This week in my feature, The 3, with three stories of relevance to the Christian community, major studios are squaring off against a streaming service that filter movies. Also, a new California law forcing pro-life centers to promote abortion has been upheld by a Federal appeals court. And, under one-tenth of the girls kidnapped from Chibok, in Nigeria, have been released.
3 - Family-friendly movie filtering service facing opposition; one studio taken to task for allowing trademark characters in porn
Have you heard of a streaming service called VidAngel? Well, according to the Christian Examiner website, VidAngel "allows families to watch mainstream movies without the coarse language, sexuality or violence."
But, apparently, there are large studios that don't care for this service. The article says:
Four studios -- Disney, Warner Brothers, Twentieth Century Fox, and Lucasfilm – sued the young company to try and shut it down. That could happen on Oct. 31, when a U.S. district court in California will hear arguments from the studios, who are requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent VidAngel from operating. The studios argue that VidAngel is operating without a streaming license, but VidAngel says current law – specifically, the Family Movie Act – allows it to operate legally without one. A DVD hard copy exists in VidAngel's library for each movie it streams.More than two dozen leaders, including a number of Christian leaders, submitted declarations to the court in September, supporting VidAngel. Those include: Tim Winter of the Parents Television Council, Bob Waliszewski of Focus on the Family's Plugged In, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Ted Baehr of Movieguide.
In his declaration, Winter wrote that, "...Hollywood's effort to impede in VidAngel's lawful business is consistent with their efforts to similarly impede in every other business or regulatory effort that would allow a viewer's ability to filter out harmful or explicit content."
According to another Christian Examiner story, another leader who submitted a declaration against attempts to shut down VidAngel, Donna Rice Hughes of Enough is Enough, indicated that Disney had a double standard, allowing pornographers to use their licensed characters without any action taken against them. According to the story, Hughes said that "she has tried unsuccessfully for more than a decade to get Disney to shut down websites that use its famous characters in pornographic videos. Her organization fights to make the Internet safer for families and children."
It was reported that she wrote in a Washington Examiner column that she went public about her communication with Disney only after the company filed a lawsuit to try and shut down VidAngel.
2 - Federal circuit court upholds law forcing California pregnancy resource centers to promote abortion
A new bill in California signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, forcing pro-life pregnancy centers with ultrasound machines to make women aware of abortion, was upheld this week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. According to Pregnancy Help News:
...the act went into effect Jan. 1, 2016, but has been largely unenforced while municipalities waited out a series of lawsuits challenging the law’s alleged infringement on free speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution’s First Amendment. This is the fifth time a challenge has been turned away by the courts, starting last December.The article goes on to say that: "Most urgently, the clinics are required to violate their deeply held religious beliefs by giving their patients the phone number of a county social services agency where they can obtain an abortion—a requirement the centers say amounts to an abortion referral. Matt Bowman, Senior Counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, is quoted on that organization's website as saying:
The law specifies that 75 pro-life pregnancy centers offering ultrasounds—all of which are state-licensed entities that operate completely free of taxpayer funds—post or disseminate a state-mandated disclaimer notifying women in unexpected pregnancies of state-covered abortions and contraception offered through Medi-Cal.
“It’s bad enough if the government tells you what you can’t say, but a law that tells you what you must say—under threat of severe punishment—is even more unjust and dangerous. In this case, political allies of abortionists are seeking to punish pro-life pregnancy centers, which offer real hope and help to women. Forcing these centers to promote abortion and recite the government’s preferred views is a clear violation of their constitutionally protected First Amendment freedoms. That’s why other courts around the country have halted these kinds of measures and why we will be discussing the possibility of appeal with our clients.”1 - Some of the girls kidnapped in Nigeria released
Around two-and-a-half years ago, 275 Nigerian girls were kidnapped from the Chibok area by the terrorist organization Boko Haram, and now, according to a report posted on the ChristianHeadlines.com website, 21 of the girls were released earlier this week. The story, which was from World Watch Monitor, says, "They were freed before dawn on 13 Oct. in the north-eastern town of Banki, near the border with Cameroon. They were then transported to the capital, Abuja, where they met the Vice President."
The article said that an aide to the president of Nigeria noted that the release of the girls was the "outcome of negotiations between the administration and the Boko Haram brokered by the International Red Cross and the Swiss government." There had been an initial report from AFP, quoting a local source saying that four Boko Haram prisoners had been exchanged for the girls, but the information minister of the country denied that.
According to the Nigerian government, talks with the radical Islamic group will continue.