I don't have to explain to anyone how television is much more risque, with some programs being downright lewd, than it was decades ago. But I want to tell you about something that can change the course of values in television and movies.
Once upon a time, about as edgy as it got was Barbara Eden's "I Dream of Jeannie" character, who showed her trim tummy, and Elvis swinging his pelvis on "The Ed Sullivan Show" -- though the broadcast screen only captured the upper half of his body as he did.
Today, of course, we've got everything from Miley Cyrus twerking in prime-time music award shows to explicit sexual scenes and over-the-top dialogue in even so-called "family programs," which are on when kids are still up and surfing channels.
While television programming continues to push the edges of licentiousness further every fall, many people, including parents, across the nation are looking for refuges of decency when it comes to entertainment -- and that includes at theaters, too.
There is a man who has been in show business for more than 40 years and who is fighting to hold a line on decency, respect and moral boundaries in movies and on television. His name is Dr. Ted Baehr. My wife, Gena, and I are dear friends with Ted and his wife, Lili.
Ted is the founder and publisher of Movieguide, which is a family guide to movies and entertainment, and chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, as well as a noted critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit.
I would encourage parents to check out Movieguide to see what movies currently in theaters or on Blu-ray are appropriate for your children. And I also highly recommend Ted's latest best-seller, "How to Succeed in Hollywood (Without Losing Your Soul)."
Ted's website explains that his life's purpose is to be used by God to redeem the values of the media while educating audiences on how to use discernment in selecting their entertainment.
I'm proud to be a member of the board of reference for the dynamic organization Movieguide. It has a very long track record of making a difference in Hollywood. As noted on Movieguide's website, everyone agrees that media have an immense influence on the way we think, act and even believe, and that is especially true of our children. Yet much of what is produced and praised in Hollywood attacks our core values of faith, family and freedom. But we can make a difference! The battle for the hearts and minds of the next generation has never been more important than now, and that battle is taking place at movie theaters and on your TV.
How can we ensure that our young people are being influenced positively through media? The answer is simple: Watch; comment; pray and invite; and fight.
--Watch. On March 1 at 2 p.m. EST, the 22nd annual Movieguide Awards airs on ReelzChannel. This year's star-studded gala will be hosted by actor-comedian Bill Engvall, with appearances by "Duck Dynasty" stars Korie and Willie Robertson, "The Bible's" Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Joni Eareckson Tada, who will exclusively perform the Oscar-nominated song "Alone Yet Not Alone."
(Speaking of faith and family values, I'd like to congratulate Downey and Burnett on their great movie rendition of the life of Jesus, "Son of God," due out in theaters and other venues this Friday, Feb. 28. It's certainly going to be a powerful and inspiring way to enter into the Easter season.)
--Comment. Go to ReelzChannel's Facebook page and state that you support Movieguide's mission and will watch on March 1.
--Pray and invite. Keep the telecast in your prayers; share the information through your social media accounts; and perhaps invite someone over to watch it with you. Go to http://www.movieguide.org/help-us-share-the-good-news for sample emails, tweets and Facebook posts -- among other resources -- you can send to your friends to invite them to watch the broadcast, just as I have used throughout my column here.
--Fight. Continue to fight for change. Renew your war on ratings. Change the channel and help change the culture. And stand up for Movieguide's mission and outreach.
By doing the actions above, you and your family will not only make a statement for decency but also stand up for future generations. Help those of us on Movieguide's board of reference to remind Hollywood that America consists of families who want inspiring, edifying and wholesome entertainment.
As Ted wrote me a few weeks ago, "help us to take on the goliath and win the culture for the future of your children and grandchildren. Fight the culture war for your family by watching the battle of the century this Saturday: Oscar vs. Teddy! This is a fun but serious battle between: Oscar (the symbol of movie awards) vs. Teddy (the symbol of the Movieguide Awards)."
On March 1, let's rally across the nation and pay gratitude to those in the movie and television industries who have given us inspirational entertainment, and let's encourage them to continue their fight for the sake of our children and future generations by watching -- and encouraging others to watch -- the 22nd annual Movieguide Awards.
We all can still change Hollywood and our country one channel and one theater ticket at a time!
For more information, go to http://www.movieguide.org and http://www.cftvc.org, or write to: Christian Film & Television Commission, 1151 Avenida Acaso, Camarillo, CA 93012.