– by Lourieke Haller

A while ago more than 15 Israeli youths dressed up as clowns and had to be detained and cautioned by the police in a crackdown on youngsters scaring the public; amongst them was a 13 year old boy, dressed up as Dracula, armed with a knife. This phenomenon is part of an international trend that is gathering momentum and is inspired by the horror movie, It. The movie is based on a Stephen King novel featuring an evil entity, “It”, as the main character. He manifests as Pennywise the Dancing Clown that hides in the sewer to prey on children. Not only could these fake clowns be a real threat to the public if terrorists or criminals disguise themselves as the frightening clown, but the teenagers in disguise could be mistaken for a credible threat and can get killed or hurt themselves. Unfortunately this has also reared its head here. Even before the movie was released, I read a local newspaper article where a grandmother proudly joked about her grandson who, as a seven-year-old, liked to scare his little friends as the evil clown of the 1990 video version of the movie. The article details how she helped her 15-year-old grandson to disguise himself as the scary modern version of the clown in the new It movie. The article concluded with a description of three children that started to cry hysterically when the teenager walked into a shop.

It is not an option, it is a command
It is truly concerning when adults think this is funny and are no longer protecting the innocence of childhood. Perhaps this grandmother really only sees this as innocent fun, but as adults we set the course for the next generation. We must pass on the baton of social values, spiritual discipline, and the moral code to live by to the next generation. When parents condone and encourage behaviour that is not godly, or if we neglect to equip our children spiritually, we are failing dismally in raising a godly generation that will in turn teach their children to love and honour God and live as children of the light in a dark world (Ephesians 5:8). Equipping our children spiritually is not an option, it is a command. 

You are engaged in a spiritual battle
The devil is a real and true adversary, he prowls around seeking whomever to devour. We do not have to look for a demon behind every bush, but you enter a spiritual battle the moment you become a Christian – whether you want to or not. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” – Ephesians 6:11-13.  You are engaged as a soldier – with or without your armour. Rather be prepared than an easy target. It is all too easy to live as if the spiritual battle does not exist, but even as you read, satan is at work. “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” – Ephesians 2:2. The Bible encourages us to not give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).

Be the gatekeeper for you family
Internationally known church leader, author, and cultural commentator, Larry Tomczak, with 44 years of ministry experience, recently wrote the following regarding the things parents allow their children to be exposed to: “The time has come for parents to receive a proverbial “slap upside the head” (in love, of course) regarding their role in guiding their children’s entertainment intake. The welfare of our children is at stake and it’s imperative that we take serious this sacred responsibility. Are we paying attention to the coarseness, perversity, and profanity that has become so commonplace in our culture? And are we being extremely careful to monitor what’s coming through the eye gate into our children’s heads? Too many, sad to say, are letting their guard down and getting sloppy, lazy or simply too busy.”

Helpful resources for parents
Be vigilant. Be alert and aware as to what your children are watching. Make sure that nothing enters through the gates of their eyes that can pollute their spirit. If you are unsure of the suitability of a DVD or movie, you can visit www.dove.org, which offers reviews based on Christian values. Also visit www.kidsinmind.com which offers great suggestions for wholesome movies that children can watch. 

What do movie ratings mean in SA?

  • A (All-ages ): Content suitable for all.
  • PG (Parental guidance): Parental guidance is advisable
  • 7-9PG (Not suitable for children under the age of 7): Children from the ages of 7 to 9s must be accompanied by an adult.
  • 10 (Not suitable for children under the age of 10)
  • 10-12 PG (Not suitable for children under the age of 10): Children from the ages of 10 to 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • 13 (Not suitable for children under the age of 13)
  • 16 (Not suitable for persons under the age of 16 )
  • 18 ( Not suitable for persons under 18)

The following symbols are mandatory consumer advice to help you ascertain the suitability of the content:

  • D: Alcohol or substance abuse
  • H: Horror scenes
  • L: Swearing
  • N: Nudity
  • P: Prejudiced with regard to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.
  • S: Sex
  • SV: Sexual violence
  • V: Violence
  • B: Blasphemy
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