December 14, 2017

X-Rated TV (1)

by Elmer L. Rumminger

How Should a Christian Family Deal With Pornography On Television?

This article first appeared in the first issue of the magazine, Faith for the Family, published March/April, 1973.It is reproduced here by permission.

Editor’s note: The article speaks of the problem of immorality on display on television from a 1973 perspective. The situation has hardly gotten better, but we offer it for its historical viewpoint and for the spiritually edifying exhortation it offers. Current readers will want to transfer its applications to present day media of all kinds.

Surely it comes as no surprise that television networks, syndication services, and even some local stations are “going the way of all flesh” — with the emphasis on FLESH. Nudity and perverted sex have been “in” for several years as staple motion-picture fare; and now, in the enlightened seventies, witness the advent of X-rated television!

The problem is: How does a Christian family deal with pornographic material on the tube?” It is one thing to prohibit your child from attending the motion-picture theatre — traditionally that has heen a “No-No” in most fundamental circles at least until recent years — but how do you handle it on TV? Television is in your living room. It has baby-sat Johnny and Suzie. It’s one of the family!

Before we attempt to answer the question, a further examination of the problem is in order. Just how bad is television now, and how bad will it get?

Author Max Gunther broached the subject in a series of three articles in TV Guide magazine (Oct. 14, 21, and 28, 1972). The series title: “TV and the New Morality.” Gunther quotes an un-named opponent of the trend to more and more sexy TV — “That set is no longer a welcome guest in my home. I would no more plug it in today than I would invite a prostitute to dinner.”

Strong language. But who would have dreamed that a station of the Public Broadcasting Service — a federally subsidized “educational” medium — would telecast in the New York City area a ballet featuring male and female members of the cast in full, frontal nudity?

Who would have imagined that stations would show such “explicit” movie fare as A Man and a Woman and The Damned. The latter, according to Gunther, contained “considerable nudity, an incestuous mother-son relationship, the rape of a child, a long orgy scene, and other risqué material.”

Entertainment columnist Hy Gardner told his readers recently that one of the most notorious of all X-rated films — I Am Curious Yellow — is scheduled for showing on commercial TV in a major Canadian city along with three other such X-rated films. Gardner also relates that British television is now permitting nude commercials. Would you believe: “…a dozen male models took a bath in the buff-and performed a singing commercial…”

Check your local listings for clues to the trend. Here are two typical reviews from a single page of the “Television Spotlight” section of the Greenville (South Carolina) News: “Tuesday … The Bold Ones. Dr. Cohen finds that an old flame is working at the hospital and tries to rekindle their romance only to learn that the nurse is living with another woman in a lesbian relationship, Channel 4 at 9 p.m.”

“Wednesday … Wednesday Movie of the Week. That Certain Summer — Emmy winner Hal Holbrook stars as a divorced man whose failure to discuss his homosexuality with his family leads him to face the delicate task of explaining his life-style to his 14-year-old son … Channel 13 at 8:30 p.m.”

Who would have thought that homosexuality would receive sympathetic dramatic treatment on America’s “family” entertainment medium?

The Bible describes the situation in Noah’s day: “The wickedness of man was great in the earth and … every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). I suspect that we live in similar conditions and that it will get worse; but somehow it seems hardly possible that modern man’s most sinful imaginings are scheduled to be pictorialized in living color, during prime time, right in the living room,· and in full view of the children!

In case you hadn’t noticed — it is happening!

In case you hadn’t realized it — it will get worse, much worse!

To be continued…


At the time of original publication, Elmer L. Rumminger was head of the Radio and Television faculty of Bob Jones University, a post he held since January, 1972. For nine years previous to this, he was manager of Radio Station WAVO-FM/AM in Atlanta, Georgia. He had also served as news director of the Bob Jones University Hour on WAIM-TV, Anderson, S.C. While residing in Georgia, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Greater Atlanta Movement to Restore Decency; and he was active in efforts to keep SIECUS-related sex instruction programs out of Georgia public schools. During the Maddox Administration, he was one of five lay members from throughout the state appointed to the Private Education Study Committee of the Georgia Senate, on which he continued to serve under Governor Jimmy Carter. A founding director of Christian Communication Consultants, he has lectured widely on the dangerous anti-Christian influence of modern-day radio, television, movies, and recordings. On the eve of his return to South Carolina, a committee of Atlanta area pastors and laymen honored him with a plaque naming him “Mr. Christian Broadcasting of Atlanta.”


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

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