Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Executive Director, Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., offers his insight on the state of religion and government in the US.
The following program is sponsored by evangelical life ministries.
Welcome to Liberty alert with Gregory selves, sponsored by our friends at the Lutheran center for religious Liberty here in Washington, DC, a program that cuts through the chaos and confusion in the culture today by talking to kingdom, citizenship, old biblical principles for a robust public Christian life. And now your host, Dr. Gregory sells
Good day, good day, Washington DC. I'm Gregory. Seltz welcome to our program. The Liberty
Alert where every week we
Try to cut through the noise and take on the issues, especially the public issues that matter to people of faith. And that's what I want to talk about today. Um, people ask me all the time, are there Christians in, in DC? It's kind of the same kind of question as are there Christians in Hollywood, that type of thing? Well, they're all over the place, but we've to some degree, been brow beaten into thinking that our voice doesn't matter. And I think that's the point we, we fight for religious Liberty. Why? So we can have a voice in solving the problems that are in our culture today. And very often, uh, politics is not gonna solve these problems. That's what I wanna bring on a guy named Gary Hall from Hollywood impact studios, good friend. He's doing an organization now in retirement called Hollywood impact studio. That's really making a difference in the lives of people who have great, great needs.
We need more of that. So today we're, we're gonna be talking about faith in Hollywood. Well, actually not really that actually, it's gonna be talking about freedom, uh, free people, motivated by their faith, making a difference. And that's why I think it's my privilege. And, and honor to have on the program, Gary Hall, the founder of Hollywood impact studios, just to give you a little bit of an invite, uh, invitation into who this guy is. He's, he's been a writer and producer in television written and produced for 21 jump street, the, a team in a variety of shows. And when I met him, he was senior vice president, uh, heading up post production for 20th century Fox involved with my favorite show back in the day, 24 bones, Homeland, the Simpsons and, and in retirement, he and his wife co-founded Hollywood impact studios because they still wanted to make a difference, uh, through the medium of entertainment and also his work as an LA sheriff. Welcome, Gary. It it's again, fun to talk to you on the program.
Thank you, Greg. I really appreciate this opportunity. Gotta clarify one thing. Cause it's it's rivalry. Uh, it's Los Angeles police department.
Oh, oh, oh, oh yeah. Okay. That was
Off. That's like UCLA USC.
I won't forget. I won't forget. Well, listen again, you know, we're a religious Liberty organization in Washington DC. And so we talk about, uh, making sure that the public square is, is, is protected for ministries, like what you're doing. And that's what I wanted to talk to you about today, because really we do this work in DC because we believe that free people motivated by their faith, speak in the truth in love, serving their neighbor. We believe that's where the solutions really are gonna come. That it's not gonna come from Washington. It's not gonna come from public policy. They're just like the backstop. They try to keep the rules fair. The rest of us gotta mix it up and, and get involved in. That's why I love your vision of Hollywood impact studio. Do you wanna talk about your vision first of all, and a little bit about who you are, because then I wanna tell people about where I think this, this, uh, this is going in a great direction and I think it's something that will challenge all of us to service.
Sure. I'm gonna actually start, um, back up a little bit, um, in my career at 20th century Fox television, um, I didn't hide my faith. I didn't hide that. I was a Christian. Um, many people on different shows knew that they would, uh, often my, I always had an open door policy. People would come in there's, there's a lot more Christians than people might think in Hollywood and we really need even more. Right. Um, the it's it's it's we need more light in Hollywood, right. So people would come in and they'd go, Hey, I've got this problem with just family or whatnot. Hey, could we pray or whatnot? So, um, I really tried to share my faith, uh, even within that environment.
Can I stop you right there
Too? Sure, sure,
Sure. Because that's when I met you and we were trying to bring this, you were actually trying to bring, this is the life, the Lutheran program back to TV, and I was gonna be the announcer. And I remember being in a meeting where everyone kind of was quiet, cuz everyone was a little bit nervous. And then the meeting exploded because everyone realized they were Christians. And I thought, wow, you know, people don't realize how many people are there are in, in new, whether it's New York, Washington, DC, there's a lot of Christians and we've just gotta find a way to make sure that our voice is in the public square. And there's gonna obviously be challenges to that. But that's what I loved about you because I saw that in action, especially in that meeting, go ahead.help inner city kids, but in:rd,:
Well, and let me jump into when we, when we were recording that this is the life intros and exits at the very end. I remember when we, when we broke for, you know, we finally did it at to 10 30 at night. And then so some of the guys had to get back to the jail because a lot of the guys that were, they were Manning the, uh, all kinds of, uh, whether it was cameras and all kinds of things. They, they were still in that process. And I remember a couple of the guys talking to me once and, and they were saying like, man, we love what you're saying. So you were, you were touching their hearts, not just giving them skillsets for recidivism issues and things like that. And I was so enamored with that. I said, man, what a great thing. Well, Hollywood impact now is taking that to another level. Correct?
Correct. Um, by the way, I do wanna, uh, do a reminisce a second on that, on that day, that was a very long day. You were quite a trooper on it. Uh, and, and, and I appreciate it. And it was also nice for our guys to actually meet a real pastor, a real man, a regular guy that they could relate to, they could talk to
I had a blast.
So we ahead continued. Okay, go on. Sorry. No,
No, goAhead. I was gonna say in:
Well. And the other thing too. Uh, so I, I, that's a, and I want to talk about why I think at the end, why I think this is the thing that we need more of, whether it's getting involved in foster care, whether it's getting it out in these issues as a church and as a people, but you're also trying to produce good programming too. Right,
Well, you know what, it's, it's funny, it's, it's kind of all over the map. Uh, I would say mainstream Hollywood doesn't particularly care about sharing the gospel sure. With the exception that if it does well, uh, for instance, the Bible series that was produced on the history channel, beat everything out there, everything on network television, and they saw, wow, there really is a need out there, uh, passion of the Christ, as you know, uh, I mean, did really well at the box office. And just since sometimes
Since producing another one, but also just family friendly programming, moral virtuous programming,
I would say that's probably the biggest struggle because so much of Hollywood, they want to quote unquote push the envelope as they say. Um, and some of the shows quite honestly, that I worked on, I was not, um, real happy about, but that wasn't my job to green light. It was to get 'em produced and get 'em on, on television. But, um, I think that's really kind of our desire at Hollywood impact at some point is to begin to produce family friendly content, not necessarily Christian, but with a biblical worldview. And I will give you an example, we're right now trying to pitch a show to, and we're hoping Magnolia network, I I'm, I don't know if that's gonna happen or not. Uh, but to pitch a show on what we're doing called miracle mountain up there at miracle mountain and a show to be counter, to locked up, locked up a broad, scared, straight, nothing wrong with any of those shows.
Uh, but they, they look at inmates in a different light than I want to. I, I think I wanna show the hope, uh, that can be offered and that these guys are just like anybody else. So we're trying to put something together, uh, like that. And I was asked by one of the, uh, developers, will it be a Christian series? And I said, well, not exactly, but it will be again, when these guys find priced and accept them, they talk about him as if he were right there, standing next to them. Right. So it is it's real to them. Um, they've come so far and they've seen how Christ has, has helped them and brought them out of that past life that they talk about it just in normal conversation. So, um, well,
The kinda programming.
Yeah. And that's the, the second thing, because, you know, when you talk about your work in law enforcement and how it morphed into this service through, through your work, uh, in, in, um, entertainment and that kind of thing, it reminded me of the cane redemption and Angola. You know, in fact, when you go to the museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, they actually in the museum of the Bible, they have a cell from, from Angola that's built there and it was the same thing. He, you know, they, they, he said, I don't wanna just educate criminals. I want to bring something in that can change their life. So he brought a seminary into the prison and you could actually earn the right to go to seminary. So guys started reading the Bible, you know, Hey, if I'm gonna do something, I'm gonna do something well, these guys then change the whole prison and the whole prison system in Louisiana. And it's now working in Texas. And again, I went down to two Angola, it's a maximum security prison and everything that you're talking about
In there twice.
Yeah. And everything you're talking about is, is a real thing there. And it went from being the bloodiest prison in America to a place where it's like, it kind of is like Mayberry RFD behind the bars. I mean, when you think about it,
Will tell you for instance, in the Sheriff's department and I'm, um, even though I just made the thing about LAPD, the Sheriff's department has been very generous to us and very supportive us.s a riot at LA county jail in:
Well, um, you know, for me, the struggle I have with my work on the hill is when I see people who see what you're doing and then still want to thwart it, you know, that's what happened in the foster care stuff in Philadelphia, where they just Willy nilly because the, you know, the Catholic service social services believes in marriage. They just wanted to wipe out their a hundred year ministry. And it didn't matter what happened to those kids in the foster system. And I struggle a little bit with what I call the empowerment issue versus the dependence issue. And you'd be surprised at how many politicians don't want empowerment. They want dependence mm-hmm
Though. Well, and, and so again, for some of the people that are listening in, um, and like I said, these things are organic. They, they happen when they happen. In fact, the time when I met you, you know, it was amazing to me that we had this resource called this is the life. And I still don't think our church really, truly appreciates the value of that, of that. And mm-hmm
Yes. Um, it's on every, and so I, I love what you're doing. I hope and pray that that comes to fruition because, you know, I'm looking at what's going on. You talked about the passion of the Christ. You talked about pure flick. You talked about all these different things, the chosen now that's, that's now using crowdfunding, I think, to resource itself. Mm-hmm
Um, yeah. Where our website is pretty simple. It's Hollywood impact [email protected] Okay. Um, I do wanna just say one thing on Hollywood impact studios, which maybe people will figure out or not. When we were coming up with the name, um, I, I had written out Hollywood on top and then impact under it. And then I went entertainment. No, no, no productions. How about studios? Mm-hmm
Well, I invite people to go to that as well. And, you know, I'm, I'm working with some guys that are writing novels and things like that, you know, and I always think about bringing these things to movie. In fact, a friend of mine, he was just down at NRB. In fact, we'll be at NRB next year. So I hope I get to see you, but he's write, he wrote a book and it's called Jesus Lord of the legends. And I thought that, you know, cuz with all this DC comic stuff that's out there and how it's kind of creating a whole different view of, of this here comes here, comes this. And I even think things like, uh, Harry Potter there, there's still written there there's a backdrop to that that has kind of Christian salvation narrative mm-hmm
And I think we can reclaim that with some good writing and some good, uh, movies and some good television shows and the like, uh, I just, it was a privilege to get to know you and to see how you're trying to accomplish that. And I wanted to bring you back. I wanted to bring what you're doing to our audience because I do believe sometimes we think that solving the politics of this, we will solve the issue. And I keep saying to people, no, no, no. If we solve the political stuff or at least keep it at in its proper place, then we have to be doing stuff like what Gary Hall is doing and what Cindy, what they're doing with Hollywood impact. And I think that's why this is so great. In fact, I will say it this way. Um, politics, it's like, uh, we wrote a Mo we bunch of mom and pop papers to try to make it simple.
And one of 'em is the referee the game, no one wants to play when the referees play the game. You know? So, you know, if you watch basketball, we're in March madness. If you watch basketball and the refs are play, literally every play is determined by the refs. You turn the TV off, you don't wanna play in that game. Well, so that's the politics. You just want the refs to do their job, but now I wanna develop a team that really plays the game, you know, for all it's worth. And that's the kind of stuff I think you're doing.
I, I hope so. That is, that is our goal, um, is to produce content that's family friendly, that's got biblical values, uh, and good quite, quite honestly good entertainment. Yeah. Um, as well.
Well, you know, I was just watching I'll close on this cuz I was just watching a documentary on, I love Lucy and uh, and it, it was about it. Wasn't something about her. It was just taking clips from her and Desi and I thought it was really well done. Mm-hmm
Exactly. That type of entertainment, even from a business standpoint makes sense.
Well, Gary has been a privilege to have you on the program today. And uh, I look forward to talking more about this stuff in the future, especially maybe down the line. I, I, I would love to see something come to fruition and maybe we can do something together again, cuz it was fun. The day we spent. All right. It was have a
Great day. Thank you Greg.
You too. Thanks for tuning in today to get to know our LCR L DC work better. Check out our [email protected] contain. There are resources to empower your public square dynamic discipleship or check out our weekly word from the center opinion piece every Friday at facebook.com/l C R L freedom till next time. God bless you. Always I'm Greg rece have a great week.
You've been listening to Liberty alert with Dr. Gregory Seltz executive director of the Lutheran center for religious Liberty in Washington, DC. This program has been brought to you by the Lutheran center for religious Liberty.
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