Movie Night Madness Star Trek

Everyone can agree that a trip to the movies should not cause anxiety for parents. Today we see even more cause for concern than in the past. With the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage as between any two people, parents need to be ever more vigilant—even when watching cult classics.

In Star Trek: Beyond, the latest installment of the popular science fiction series, Lieutenant Sulu is portrayed as a loving father who longs to see his little daughter while he is on a three-year mission to “go where no man has gone before.” Mr. Sulu touchingly keeps a photo of his daughter tucked into his computer console. When the Starship Enterprise makes a provisioning stop at a Federation outpost, Mr. Sulu is greeted by another man carrying Mr. Sulu’s daughter. While no words are spoken, it seems clear, and has been verified by the producer, that Mr. Sulu, the other man, and the little girl are meant to look like a family—a family in which the child has two homosexual parents. 

Movie Night MadnessAlthough Star Trek has never been a morally upstanding show, with Captain Kirk having his share of illicit love affairs and recent films in the series reboot containing highly sexualized scenes, this new film takes the next step down the slippery slope of sexual immorality for both Star Trek and Hollywood.

Star Trek has indeed gone where no science fiction franchise has gone before. Mr. Sulu is the first homosexual character, let alone the first homosexual parent, to enter mainstream science fiction. For the record, homosexual activist George Takei, who played the original Mr. Sulu in the television series and the first six films, disagreed with the decision to portray Mr. Sulu as a homosexual man, believing that Mr. Sulu should be heterosexual, just as the original creator, Gene Roddenberry, intended.

Cultural shift

Portrayals of sexual sin on the big screen and TV have been a slow and steady process. In shows like I Love Lucy just a few decades ago, a married couple couldn’t sleep in the same bed due to the decency standards adopted by the entertainment industry. Yet today we see heroes and heroines cohabiting and engaging in other immoral behaviors.

As cultural attitudes toward sex and marriage become more liberal and disordered, media experts are discovering that TV changes the way we think about relationships and the traditional family structure. With more and more shows positively portraying same-sex partners, the American public has shifted its view to accept homosexuality and other sexual sins as normal. Homosexuality is only the latest sexual sin to gain notoriety in mass media. Fornication (any sex outside of the sacrament of marriage, including premarital and adulterous), cohabitation, and pornography are already commonplace in the movies and on TV.

So, what can we do? As parents, we might be tempted to stick to our carefully curated DVD collection and hope that our kids will never come in contact with the radical sexual and homosexual agenda. But the fact remains that, unless we wake up and take a stand against all immorality in entertainment, sooner or later our children will encounter the liberal agenda in real life—with or without our guidance. We must prepare ourselves to discuss with our children the downward spiral of our society and then arm them with the truth. Below are three ways to help our children navigate these murky waters:

1. Remind children of God’s plan for humanity.

One man, one woman, and their children form the family that God designed (CCC 2202). Studies show that children thrive with both a mother and father. Sometimes children grow up with only one of their parents because of unfortunate circumstances like death, divorce, or abandonment, but that is not what God originally intended. It is also now a reality that some children are being raised by either one or two homosexual parents. This is not part of God’s design for the family, and we have to ensure that our children both understand this fact and remain compassionate to children who may come from these homes.

2. Teach children to show compassion to others.

The best way to teach our children is through examples. That can begin, very simply, by showing compassion to our own children. We are all sinners in a broken world and need God’s grace and help. We all have struggles, whether it’s with impurity, pride, selfishness, anger, or something else. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to pray for each other and help our brothers and sisters in Christ attain heaven.

Persons who struggle with same-sex attraction are called to chastity—just like everyone else. Like any person aiming for heaven, they can “approach Christian perfection” through prayer, sacrifice, self-denial, and the practice of virtue. These people have an incredibly heavy cross to bear. Not only are homosexual acts and inclinations intrinsically disordered, but the culture of death provides a constant temptation for them to give in to their inclinations.

See paragraphs 2357-2359 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a thorough explanation of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and homosexual acts.

When you encounter a person with same-sex attraction (or anyone engaged in any type of sexual immorality), remain compassionate without acknowledging their actions as acceptable. Be open and kind. Pray for them (and with them if possible). Strive to see the dignity of each person God places in your life and teach your children to do the same.

Holy matrimony is reserved for only one man and one woman. Even though same-sex “marriages” are now “legal” in the United States, Christians cannot condone them because they are not sacramental—in accord with God’s plan for the family. But we can and must affirm the sacredness and dignity of all human beings, including those who feel same-sex attraction. God did not change His laws. Man changed his.

3. Teach children discernment.

As parents, we must face the fact that, sooner or later, our children will encounter portrayals of sexual immorality, including homosexuality, with or without parental guidance. The question remains: Will they be prepared to respond?

We cannot shield our children from everything the devil throws at them, but we can teach them to discern moral from immoral and ordered from disordered. We need to teach our children discernment when it comes to the things they see in the media and the culture at large. Through our own example, we can show them how to survive in the world, not become distracted by society’s messages, and stay focused on heaven.

Media is a powerful teaching tool when used the right way. Stories have the power to convey truth, beauty, and goodness. As a family, share stories that build a culture of life. Talk about people who have struggled to uphold the dignity of every human being instead of taking the easy way out. Watch pro-life and Christian movies together as a family. Movies are not only enjoyable to watch, but can also contain powerful stories and messages that your children will remember for years to come. The Culture of Life Studies Program has a growing library of film and book discussion guides to help parents form the habit of talking to their children about the gospel of life.

As Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). If we train our children to discern the true, the good, and the beautiful in the media they consume, we can equip them to be ambassadors of the truth. At God’s behest, we can change our society and defeat the culture of death. We just need to focus on conveying the truth—changing hearts and minds—one person at a time. This starts in our own homes.