Monday, October 6, 2008

Market Identifies Which States are "Christian"

The free market cannot do everything, but it can supply us with some information quite accurately. Is America a Christian nation? Well, some states are more Christian in character and sentiment than others, and the market may have identified which of the fifty states are "Christian."

A film about Billy Graham, Billy: the Early Years of Billy Graham, opens on October 10 in select states, not necessarily near you. They are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. That is 12 out of 50 states.

So much for "Jesusland."

The website describes the film:

Most of us know Billy Graham as the self-assured and charismatic preacher who became one of the most important figures of 20th Century Christianity. Now, with the release of Billy: The Early Years, we meet Billy as the earnest and promising young man at the crossroads of faith and doubt, ultimately facing the moment of decision that launched one of history’s most powerful evangelistic careers.

Most compellingly, Billy: The Early Years paints its portrait of Graham against the backdrop of his relationship with Charles Templeton, another gifted young preacher who’s faith could not withstand the onslaught of scientific skepticism. He and Graham parted ways and in the film, Templeton comes to personify the rising tide of disbelief into which Graham launched his crusades.

Filmed in Tennessee, Billy: The Early Years captures the feel of the Depression-era tent revival where Graham heeded the altar call, and follows him through the doubt and resolution of the next decade. The film was directed by the versatile actor/director Robby Benson – the voice of The Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The movie’s power lays in its honest portrayal of Billy’s struggle with the ideas represented in Templeton’s eventual unbelief and shows how Billy’s faith, so dramatically portrayed in the film, goes on to change the face of modern evangelism.

Now that this movie is out, it strikes me as odd that Hollywood didn't get to it first. It is a compelling story that would draw a large audience and make a lot of money. Instead, they make Milk, the story of San Francisco supervisor Harvey Milk, the country's first openly homosexual elected official, starring Sean Penn and due for release in December. But, as Michael Medved has shown, the ideological left in America is moved less by the profit motive than by their moral priorities. Yes, aggressive moral agendas are not solely the province of the Christian political right.

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