Christianity,  Culture

Russell Moore Takes on ‘Orphan’ Movie

Russell Moore guest-hosted “The Albert Mohler Program” (AMP) yesterday and took on the negative stereotyping of the new horror movie “Orphan.” It was a timely show, and you should listen to it. Below is the audio and description of the program from the AMP website.

“How to Protect Orphans from Hollywood”

“Why are people so afraid of orphans? Orphans often find themselves demonized by Hollywood, and it’s happened again with the release of a new horror film about a deranged orphan girl called, Orphan. Why is it that the least of these are so easily preyed upon by those who should protect them? Guest host Dr. Russell Moore discusses the blessings, challenges, and necessity of adopting with guest Jedd Medefind, Executive Director of Christian Alliance for Orphans.”


  • Matthew Staton

    I didn’t even think of that when I saw the poster for the movie a while back. I just assumed I wouldn’t see it since I almost never watch horror-ish movies. It is right to speak up for orphans and widows. Pick on somebody else, Hollywood!

  • B

    Hollywood picks on everyone. Take stepmoms for example.. stepmoms are forever the evil witch, stupid, very young, slutty, etc etc… but are very rarely portrayed in a positive light even though most stepmoms are nice people. It’s just the way it is. It’s a movie.

  • Matthew Staton

    “Hollywood picks on everyone.”


    Julia Roberts in “Pelican Brief” and “Erin Brockovich.” Tom Cruise in “The Firm.” Russell Crowe in “The Insider.” The list would stretch for miles but when are environmentalists, labor or whistle-blower characters not sympathetic? When is a Bible-reading preacher sympathetic? Do this: picture a scene in your mind where the camera keeps cutting from a preacher in garb reading his Bible and a boy knocking at his door – when would a mainstream movie NOT have this as a prelude to that boy being terribly exploited in some way?

    In American cinema, I notice that there are some character types who are almost always evil and some who are almost always sympathetic characters. Industrial moguls, preachers, clowns, and add to this incomplete list orphans and stepmoms – these are always on the bad list. Good list (partial): environmentalists, free-love hippies, labor, journalists, etc.

    Of course, Hollywood is Hollywood. Movie-makers have always been out to make a buck, since the first Edison-invented moving pictures flickered to life. But movie-makers have both biases and influence. The stereotypes communicate their biases and influence others.

  • Lorilyn Roberts

    Why Are Americans So Afraid of Orphans? Why do the marketers of the movie “Orphan” think it will scare people?

    In this country alone there are over 500,000 children in the foster care system. Worldwide, the U.N. estimates there are more than 145 million orphans. To put this into a number easier to understand, my oldest daughter, Manisha, now 18, was adopted from Nepal when she was three. The estimated population of Nepal is around 28 million. That means there are over four times as many orphans in the world as there are people in her native country.

    Expressed another way, the population of the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of July 21, 2009, is 306,969,874. That means the number of orphans in the world equals half the population of our country.

    If the word “orphan” is searched on Google today, the first two listings are for the movie “Orphan.” What a lost opportunity to speak the truth in love! The Wikipedia definition is third: “An orphan is a child permanently bereaved of its parents.”

    The real horror is not that the movie portrays orphans as monsters. It’s the number of children that will be hurt by this disturbing message. The movie “Orphan” is only going to reinforce in the hearts and minds of individuals that orphans are damaged goods at best, monsters at worse.

    Those who have thought about adopting may have second thoughts, plagued with fears and doubts. Children and teenagers who have been adopted and hear about or see the movie might be tempted to question their own self‑worth or value. Orphans who might have been adopted may not be because of the ill‑conceived notion, perpetuated by this movie, that they are “bad.”

    “Orphan” is a sad commentary on Hollywood, our society, and a tragic statement of the culture we live in. A world where money is the bottom line and sensationalism tickles the ears of gullible listeners—let it not be at the expense of those who are the least fortunate. Instead, as in the words of flight director, Gene Kranz, as portrayed in the movie “Apollo 13,” when everyone doubted that the space program would be able to bring those doomed astronauts home, he stood up and said, “With all due respect, sir, I believe this is gonna be our finest hour.”

    I challenge every American, particularly those who are Christians, to look beyond the movie at the real horror—the little one who has no one to call mommy or daddy; the baby who goes to bed at night with a protruding, empty belly; the 145 million children around the world who, through no fault of their own, have lost their parents to AIDS, malnutrition, poverty, and violence.

    Although all orphans have needs, some more than others, they are not monsters. They are children with beating hearts, sticky fingers, and minds full of unleashed potential. They just need to be given a chance. They are children made in the image of Christ and loved by the heavenly Father.

    Rather than attacking the movie, let’s join together and rewrite the script of “Orphan.” Give an orphan a chance to worship in our church and synagogue. Invite one to sit down at the dinner table. Help all of them to be educated in schools. Let us change the negative image of an orphan one life at a time. Let us encourage them to dream big dreams and become everything God created them to be. Most of all, let us show the world that they are loved, just as Christ loved us.

    If it were not for God’s unconditional love, we would all be orphans. If we unite, we can send a far different message to Hollywood. We can speak for those little ones that sit in overcrowded orphanages and wait. And hope.

    Through God’s love, let us love until we feel their pain. Only then can we make a difference. Let us not let Hollywood have the last word. Truly, we can become the hand of God as we touch one of His own. Let it begin with me. Orphans Deserve Better. Let this be “our finest hour.”

  • Dani

    This movie is about a 30 year old crazy woman! people should at least see the movie before they judge it, this isn’t about a “real” orphan or a child.

  • Lorilyn Roberts

    I am glad that “Orphan” isn’t about a real child. I probably would have less of an issue if Warner Brothers had given the movie a different name. The title “Orphan” gives a preconceived notion of what the movie is about. To connect the content of this movie with the word “Orphan” implies an association that sends a very negative message. I would not allow my ten year old to see it and my 18 year old doesn’t want to. It’s too disturbing, even though it’s not a “real” orphan. I was adopted as a child and with two adopted children, it saddens me that people would find this kind of movie entertaining. Perhaps for me it touches at the core of what God did for all of us. Adoption is just too beautiful a thing to denigrate in this way.

  • dr.rabech

    i am married since 2 years and i have no children, i was thinking about adopting , but the first thing my husband said to me after seeing the movie “orphan” , i dont want to adopt any more , and it is for real that he is now thinking about mybe an adopted child will be trouble maker in our life , maybe we should try harder to have our own child and remove the idea of adopting from our minds

    it is a problem that orphan children are the weaker part of this issue , they wait for results without being able to do anything..

  • Chad

    Geez, people. It’s a movie! How often are movies, especially horror films, a reflection of real life?! Someone’s considering giving up on adoption because lf this movie?! Wow. That’s like never swimming in the ocean because of “Jaws,” or never taking a shower in a hotel because of “Psycho,” or steering clear of the Midwest because of “Twister.” It’s entertainment, people. If you don’t like it and/or aren’t entertained by the notion, don’t watch it. The “all or nothing” mentality is getting REALLY old amongst Christians.

  • Lorilyn Roberts

    There are people that won’t go in the ocean because of “Jaws,” and there are people that were profoundly affected by the movie “Psycho.” While some people will walk away from this movie and call it entertainment, others won’t. They will be profoundly hit by what this movie is saying. People are all different and affected emotionally in different ways by different things. I think as Christians we should consider our weaker brother in all instances, and realize that it’s not a matter of “all or nothing,” but a sensitivity to what hurts and bothers each one of us. I am a scuba diver and have swam with sharks, but that doesn’t mean I will ridicule someone else that is afraid of the ocean and its creatures for whatever the reason. Instead, I can have compassion. God can change hearts and emotions and brings each child to us that we were meant to have — His love is greater than this movie. Perfect love cast out fear.

  • Chad

    All good points, Lorilyn. I’m intrigued by you saying you wouldn’t ridicule someone else that is afraid of the ocean even though you’ve swam with sharks. Very good thought. Now, didn’t this whole thing start because someone felt the need to ridicule a movie that many people will find entertaining? Do you see the hypocrisy in that? If you’re not going to ridicule someone for being afraid of the ocean, then why is it okay for Russell Moore to “take on ‘Orphan'” and ridicule people for seeing this movie?!

    I just got home from seeing “Orphan.” It was more entertaining than I thought it’d be, and had a plot twist that no one could have seen coming. I highly doubt Russell Moore saw this movie. It’s not about stereotyping orphans or giving them a bad name. It’s about one particularly deranged orphan. But yet again, certain people in the Chrisian community feel it’s their duty to take on anything they don’t agree with. Let he without sin cast the first stone, Mr. Russell.

  • Lorilyn Roberts

    I believe in the American system of jurisprudence –free market and letting people make their own choices. If people are willing to pay their hard-earned money to see this move, that is up to them. I don’t think any less of you because you enjoyed it. I wouldn’t think any more of you if you didn’t see it. It’s a non-issue to me whether people see it or not. What is important to me is that I speak out for those that can’t speak for themselves. There are 145 million orphans in the world. God can use everything to bring Him glory and I am praying that “Orphan” will do that. As a media professional, I have always been amazed at how God brings redemption out of horror. You make a good point in your comment that it is about “one particularly deranged orphan.” Let’s hope your point hits home. In the meantime, the real orphans in the world wait and languish for love.

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