Does God Care What Movies You Watch?

Most people are familiar with the Motion Picture Association of America’s ratings system—the G, PG, PG13, R, and NC-17. If you also happen to be acquainted with (or abide by) the A, B, C, or O ratings, you might have an easy answer for today’s Ask Movie Irv question. Those other ratings would be the various categories created by the Legion of Decency, which deployed the authority of the Catholic Church to warn moviegoers about films featuring content it regarded as sinful to consume. The organization has changed names (you can find its modern-day incarnation here), and one could argue its influence has decreased, but the mission remains the same.

We’ve heard contemporary faith-based complaints about Harry Potter being dangerous for “encouraging” the practice of magic (which would be worse, presumably to some, than encouraging the corralling of entire subsets of the U.S. population inside electrified fences, if you follow some recent headlines that beggar belief); do you share those concerns and others like them? Do you believe the Almighty is keeping an eye on your DVR, Netflix queue, or Movies Unlimited order? Are you bound for Hell because you watched (and enjoyed) Miracle on 34th Street—condemned by the Legion for its “sympathetic treatment” of a divorced mother?

Can this deceptively simple question give way to more thoughtful replies? Here’s Irv’s take:

Agnostics and atheists, just holster the sarcasm briefly. Tim Tebow is a big deal in this country for a reason. An overwhelming majority of people in the U.S. believe in the existence of a deity of one sort or another. As hard as it is for your humble producer to believe that so very many people would convince themselves their viewing habits are being monitored in detail by the Invisible Observer, my guess is that we’re likely to get more “yes” votes than “nos.” Let’s hear from the believers and nonbelievers alike.