Two weeks ago, the New York Daily News announced that ABC will probably air Saving Private Ryan uncut as a Veterans Day event. Anticipating protest, a spokesman for the network said, "The movie has established its credibility. It's all about the context. … Every case needs to be judged by itself."

Many of our readers, it seems, would disagree with him. Letters have come in recently arguing that R-rated films should never be seen by Christian viewers because of violence, nudity, and foul language. Some have said that abstinence from such films is called for in order to protect our hearts and minds. Others have insisted that, while such content is not for everyone, discerning believers can attend these films if they exercise their conscience and pay attention to why a film employs such strong stuff.

Nudity equals an absence of clothing and certain words are classified as "foul," but violence is, perhaps, the most complicated issue in that it is the hardest to specifically define. Disney's The Emperor's New Groove portrays goofy violence, while Atlantis: The Lost Empire portrays intense gunfire and a mass-casualty disaster. We boo the brutal villain in Gladiator, but we cheer when Maximus strikes back using similar devices. Audiences go wild when the Death Star explodes in Star Wars, when Indiana Jones guns down a Nazi, or when Neo lashes out at The Matrix's bad guys with "guns, lots of guns." Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon portrays violence that almost resembles a dance. People buy tickets to Jurassic Park 3 to watch violent prehistoric beasts—is that okay to watch? Then why not hand over eight bucks for the over-the-top violence of Hannibal the Cannibal, who tries to top himself with one indulgently gory display after another? ...

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