SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE, June 7 — The Motion Picture Association of America has given a low-budget family film a PG rating because it is too evangelistic, wrote columnist Terry Mattingly.

While a PG-rating is often given for language, violence or nudity, the film Facing the Giants — about a depressed football coach whose life takes a miraculous turn for the better — earned the rating for “strong thematic elements that might disturb some parents,” said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films. Provident hopes to open the film in theaters next fall.

The film was co-written and co-produced by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who serve as associate pastors at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. Among other elements, the film features answered prayers, a medical miracle and a mystic who delivers a message from God. In one scene the coach tells a player that he needs to “get right with God.”

The MPAA told Fuhr the film was “heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions.” Kendrick made no apologies for the overtly Christian film. “We’re going to tell the stories that we believe God wants us to tell,” he said. “We have nothing to hide.”

Parents Claim Son Bullied for Their Stand

Lexington Minuteman, June 15 – Parents of a first grade boy are suing the Lexington Mass., Public Schools saying their rights were violated when the school failed to tell them that homosexuality was being discussed in the classroom. The parents also allege that their first-grade son was assaulted on the playground because of his parents’ stand.

According to a press release issued by MassResistance, Jacob Parker was assaulted by eight to 10 students during recess at Estabrook Elementary School.

Jacob’s father, David, had previously been arrested at the school for refusing to leave an April meeting with the school principal and curriculum director. It was at that meeting that Parker requested to be notified when the topic of sexual orientation was going to be discussed so he could take his son out of the classroom.

The school said that it is investigating the bullying.

Church Membership Fluctuates

NEWS LEADER, June 12 — As populations age, many churches are having more funerals than baptisms, said the Staunton, Va.-based Leader.

Research shows that all of the major mainline denominations — Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and United Methodist — show declines in membership.

“In 1968, most … Protestant churches all tipped from slowly gaining members to losing members,” said David Roozen, director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

The major contributor to the decline is decreased birthrates coupled with increasing mortality rates at aging parishes.

Not all churches are showing a decline. Those churches witnessing a rise in membership include predominantly black churches, the Assemblies of God and Southern Baptists. Catholic Church membership is also increasing, primarily due to Hispanic immigration.