boards, to influence Hollywood to make wholesome entertainment. Nothing succeeded until people of faith volunteered to work alongside the Hollywood studios to help them reach the largest possible audience, a strategy which is being used successfully today at the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry and MOVIEGUIDE®.

When the Protestant Film Office closed its advocacy offices in Hollywood in 1966 (in spite of many pleas to stay by the top Hollywood filmmakers), not only did it open the floodgates to violence (THE WILD BUNCH), sex and Satanism (ROSEMARY’S BABY), and perverse anti-religious bigotry (MIDNIGHT COWBOY and M*A*S*H), it also caused a severe drop in movie attendance from 44 million tickets sold per week to about 20 million.

In 1983, while serving on the Communications Board of the National Council of Churches and the National Religious Broadcasters, Dr. Ted Baehr was introduced to George Heimrich and his work at the Protestant Film Office by the great movie producer Ken Wales (the original THE PINK PANTHER, CHRISTY, AMAZING GRACE, and CAPTIVE). Inspired by George Heimrich and his wife Lucille, Dr. Baehr began contacting prominent members of the industry, and in 1985, formed the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry and MOVIEGUIDE®. Heimrich donated his Protestant Film Office files to the ministry, where they now reside.

Good News Communications, Inc. (GNC, Inc.), d.b.a. (doing business as) the Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC) and MOVIEGUIDE®, is dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media of entertainment by influencing media executives and by informing and equipping people, including parents, children and teenagers, about the effect of the media on their lives and the lives of the society and people around them. As the evidence cited herein clearly shows, the entertainment media is one of the biggest influences on character development, not only of children and teenagers, but also of adults.

One of the several tools which the ministry uses to influence the box office and help families to be media wise is MOVIEGUIDE®. GNC, Inc., a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, publishes MOVIEGUIDE®:  The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment ( MOVIEGUIDE® produces at least five comprehensive movie, television and video reviews each week. We gear the ratings in our reviews to parents with children, but also provide information for discerning adult viewers. We also include news from the entertainment industry that affects people and their society; articles on movies, TV and cultural trends and beliefs; and, interviews with major filmmakers and television artists. All of this information gives our readers a moral perspective on the entertainment industry, both its positive and negative effects, and provides us with the data we need to prepare MOVIEGUIDE®’s Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry® and to select the Epiphany Prize® winners.

Each year around Academy Award time, MOVIEGUIDE® hosts an Annual Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry in Hollywood, where we present the prestigious Epiphany Prizes® to the Most Inspiring Movie and TV Program of the previous year to the studio executives, producers and filmmakers, plus the Teddy Bear Awards® for the Ten Best Movies for Families and other awards and prizes.

At the Annual Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, Dr. Ted Baehr, founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®, presents a statistical analysis based on MOVIEGUIDE®’s definitive movie reviews. Guided by more than 40 years of personal research and 70 years of scientific studies on the impact of the media and on media literacy, MOVIEGUIDE®’s analysis consistently shows that family-friendly movies with Christian, biblical, moral, godly, redemptive, spiritually uplifting, and conservative stories, themes, sounds, images, and ideals usually make far more money at the box office on average than movies with excessive violence, foul language, nudity, explicit sex, and other objectionable content. The Annual Report to the Entertainment Industry not only gives studio executives and filmmakers crucial, definitive information on how to make better, more effective movies; it also directs the media viewing habits and media literacy of moviegoers and the general public.

As Dr. Baehr has noted for many years, “Whoever controls the media controls the culture.” In other words, the media trains the citizens, politicians and top bureaucrats who elect and appoint our top judges and who select the teachers of our children and grandchildren. Therefore, the supporters of the Christian Film & Television Commission® have a great opportunity to make a lasting impact on the moral and spiritual development of the people in our society, including our leaders, judges, teachers, and especially our children and grandchildren.

Thousands of scientific studies and case studies have shown the powerful influence that the entertainment media has on people’s cognitive development and behavior, especially children, teenagers and young people, who represent the biggest audience. In light of all the conclusive evidence of the effect of the mass media of entertainment on character development and society, it seems ever abundantly clear that the mission of this ministry is absolutely vital. That leads to one crucial question that needs answering, “Are our efforts working?”

God bless you!
Yours in Christ

Ted Baehr, Th.D., HHD, J.D.

Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) Member
4073 Mission Oaks Blvd
Camarillo, CA 93012
Fax: (805) 290-4951

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Movieguide® has been serving audiences for 38 years. 1 in 3 parents use Movieguide® according to The Hollywood Reporter. MOVIEGUIDE® reaches 89 million people per month on radio, TV, Social Media, and