*Two years after the home video release of “The Blind Side,” one of the nation’s leading Christian retail chains has come under fire for pulling the PG 13-rated DVD from its shelves due to profanity and the use of a racial slur.
The Oscar-winning film was removed from LifeWay Christian Stores after a pastor complained, and the decision has sparked debate within the community, writes The Hollywood Reporter.
On Friday, for example, televangelist Rod Parsley wrote that LifeWay was sending an “ominous” and “unbiblical message” that Christians “must be sheltered from the world’s realities.”
“The Blind Side” is based on the true story of Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy, a white, well-to-do Christian couple who adopted Michael Oher, a black teenager from inner city Memphis. Oher became a star college football player at Ole Miss and now plays in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens.
The film earned Sandra Bullock an Oscar for best actress and raked in $256 million at the domestic box office.
The 165 LifeWay stores are operated by LifeWay Christian Resources, a non-profit entity that had been criticized for more than a year by Rodney Baker, a Florida pastor who objected to some of the language in the PG 13-rated Blind Side.
As the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting approached last month, where the SBC was set to make The Rev. Fred Luter the first black president in its history, Baker pressed for a resolution that “expresses dissatisfaction with ‘The Blind Side’ and any product that contains explicit profanity, God’s name in vain, and racial slur.”
LifeWay, which had resisted complaints by Baker in the past, decided to defuse the issue by yanking the movie from its store shelves. While vague in the statement it emailed to The Hollywood Reporter, it seemed that LifeWay was mostly motivated by the negative depiction of some of the black characters in ‘Blind Side,’ as well the single use of a racial slur.
“After selling the movie for nearly two years, LifeWay decided last month to stop carrying it because of the likelihood it would be the focus of debate and division at our annual denominational meeting,” LifeWay said. “We were electing the Southern Baptist Convention’s first African-American president and did not want to distract from that historic moment.”
After Luter was elected in June 19, he told the Christian Post that he supported Baker’s efforts and LifeWay’s decision to pull the DVD from its stores and its website, where a search for ‘The Blind Side’ today instead delivers a description of Oher’s book, I Beat the Odds.