By Garner Ted Armstrong


One would think Americans would cringe over violence, blood, mayhem and murder in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing and the horrific destruction of helpless human life in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To the contrary, Americans cannot get enough of violence, explosions, stabbings, shootings, and “splatter” movies.


Increasingly, “entertainment” consists of watching gigantic, fiery explosions, flying bodies, the staccato bark of submachine guns, and every assorted form of violence. 


The ads for current movies are inescapable, even if I am watching Fox Cable News, CNN, or ABC. While I nearly always mute the ads, I cannot always escape seeing the huge, boiling orange clouds of flame as bodies fly through the air, automobiles going airborne and crashing upside down; hundreds of rounds of machine pistol bullets punching holes in bodies — or, in the latest fad, thousands of people armed with swords, spears and pikes, slashing each other to bits. I don’t want to see it. But there it is, forcing itself into my living room.


My only defense is to turn my head, mute the sound, and wait until all the murder and mayhem is over.   


How times have changed. Recently, Direct TV decided to rerun “Gone With The Wind” for perhaps the tenth time. Some of us remember the “banned in Boston” movie, which dared for the first time to allow an actor, Clark Gable, to utter the word “damn.” People lined up around the block to experience the vicarious thrill of hearing the famous actor utter that one “forbidden” word!


It is incredible to me that it took only a few decades for our country to progress from being shocked at a slang word, “damn,” to the point of unbridled pornography, sewage, offal, vomit and garbage spewing out into our living rooms and theaters like a non-stop tidal wave of filth. Do not delude yourself into believing there is no link between all this and the morals toboggan-slide in society as America “slouches toward Gomorrah.” There is a definite connection.


As a boy, I remember waking up my parents and perhaps half the neighborhood, screaming at the top of my voice, having a nightmare. It resulted from a scene in “Huckleberry Finn,” a 1930's motion picture in which two children, lost in a cave, were being chased by “Indian Joe,” who finally cornered them in a niche in the cave. Yet, even though no injury or death occurred, and the children were eventually rescued, that scene caused me a night of sheer terror, not to mention the scare I must have caused my parents.


I can still remember, even though I am well into my 70's, that scene. I may have been seven or eight. The point is, impressionable young minds are much like a new 60 gigabyte computer hard drive. When you put something in there, it is there to stay. If such a mild scene caused such a result in the mind of a young lad in the 1930's, what is being planted into the minds of millions of youngsters today?


Physically, we are what we eat. Mentally and emotionally, we are what we ingest through the five senses. Motion pictures and television are the most powerful communication and teaching devices ever known to man. By portraying in vivid color, up close, bullets puncturing blood-spouting holes in human bodies, the special effects artists manage to create realistic, shocking scenes which are imprinted in human minds and memories.


Too many horrific crimes have been committed by youths and adults alike to listen further to arguments from Hollywood that there is no connection between special effects violence, in the movies and on television, and crime.


Not only have youngsters attacked their own schools, committing mass murder and suicide, but we were recently treated to the ghastly specter of two brothers who allegedly killed, then dismembered, their own mother. Two half-brothers, Jason Bautista, 20, and Matthew Montejo, 15, murdered their mother, Jane Bautista, 41. Her head and hands were found in the family’s apartment in Riverside, California. The elder brother allegedly confessed to police they got the idea of dismembering her body from a popular mob show called “The Sopranos.”


Let’s face it, by the time most children enter the first grade, they have witnessed countless explosions, chase scenes, murders, bludgeonings, stabbings, shootings and flaming automobile collisions. Suffering and death are portrayed in the most gruesome reality by the special effects artists who make the movies for the theaters and home television. Many years ago, I read statistics which indicated that most children view television up to five hours each day; that many have spent more time watching TV before they enter the 1st grade than all the time they will spend in formal education!


Children's shows each Saturday morning feature the most horrifying monsters; dagger-like teeth, demoniacal countenances, gleaming axes, knives and swords, engaging in every form of brutal violence. Is there any connection between violence on the screen and increasing violence among Americans?


To argue there is no connection is to deny what thousands of law enforcement personnel experience on a daily basis. There is a direct connection, and many killers have said so, just as kidnapers and murderers of little girls have been found with child pornography in their possession.


For decades, law enforcement has known there is a direct relationship between vicarious violence and real violence. In spite of claims to the contrary by those who make fortunes producing violence for motion pictures and television, police know that a mind which feeds on violence is far more likely to react violently in real-life situations.


Some years ago, a four-year old shot his mother in the stomach with a pistol she had kept beneath the cash register in her small grocery store. He was utterly amazed when she didn't get up off the floor and keep on living, just the way the cartoon characters he watched did. Cartoons? Does anyone take them seriously? Yes. Kids do.


Hollywood strives to give the general public what it wants. The bottom line is box office sales, not mental or emotional health. Hollywood is not in the business of morality. It is in the entertainment business; the business of making money. The American lust for blood, sex and violence is unprecedented in history. Its effects are seen in the disintegration of the American family and the rapid drift toward situation ethics and nihilism.


We lead the world in murder. At the same time, we lead the world in the production of movies and television featuring murder. Is there any connection? To argue there is no connection between violence in the media and violence in society is to utterly ignore crime statistics. Police and law enforcement personnel see daily proof of direct connection. Too many child molesters have been found with kiddie porn to believe otherwise; too many killings, from Columbine to the recent dismemberment of a mother, have been directly connected to motion pictures, video movies and/or video games to believe otherwise.


Much of this stems from decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. From the days of Earl Warren, incredibly liberal decisions have been handed down; decisions involving pornography (free speech!), flag burning (free speech!), abortion (the right to choose!), and principles concerning the separation of church and state, among others.


God says of our judges, “He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools” (Job 12:17). Isaiah said, “For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.


“None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity” (Isaiah 59:3,4).


Later, in the same indictment, he cried out, “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.


“Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness...we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us...For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;


“In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God [”God is Dead,” they say; or “God, who is He, or she?], speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.


“And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:8-14).


Today, virtually every decision you learn about from the judiciary is contrary to God’s laws! Same sex “marriages” are allowed; pornography is legal; burning the flag, or spreading manure on a religious icon is either “free speech” or “art.” In knee-jerk reaction from a threatened lawsuit by the ACLU, a city council in California recently banned the name of Jesus from its prayers in council session openings. Instead, a “moment of silence” is now observed! Schools have been ordered to forbid prayers; the Ten Commandments and all mention of God have been ordered off government buildings. Under the guise of “Civil Liberties” incredibly ridiculous lawsuits have been filed; unbelievably wrong-headed decisions handed down from the courts.


Murderers are allowed to escape the penalty for their crimes; criminals are allowed to go free because “there is not enough room for them” in prison. From the panhandler on the street to corporate executives who steal hundreds of millions, “...there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalms 53:3).


There is a judgment day coming.


World conditions indicate that major Biblical prophecies are about to be fulfilled. Because those who should be leading the world in righteousness are instead leading the world in every crime; every evil, they will be the recipients of God’s great wrath in the Day of the Lord.


God says, “I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.


“Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Amos 4:11-12).


Where the leaders go, the people will follow. If America had righteous, God-fearing leaders; judges who know and fear God; it would be obvious to them that unbridled sex, crime and violence as “entertainment” are taking a horrific toll on American families, on the values that made this nation great. Such judges would have rendered the exact opposite decisions of those which have, instead, opened the flood gates of vile degeneracy.


If they were alive today, the framers of the Constitution would be forbidden from saying or writing the very documents which constituted the United States as a nation! Any mention of “Divine Providence” would be met with hoots of derision and shrieks of scorn. Truly, our own Constitution as it stands COULD NOT BE WRITTEN today!  One shudders to think of the incredibly anarchistic, nihilistic, liberal document of situation ethics which would represent the Constitution of the United States if it were to be written today!


Truly, the prophecies of Isaiah concerning America’s judges have come to pass: “But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.


“For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean” (Isaiah 28:7,8). This aptly describes much of “entertainment”: Tables full of vomit.


What do you and your children watch?




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