Faith offending?

team-america-photoThe Los Angeles Times had an interesting feature recently. It's a look at the 13 of the most "faith-offending films." Reporters Patrick Kevin Day and Jevon Phillips write:

Hollywood and organized religion seem to be in a perpetual game of whack-a-mole. Just when the ire generated by one film has died down, anger from a different denomination flames up for a different studio.

In 2007, Catholic groups were up in arms over New Line Cinema's "The Golden Compass." By late spring of 2008, it was a Hindu group battling Paramount pictures over the perceived slighting of the Hindu faith in the Mike Myers comedy "The Love Guru."

Meanwhile, "Falling," the first post-Mormon film from writer-director Richard Dutcher, faced an uncertain reception from the community that once embraced his films.

"Falling," "The Golden Compass" and "The Love Guru" are far from the first films to be greeted with stern disapproval from the faithful. In fact, just about every world religion has been up in arms over a movie. Here are some of them.

The other films they look at include "Angels and Demons," "The Da Vinci Code," "The Passion of the Christ," "September Dawn," and "Bowfinger." I really enjoyed Bowfinger but I can see why some Scientologists didn't.

For each film, the reporters explain which religious group was offended and why. So, for instance, it says that Jews were offended by "The Passion of the Christ." And yes, this approach tends to treat each religious group as monolithic in its response to movies. But that's not why I highlight it here.

The list also included "Team America: World Police" and "Tropic Thunder."

I have seen both of those films. I loved the former (never has a movie so perfectly encapsulated my foreign policy views) and enjoyed the latter. There is really no religion in either of them.

So which religious group do the reporters say was offended? Here's "Team America's":

Who was offended? Lots of red-blooded Americans, least of all a certain Mr. Sean Penn

What was their beef? Trey Parker and Matt Stone are known as rabble-rousers, but even with their "South Park" antics, their over-the-top portrayal of war, dictators, puppet sex and some people's indifference toward voting -- especially so soon after 9/11 -- raised the ire of the noted Hollywood activist and others.

Um, first of all, I don't think the movie was known for offending red-blooded Americans, whatever that means. At the very least it's debatable -- I just heard a crowd singing the anthem from Team America (the title of which isn't fitting for a family web site) on the 4th of July -- it's post-ironically patriotic. Secondly, and most importantly, red-blooded American is not a religion!

And what about "Tropic Thunder"?:

Who was offended? Disability groups.

What was their beef? It was supposed to be a fake war that turned into a real one in the movie, and off screen. One speech, or one word really, stirred up a storm of protests by advocates of people with disabilities. "Retard" was bad enough, but it was followed by "moron," "imbecile" and "dumb."

While some disability groups did indeed protest the film, it must be said that "disability groups" is not a religion either.

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