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Family Room

It was 9:00 on a "typical" Los Angeles morning. I wheeled my expensive sports car into my reserved parking space at a major Hollywood studio, headed to my spacious office and proudly surveyed a host of awards and wall photos of me with famous people. Down the hall, a meeting of high-powered studio executives was already in session. Yes, for a player in Hollywood, it was a typical morning … a typical Sunday morning.

While my wife and two boys were at church I, Mr. Film Producer, was at work. I was always at work, as was the rest of this "who's who" of entertainment (names withheld to protect the guilty). I looked around the room at the elite group and thought to myself, "I've arrived!" Still, something wasn't right.

Obscenities and vulgar jokes flew across the room. The first thing on the agenda was a fundraising event for the Gay and Lesbian Coalition. There was a sudden interruption when the chairman's wife called about his sick child. Annoyed, he hung up on her and referred to her as a "witch with a capital B!"

Soon, a seemingly endless line of cocaine was made available to anyone who wanted a "hit." Never into the drugs, I passed, but one top director wound up jumping around the room, coked up so high that he could hardly make sense of the storyboards he was discussing.

Another interruption. This time, it was a scream coming from the bathroom down the hall. Rushing to the scene, I saw a media superstar shaking uncontrollably, staring into space as if in shock. One of the biggest entertainers in the world stood frozen in terror, traumatized because he had dropped his white glove in the toilet. Amazing. Unbelievable. Sad. A typical Sunday morning.

At that moment, I absolutely ached for some sense of reality. I found none anywhere near me. Back inside, the power group was hiply praising the artistic genius behind the blasphemous film The Last Temptation of Christ. That's when the Spirit of God tugged at me. I was suddenly awakened to the incredible double standard in Hollywood.

Day after day, I was working beside "hip," "cool," "sensitive" decision makers who wanted to avoid offending nearly any race, culture or religion. They didn't want the ACLU, Anti-Defamation League or anyone else breathing down their necks. Christianity, I began to notice, was the exception. Disgusting, vulgar, even pornographic material that drags our Lord, Jesus Christ, through the gutter never seemed to get a second thought.

If you or I dare claim this "entertainment" to be offensive or blasphemous, we are labeled fanatics or right-wing zealots. I've spent years as a writer, director, producer and even rock musician, and I know if someone were to approach a record company with a rap song promoting anti-Semitic or racially hateful material, they'd be thrown out and labeled an insane bigot, never to work in the industry again. And rightly so. So why is it open season on Christians? Partly because we've become too passive.

As we equip young people to change their world, we need to teach them to be more than just discerning in their media choices. We need to show them how to be "roaring lambs" for what is good, righteous and true. They must realize that they have a right and a responsibility to respond to Hollywood's assault on their faith.

When directing film projects for Focus on the Family about teen issues, I often interviewed adolescents (ages 13-18) for documentary segments. They would state, honestly and earnestly, that they wished adults would stop trying to be "buddies" with them. They wanted guidance from parents, teachers, pastors … mentors. Let's meet the challenge. Because if children can't look to us, there are boardrooms and bathrooms full of Hollywood's misguided elite just waiting to fill the void.

Bob Garner served as senior producer for Focus on the Family Films, having written, directed and produced such programs as Masquerade and Sex Lies & The Truth.

Published June 2012