Chinese Censorship, Hollywood, and the Love of Money

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File

Two recent events, both locally and nationally, have caused me to reflect on probably the most misquoted verse in the Bible. The misquoted scripture verse comes from 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”


The verse is often incorrectly cited as “Money is the root of all evil.” Money in and of itself is not evil. Money donated for research to a children’s cancer hospital or donated to a family that has lost everything in a house fire is certainly not evil. 

Money and wealth are inert and are used for both good and evil purposes. Money’s purpose is dependent on the person possessing it and their motives for acquiring it and giving it away.

If someone’s moral compass is skewed with motives of greed, they will easily sell out their integrity and dignity for financial gain. I witnessed this locally last week when three members of the St. Louis Board of Alderman were federally indicted on corruption and bribery charges. 

One of the indicted aldermen is the current board president who has held that position for the last 15 years. The other two indicted aldermen were first elected in 2005 and 2017. Both have resigned their offices in disgrace but the board president has instead taken a leave of absence.

What has been the most surprising about this sorry affair, besides the fact these men were put in a position of trust by voters who deemed them honorable by re-electing them election after election, was that they accepted relatively small sums of money for their deceit. 


Each participant in this scheme allegedly netted less than $10,000 which was allotted to them by an FBI informant in $1,000 and $2,500 increments over a two-year period. The lesson here seems to be that avarice has no floor when one’s heart has been darkened by greed. “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

The national event that has caused me to reflect on the “love of money” was the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster movie Top Gun. Prior to the opening of the much-anticipated sequel, controversy erupted when the flags of Taiwan and Japan were removed in previews from Tom Cruise’s iconic bomber jacket. To Top Gun’s credit, they did ultimately put the flags back on Cruise’s jacket but they are only there for a split second before the scene changes. The flags were removed to appease the Chinese government, which considers Taiwan a breakaway republic from mainland China.

For two years in a row, China has surpassed the United States as the largest movie market with $7.4 billion in box office revenuesHollywood has been very careful over the years not to offend the Chinese communist government with overly American themes or with themes the government may find objectionable — like legitimizing the Taiwanese government. Actor John Cena apologized last year, in Mandarin, when he said in an interview that Taiwan was the first country to watch “Fast and Furious 9.”


After doing a little research, I learned that the 2012 remake of the 1984 film “Red Dawn” originally had China as the invading force, but it was changed to North Korea after movie executives feared a potential backlash from the Chinese government. 

Not only is Hollywood fearful of movie censorship but they’re also fearful of their movies being outright banned in China. They are also fearful of losing funding for their movies from Chinese investors. Top Gun Maverick originally had a Chinese investor but they pulled out because the movie had “pro-U.S. messages.”   “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

There are other examples of American companies kowtowing to Beijing while chasing the almighty dollar. Companies such as Disney who self censor their movies only because they would like to put a theme park in China one day.  

Or the NBA general manager who apologized in 2019 for tweeting: “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong.”  NBA stars Lebron James and James Hardy incredibly apologized to China for the tweet with Harden tweeting, “We love China.” 

Lebron said in a 2014 GQ interview that being a billionaire is his “biggest milestone.” Lebron certainly won’t let a little thing like China’s human rights abuses get in the way of selling overpriced shoes — made in sweatshops mind you — to the largest consumer market in the world! “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”


It saddens me deeply to see influential Americans and American companies selling out their integrity for their love of money. That love of money is propping up an immoral regime that is also America’s economic and military enemy. The Soviet Union was doomed to ultimately fail because of its moribund economic system which was no match for our capitalist system.

In an effort spanning over 30 years to open Chinese society and give their people freedom, we have made our enemy rich while greedy Americans and American companies sell out our American values and institutions. Sad. “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”


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