Censoring Christian Films

As Pat Robertson's Regent U. issues artistic guidelines, Nigeria's censors make arrests for religious denigration

Regent University issues "artistic guidelines" for student films after Robertson walkout
Last spring, Regent University chancellor and founder Pat Robertson was so upset with student-produced films that he walked out of the school's film festival.

"We are supposed to represent the Lord," Robertson said in October. Some students' use of dark satire was "horrible" and "inappropriate," he said. "If we go into this black stuff … I don't think that exactly pleases the Lord." It's okay to portray degradation, he said, but not to glorify it.

Even The Virginian-Pilot had some reservations about the films, calling one a "dark, dark comedy that takes no prisoners [and] goes too far to prove that it's tough and dark."

Now, for the first time in the 25-year history of Regent's Department of Cinema-Television and Theatre Arts, the school is issuing "artistic guidelines" for filmmaking.

"We're not here to censor," Robert J. Schihl, dean of Regent's School of Communications, told The Virginian-Pilot. "We've had this freedom here, and it remains. But maybe we have an obligation to mature Christian students to talk about their developing attitudes of what should be shown to the general public." Schihl says the guidelines aren't in response to Robertson's anger.

The guidelines won't directly ban such items as nudity and cussing, but will quote scriptural imperatives such as "prudence, not offending fellow Christians, and glorifying God in all endeavors," says the newspaper.

Michelle Selk, a doctoral candidate in film studies at Regent who co-produced the film festival, isn't happy.  "I don't think you can tell a person what is and isn't art," she said. "The concept of artistic guidelines doesn't work for me. … Last year's [film festival] showed ...

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September
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