The Case of Walden Media
Chapter 1: Hollywood and Conservative Christians: An Uneasy Relationship
Hollywood and Conservative Christians: An Uneasy Relationship
Art and religion have often had a very close relationship. Religious patrons long counted among artists’ benefactors and employers – including the Vatican in Rome, as was the case of Michelangelo. But, at the same time, the same religious authorities have always closely monitored art, entertainment and their potential subversive threat. Films have been no exception in America, and this led some US conservative Christians – Protestants and Catholics – to have mixed feelings toward the Hollywood institution, all the more so as sometimes the very secular film world and its stars have tended to generate feelings of devotion and worship that are akin to religious ones.1
A tense relationship
Yet a promising start
Many Christians initially welcomed film as a medium, especially Protestants belonging to the progressive movement – which counted evangelicals in ← 9 | 10 → its ranks – and who adhered to the Social Gospel derived from the Third Religious Awakening.2 In their eyes, films became a modern version of the parables used by Christ to attract crowds and to spread His word and teaching. Films were also a way to make themselves heard in a changing society. Indeed, at the end of the nineteenth century and in the early twentieth century, Darwinism was popular in the United States, and this horrified many Christians, as it undermined the Bible’s account of how God had created the universe. Moreover, this happened in a context of industrialization...
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