Valentine’s a Worthless Day

Recently I was asked to speak on the topic, ‘What Hollywood says about love, sex and marriage.’ Most of what I reported is a sad commentary on Hollywood’s glorification of sex over love and marriage in the film year 2001.

For instance, in Someone Like You, love is described as something a man says to get sex, ‘it takes most men a year to say I love you and even then—only when they are on top of you.’

Sex is viewed as animal instinct: A natural, physical act, recreational act, not necessarily linked to love and romance. In One Night at McCool’s, sex is something a woman uses to get what she wants from men. In American Pie, our kids are told that it is unnatural to suppress sex and that virginity is something to be embarrassed about — you should lose it as soon as you can. In the movies, promiscuity seldom exacts a price. Losing one’s virginity isn’t regretted, nobody contracts a life-threatening STD and there are few unwanted pregnancies.

For the most part, Hollywood productions present Americans as liberated from the view that sex is sacred and reserved for an institution ordained by God.

Filmmaker John Waters once said: ‘there is no culture war, trash culture is American culture and we’re exporting it to the world!’ Is it any wonder that the following stories all appeared in the press around Valentines Day 2002?

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— Saudi Arabia has officially banned Valentine’s Day, prohibiting shops from selling red roses and couples from displaying tokens of affection during the international day of love. The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Evil is conducting round-the-clock patrols to ensure nobody celebrates this ‘un-Islamic’ occasion and to enlighten youth on the dangers of blindly following ‘worthless foreign customs’.
— In India, hard-liner Hindus reportedly burned cards and gifts in protest of Valentine’s Day which they say offends Indian tradition.
— In a darkened back room in Kandahar a 23 year old stands, mouth agape, giggling nervously, staring at the first pair of breasts he can remember seeing. This experience is courtesy of western-style cable TV companies that have already stated piping pornography into the newly liberated Afghanistan.
— In Jamaica, the popular Hedonism III resort, catering to westerners, will wed 10 American couples in the nude.
— Ecstasy grows as danger to American teens. Over 2.6 million teens have already used the ‘love drug’ ecstasy, ranking it only behind alcohol and marijuana as drug of choice. Cheap, readily available and packaged as a warm, cozy drug (Teddy Bear pictures, glow sticks and pacifiers), Ecstasy actually causes brain damage and sometimes death, and is a primary contributor to the rapid increase in date rape among today’s teens.

These stories have in common an American popular culture that regularly sends the wrong messages about love, sex and marriage. If Christians want to influence culture and the world we need to show teens the importance of sexual purity and true respect for the opposite sex. Our marriages need to be Exhibit-A of the joy and fulfillment that comes from the love and intimacy of our lifelong commitment to fidelity.

Unfortunately, George Barna reports a higher divorce rate among Christians when compared to the general population. American culture is watching and we shouldn’t like what they see in us any more than we like what we see in so many Hollywood productions. It is time to stop just talking about the gospel and start living-it-out in our own families. That’s one of the key places where belief meets real life.

Posted in Staublog, Thoughts in February 14, 2002 by | No Comments »

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