Ah, Stephen Baldwin.
Long time readers of this blog may or may not remember the post I did a few years back about Baldwin and his lunacy, which led the guy who cohosted his Christian Radio show to post in the comments and let me know just how wrong I was about him.
You can read that HERE, but it was basically a starter course in the crazy that is Stephen Baldwin. He wrote this book and was trying to jump on the whole X-Games thing by incorporating that into his Christian Youth Ministry outreach. Nothing wrong with that, as I'm all for more people learning about God, provided they are willing participants.
And he was preaching things that, at least to me, flies in the face of basic tenets of Christianity, such as the idea that we are given "free will". Baldwin not only does not believe in the concept of "free will", but he believes that it is a "Lie from Satan".
And I wrote that I thought that some of what he's teaching is a bit dangerous. But at the time I didn't even factor in what I think is the most dangerous aspect to what he, and what others in this newer youth movement are doing, and that is mixing politics and religion.
I made my views on mixing church and state abundantly clear in my recent post on the Politicization of Christianity. It angers me as a Christian because I don't recognize my faith as it stands today. There's so much politics infused throughout that it's virtually indistinguishable from what my faith is supposed to be. Instead of helping people out, it's all about how to help those already in power. Instead of helping the poor, it's how do we screw over the poor?
MORE AFTER THE BREAK
Instead of preaching unity and for people to come together and help their fellow man, it's all about abortions and gay marriage, when neither of those things were ever spoken about by Jesus. Jesus spoke often about helping the least of his people, he spoke of a rich man never getting into Heaven, and yet you would think that he was saying the absolute opposite if you were to listen to those who are professing to speak for the faith that I call my own these days.
I have become disillusioned with how much my faith has become about hatred and bigotry, and that's NOT the God that I believe in.
But I digress.
So Stephen is in the news again lately because he did an interview and said that his faith is what has kept him from working regularly in Hollywood. Once again we have this myth about the "Godless Liberal Hollywood" that supposedly discriminates against Christians and/or anyone that professes their Christian Faith.
Really? How about Michael Clarke Duncan? That guy's a Christian. He's spoken often about his faith, and in fact in one of the craziest stories I've ever heard (in an awesomely amazing way), he talked about how he used to be a bodyguard for hip hop artists, and was supposed to have been with the Notorious BIG the night he was killed. However he switched with a friend who was with R&B singer Babyface.
Duncan said that his friend was riding in a different car than Biggie, but that if he had been with Big that night, that he would have died because he always rode in the same car as the person he was guarding. And he's talked about how he felt that was a moment in which God told him to get out of that line of work, and it led him to Hollywood.
In 2012 alone he's got four projects (including one listed as 2011 that's finished filming), which includes his main supporting role on the Fox TV series "The Finder". Doesn't look like he's being held back due to his faith in God.
Do I even need to list the movies these two are in or have done recently or is going to come out soon?
He talks about how there are "hot button" issues such as abortion and rape. Who in the world considers Rape a "hot button" issue? Nobody is for rape, Stephen. Nobody is taking sides on that, it's all against rape.
He points to Kirk Cameron getting asked by Piers Morgan about Cameron's comments about homosexuality being a sin and dangerous and whatnot. Baldwin insists that Morgan would never ask Tom Cruise that question (pointing to a perception that Scientology is more accepted than Christianity in Hollwyood). Well, that's probably because Tom Cruise didn't come out and slam an entire section of the population. THAT is what Cameron said, and THAT is what Piers asked him about. Piers didn't ask him that question out of the blue when it was not a factor. He was questioning him on something he said.
What is it with people who get mad when they have to back up things they say?
Look, I think the reasons that Baldwin is not bigger in Hollywood is two fold.
1. I think he's extremely picky about what he does or does not do in a film role. He's trying to market himself as a born again Christian, and I have no doubts of his sincerity, and in that role he probably feels that he can't do roles that involve an abundance of cursing, violence or sex.
Well if you limit yourself to movies that don't include cursing, violence, or sex you're not going to get a lot of roles. I mean you just won't. Jon Heder, most famous for his hilarious role in Napoleon Dynamite, is a Mormon who has refused to do any roles that involve sex.
So he's missed out on a lot of roles, but he also gets roles as well. He's not willing to sacrifice his beliefs for money, and that's an admirable trait.
Same for Stephen. If this is true, and I'm simply speculating, that he is refusing roles because of his beliefs, then hey more power to him. I respect that. But don't get mad when you don't get work, when you're turning jobs down that are offered to you.
2. Also I think the major reason he's not getting a lot of work is because, to be honest, he's kinda creepy now. The only time you really see him, aside from his turn on Celebrity Apprentice, is when he's on some random cable news show getting made a fool of, spouting things that have no basis in fact.
And he reminds me of so many people that I have known over the years that have no idea how to have a genuine honest conversation that does not involve them preaching to you about Jesus. I've known many Christians who simply cannot talk to someone without bringing up their thoughts on God or their faith.
I have no problem with someone believing in God. I believe in God. But I can have a conversation with someone and not feel the need to bring it up.
Here's an example of what I mean. This clip I'm showing here is from a very good film called "The Big Kahuna" starring Kevin Spacey, Danny Devito and Peter Facinelli (Twilight Saga, Nurse Jackie, Loosies), and I love this movie. Especially for scenes like this. Devito is the veteran that's about to retire, and Facinelli is the rookie who's a born again Christian and he has that problem of not being able to know when to separate his beliefs in God from the job that he has to do.
Prior to this scene, the three salesemen were in this hotel room waiting for a guy who would save their company if they could land him as a client. the client is the "Big Kahuna". So Bob (Facinelli) is supposed to go land the client, since the client had already met him before, but instead of talking about the business at hand, Bob went and started talking about his faith in Jesus and that kind of thing.
So when he got back, Spacey and Devito asked how'd it go? And Bob simply said "we didn't talk about that", having instead spent the entire night talking about God. This set Spacey off into a tantrum and Spacey and Facinelli got into a brief scuffle, before Spacey left, leaving Devito and Facinelli alone.
Brilliant scene from both of these actors, but especially Devito:
I especially love that line "Once you lay your hands on a conversation, to steer it, it's no longer a conversation, it's a pitch. And you're no longer a human being, you're a marketing rep."
And once again, this is purely speculation, but I think Stephen Baldwin is one of those guys who is a very charming, very personable guy, but has no real idea how to turn that aspect of his faith off in order to interact. Everything is based around his faith, and to an extent nothing's really wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with loving God, there's nothing wrong with being faithful and adhering to your core beliefs.
What IS wrong is taking your stand which you know is going to alienate people, and make business decisions based on your faith, and then playing the victim by saying you're being persecuted because of your faith. You're not being persecuted because of your faith, Stephen.
And while I think that in the past you've done some solid acting (I absolutely adore the film "Crossing The Bridge" which is one of my all time favorites) such as The Usual Suspects, I think nobody really takes you seriously at this point. That's unfortunate, but I don't think it has to do explicitly with your being a Christian. as I said, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Michael Clarke Duncan are all professed Christians and they definitely aren't hurting for work.
If you can act, you will get jobs. But if you turn those jobs down because you won't do a love scene, or you turn jobs down because it's too violent, or has cursing, well...you're not losing jobs because you're a Christian, you're losing jobs because you won't accept them.
Let me finish this post with one last point. I mentioned earlier how Baldwin referenced the whole Cruise vs. Cameron thing as an example of how biased Hollywood was against Christianity, and that since Cruise was way more busy than Cameron, that that proved it. Seriously, Stephen? This is why nobody takes you seriously. Just when I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to get my point across, you help me out.
Are you HONESTLY comparing Tom Cruise, arguably the biggest box office draw of the past twenty years, with Kirk Cameron????? Tom Cruise, for all his flaws, is a really good actor. Cameron, for all his flaws, is nowhere close to being an average actor. And Cruise has gotten a lot of flack and hits to his reputation due to his being associated with Scientology, so I'm not sure where your line of thinking is here, but ... no, just no.
Hollywood is about that money. If an actor makes money, guess what? That actor will keep on working. If not, well...how's your film slate shaping up? Remember also, for this supposedly Godless Liberal Hollywood, what was the top grossing film some years back? Oh yeah, The Passion of The Christ, that torture porn epic of Jesus having the ever living shit kicked out of him for two hours! That movie made a TON of money.
There's not a lot of Christian movies out there, because most of them are horrible. There are some exceptions, as the film "The Gospel" starring Idris Elba and Boris Kodjoe is really good, but most faith based movies do not make money. Which is why they don't get made often enough. It'd be nice if there was more good acted, good written, good filmed Christian themed films, but you know what? It just doesn't happen. The majority are horribly written, full of cliches and just terribly low budget and they just go straight to DVD. Some even have really good actors in them, but even good actors can only do so much with a horrible script.
So calm down with the persecution talk, Stephen. You're a decent actor, you can definitely get work, you just need to accept the work, not make yourself a martyr by refusing anything that you feel violates your code, and then crying religious persecution.
Because you make a mockery and disrespect the memories of those who have truly been religiously persecuted over the years.