Contrary to what many have thought in the past, America is not antagonistic towards the things of God. According to a 2004 CNN poll, an incredible 87% wanted "under God" kept in the Pledge of Allegiance. Contrary to expectations, the blockbuster movie, 'The Passion of the Christ' proved that Americans had an interest in God by grossing hundreds of millions of dollars. Just after the film was released a Gallup Poll News Service* said, "Three in four Americans have seen or expect to see it."
The New York Times** said, "Hollywood producers and studio executives, witnessing overwhelming success of 'The Passion of the Christ,' are reconsidering whether they have been neglecting large segments of American audience eager for openly religious movies..."
A new book I have just written, called, What Hollywood Believes explores an area that has rarely been examined before--the faith of the famous. This hasn't been an easy task. It has taken a great deal of meticulous research. This is because actors in the past have been strongly discouraged from making public their thoughts about God. Up until the success of "The Passion of the Christ," Hollywood had been under the illusion that America wasn't interested in God. That's because the town lives in a world of its own. It doesn't resemble core America. Gallup polls reveal that over 90% of Americans believe in God, and that as many as 40% attend worship services regularly, but this hasn't been reflected in the movies or on television.***
A survey conducted among the 104 top television writers and executives found that, of the 104 who were asked if adultery was wrong only, 49% said it was. That means that 51% maintained that they believe that adultery is morally right. Meanwhile 85% of the rest of America believes adultery is wrong.
When questioned if they had any religious affiliation, Hollywood came in at 45% saying that they didn't, while the percentage of Americans who had no religious affiliation was a mere 4%.
It is therefore a sad irony that when legendary film maker Cecil B. DeMille (the director of the epic movie, "The Ten Commandments") first came to California in the early 1900's, he settled in a small town that was said to be a "Christian" settlement that was giving away free land to anyone who was willing to build a place of worship. The town had a picturesque name--Hollywood.****
Hollywood isn't the only town with a forgotten godly heritage. Did you know that as you walk up the steps to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C., near the top of the building there is a row of the world's law givers? Each one is facing Moses, who is in the middle, holding the Ten Commandments. As you enter the Supreme Court, the two huge oak doors have the Ten Commandments engraved on each lower portion of each door. As you sit inside the courtroom, you will see another display of the Ten Commandments--this one is directly above where the Supreme Court resides.
James Madison, the fourth President--known as "The Father of Our Constitution," said, "We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
So, if you love the Lord and care about the lost, forget the enemy's lies that you have believed in the past, about people not wanting to know about God. Take advantage of their openness to speak to them about the only issue that really matters in this life--their eternal salvation.
References*March 12, 2004 **March 15, 2004 ***Source: The Center for Media and Public Affairs, "The Elite and How to Avoid It", Newsweek, July 20. ****Source: Cecil B. DeMille, American Epic, Biography Documentary Special, April 5, 2004
This column is part of the first chapter of an exciting new book called "What Hollywood Believes." We hope to have it ready for purchase (God willing) sometime around mid to late June 2004. Hardcover - 49,000 Words