ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Mercy Streets (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 76
CAP Influence Density: 0.48

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme or plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie

"There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


*MERCY STREETS* (PG-13) -- wrought with violence but Scripturally accurate.

Episcopalian Deacon and soon to be ordained Jeremiah (David White) has a twin brother, John (David White) separated from him at the age of 14. John was beat up and thrown off a bridge (not seen) as Jeremiah looked on while in hiding from the same hoods. Under the acidic pressure of self-persecution Jeremiah, believing he could have saved John, tortured himself for years as his brother's murderer. While Jeremiah chose the clergy, John chose crime [Hab. 2:12]. Though this movie is wrought with violence and freckled with a couple other matters of ignominy, it presents Scripturally accurate accountings of God's Grace and how He might move in our lives.

After getting out of prison, John commits to going straight. But in the parking lot awaits Rome (Eric Roberts), a cohort in crime of John's past. Holding things over John's head, Rome convinces John to go for it "one more time" for half a million dollars in a counterfeiting swindle [Prov. 1:10]. In a series of mishaps, the lives of the two brothers again touch. Jeremiah is mistaken for John and becomes wrapped up in doing the right things (attempting to save or protect others) for the wrong reasons (criminal activities). John gets entangled with Jeremiah's girlfriend. And this would be easy to do since there is no superficial difference between the brothers except for a scorpion tattoo. Guess which one has the tattoo? And there is a real treat when John must to stand in Jeremiah's place at the pulpit.

The compatriot in crime with Rome appeared to be as covered with tattoos as Ray Bradbury's "Illustrated Man." Such is definitely not a positive influence. Lev. 19:28 states "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD." We are perplexed regarding Lev 19:28 which speaks of the Lord giving instructions to Moses to share with the Israel people to prohibiting behavior that emulates the pagans. I have no evidence by observing this actor that he was trying to emulate the pagans by making an obvious expression of arrogance or rebellion against rightful dominion and authority. So I cannot justify incorporating this display as a sin in the cap model. The CAP model used to assume all tattoos to be effrontery but how about the sailor who had "Mom" tattooed on his forearm? That is hardly impudence. How about the infantryman who had his girlfriend's name tattooed on his forearm inside a heart with some swirls and a rose or two? If I could have determined whether the tattoos on the actor were displaying evil or hate or sex, etc., I would certainly be justified in incorporating this matter into the model. But no such evidence was given. However, if this actor is saved I doubt there will be any tattoos when he is reunited with his body at the Rapture. But that is speculation, not Scripture. At least you now know about the tattooed man in *Mercy Streets* so you make make you own informed decisions whether it is suitable for you or your kids.

In the front of the show as Jeremiah practices for a sermon on the genealogy of Jesus, his girlfriend Samantha (Cynthia Watros) and his roommate, Tex (Sheik Mahmud-Bey), a city cop, watch on ... until Tex dozes. In respect for the office of pastor Samantha keeps waking Tex as she dutifully attends her boyfriend's sermon. Both Samantha and Tex chime like tubular bells about Jeremiah's sad delivery of a topic if spiritual energy. In his constructive criticism of Jeremiah's delivery, the script writers artfully work in how Jesus saved Tex from a life of crime [Ps. 25:15, Ps. 40:2].

Once Rome realizes that "John" is Jeremiah instead, the topic of God comes up. And a rather long sequence of rationale for questioning and placing the self above God gave me concerns -- concerns that observers who are still confused or are borderline regarding a personal relationship with God may glean false energy or masked and counterfeited justification to favor the evil side in spiritual battles [Gal. 6:7]. While those knowledgeable in the mystery of the Gospel and understanding of the Scriptures will immediately mentally launch counters for every ill-founded point, those who are new to or undecided about His Perfect Word will undoubtedly find merit in the secular argumentation. Isn't that one of the adversary's best tools? Attacking the sick who are vulnerable, not the healed who are protected by the Blood?

Additional ignominy used in this PG-13 (which should have been a PG) were but one instance of sexual nature as a woman's anatomy ghosts through some thin clothing, one instance of drinking (wine), at least six instances of smoking, two uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive, and two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary with several crude expressions. But the list of violent matters [Prov. 3:31] is far too lengthy to summarize and I leave them to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model.


  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Hab. 2:12 Woe to him who builds a city with bloodshed and establishes a town by crime!
  • Prov. 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
  • Ps. 25:15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare.
  • Ps. 40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
  • Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
  • Prov. 3:31 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways,


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Mercy Streets (2000) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • dead body
  • bribing to commit crime
  • roughing up a victim
  • cheating for monetary gain
  • threat with knife to throat
  • planning crime
  • breaking and entering - auto, to commit theft
  • firearm threats, some to face/head
  • attempted murder - firearm
  • car theft
  • chase with firearm
  • beatings
  • torture with noose around neck
  • criminal payoff
  • staged murder
  • abductions
  • brutalizing a woman
  • cruelty to another
  • thefts
  • implication of murder by gunfire
  • appearances of firearms
  • attempted gunfire murder with injury

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • several crude expressions

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • ghosting of female anatomy through thin clothing

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • long sequence of questioning God's omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence: His love for us and His readiness to move in our lives

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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