By Christy Barritt
Gun Violence Increases in PG-13 Movies
The amount of gun violence in movies rated PG-13 has more than tripled over the last two decades.
This is according to a new study done at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia. Researchers watched 945 movies sampled from the 30 top-grossing films each year between 1950 and 2012. While watching, they marked every time a film had a violent sequence and each time a gun was fired.
According to researchers, the number of violent sequences more than doubled across all films. They also noted that sometimes PG-13 movies had more shooting scenes than R-rated movies.
In films released in 1984, the first full year of the PG-13 designation, there was generally less than one shooting sequence per hour. In PG-13 movies released in 2012, there were almost three per hour.
Some good news is that the Motion Picture Association of America remains strict about keeping sex out of movies rated PG-13.
Atheist “Churches” Becoming More Popular
A new kind of “church” is popping up all over the world. It’s a community gathering where nonbelievers meet to celebrate their nonbelief.
These get-togethers, called Sunday Assemblies, are essentially atheist “churches” where congregants meet for music, an inspirational talk, and quiet reflection.
The founders of the movement, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, consider it “organized atheism,” and they hope it will continue to catch on around the world. The duo has been traveling around the globe to raise money to launch more of these atheist communities.
Right now the gatherings can be found in Great Britain, Australia, and in U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Nashville, and New York.
Sunday Assemblies hopes to tap into people who have left the faith but miss the community that church provides. In the future, they’d like to offer ceremonies for marriage, birth, and death.
North Korea Executes People for Possessing Bibles
North Korea has reportedly executed 80 prisoners, some of those killed for merely possessing a Bible.
The executions were reported by South Korean media and took place across several cities in November. These mass killings were done in public with 10,000 men, women, and children forced to watch. The slayings involved machine guns and were the first mass executions done in the Kim Jong-un regime.
Other reasons for these death sentences included watching South Korean movies and engaging in prostitution. Many of the relatives of those executed were sent to prison camps.
North Korean law permits execution for offenses such as conspiring to overthrow the government, treason, and terrorism. They’ve also been known to execute for infractions like cell phone use and stealing food. The punishment for these lesser offenses are generally believed to be done to intimidate the public.
North Korea has been ranked by the watchdog group Open Doors as the worst country in the world for Christian persecution.
Employment Non-Discrimination Act
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act was pushed through the Senate in November. This civil rights legislation attempts to end workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Currently employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, nationality, religion, age, or disability. This legislation would prevent them from firing someone based on sexual orientation.
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, proposed an amendment that would have expanded religious exemptions to private businesses. It required 60 votes, but the results were 43-55.
This bill has now moved on to the House of Representatives.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.