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Producer: My Christian Film Got Rated 'R.' It Has No Nudity, Sex, Bad Language, Gore, Drugs.

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The Motion Picture Association of America adds its name to a list of increasingly brazen leftist media powerhouses who discriminate against conservative voices in the public square.

Facebook: Graphic images of a woman smashing and eating a baby do not violate “community standards” but quoting a Bible verse on homosexuality does.

Twitter: Conservative voices and alternative news sources frequently find themselves muzzled while profane rants against them are celebrated.

Google: Discriminatory algorithms ensure that articles praising the Second Amendment, President Trump, traditional marriage, and lashing out against illegal immigration are suppressed while the “fake news media” gets free rein.

It’s called censorship.

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And now the MPAA. Kids killing each other in “The Hunger Games” with swords and spears and killer bees? PG-13. A zombie witch in the “Suicide Squad” wearing a lacy bikini gets her heart ripped out in the finale? PG-13. But the faith-based action moving “The Reliant” which has no foul language, no nudity, no torture, no glamorized violence or gore or zombies or orc beheadings or anything near “R” rated violence?

Rated R!

What prompted the “R” rating? The MPAA’s explanation is vague and inconsistent, but most likely, a scene wherein a 12-year-old skillfully uses a handgun to defend his sister from the villain.

If you can’t compete in the marketplace of ideas, censorship is how you win. The powerful media monopolies conspire to muzzle the ideals of faith and liberty in the public square because only in a vacuum of truth and light can their insanity survive.

“The Reliant” stars Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules”), Brian Bosworth (“The Longest Yard”), Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight”), and Mollee Gray (“High School Musical”). Like most indie films, “The Reliant” already starts the race way behind the competition, having to raise its money from scratch with no secure distribution deal at the end of the race. Now, with this rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, shackles are latched around their ankles as its primary target audience are families and Christian conservatives.

A quote from one of the people who screened the film, homeschooling mother of 13 Kendra Thomas sums up well the level of violence in film:

“My children and I viewed ‘The Reliant’ together and found it perfectly appropriate for family viewing. It deals with social issues in a meaningful way that is generally acceptable to children and adults alike. Unlike other movies, there is no nudity, sex, horror, profanity, innuendo, intoxication, blasphemy or racism in ‘The Reliant.’ There is more to dislike in the animated children’s movie ‘Captain Underpants’ than in ‘The Reliant.'”

A faith-based action film that is also pro-Second Amendment is just more than the Hollywood elites can handle.

The film begins with an economic collapse that results in widespread rioting and looting, leaving a 21-year-old lovesick girl struggling to care for her four younger siblings in a stretch of woods on the outskirts of their burning town, wondering why a good God would let this happen. When they capture an armed thief trying to steal from them, they discover the attack on their home was no random act of violence. According to the website, “At the heart of The Reliant is a love story, an anthem of hope in the darkest of times, of redemption, of forgiveness.”

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“Yes, Kevin Sorbo’s character and his children use weapons to defend themselves from armed looters,” says writer and director, Dr. J. P. Johnston, “but it is so much less violent than even many PG-13 action films. We were so careful to prevent The Reliant from coming anywhere near an ‘R’ rating.”

“Family-friendly!” That’s the assessment of Tim Schmidt, the CEO of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association and executive producer of “The Reliant.”

The producers have screened the movie to a few investors, and their assessments are informative. Schmidt continues, “It seems the MPAA gave the family-friendly film, ‘The Reliant,’ an R-rating due to their discomfort with how the movie depicts the responsible use of a firearm by a pre-teen boy. This boy saved the innocent lives of his own family members! It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

A physician in North Carolina, Matt Harrison, who viewed the film said, “My favorite part was the portrayal of forgiveness by the family.” When informed that the MPAA gave “The Reliant” an “R” rating for “violence,” he was stunned. “That’s crazy!”

M.J. Nixon, a documentary filmmaker and full-time minister at the Refuge Ranch in Atlanta said the story “demonstrated in a beautiful way that no one is too far from redemption.” She admitted that “’The Reliant’ does not paint a naïve picture as to the impact of evil and violence in this fallen world. It displays combat and self-defense in a realistic manner, but this is not reason enough to grant it an R rating.”

“God loves to rise to the defense of underdogs,” Dr. J. P. Johnston, writer and producer, also a family physician, reminds us. “We are not discouraged by the unjust rating from the MPAA. Our prayer is that God can turn it around for good, that this winsome life-changing movie will fill theater seats all over the world.”

If you’d like to view their trailer and help fight the MPAA’s ridiculously biased rating decision, they are crowdfunding and raffling away one of the firearms used by Kevin Sorbo’s character and two of his children in the movie, a 9 mm Kahr PM9 handgun. They are also selling movie posters, the novel “The Reliant,” signed by the author, and pre-selling DVDs at www.TheReliantMovie.com.

It’s not often that a movie becomes a flashpoint in an increasingly hostile culture war. Let’s pray the tide turns with “The Reliant.”

UPDATE, May 29, 2019: “The Reliant” was ultimately released with a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dr. J. P. Johnston is a family practice physician in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. He has 10 home-educated children and is married to Elizabeth aka “The Activist Mommy," whose video blogs have been viewed by over 70 million. Dr. Johnston just released his ninth novel, "Body By Blood," a medical thriller. He is presently writing his first World War II biography. He recently wrote and produced his first movie, "The Reliant," starring Kevin Sorbo, Eric Roberts, Brian Bosworth, Mollee Gray, and the Benham Brothers, which should come to theaters soon. He directs the Association of Pro-Life Physicians.




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