Rarely are real messages and true Christian values pushed to the forefront in American cinema, but ‘42, The True Story of an American Legend’ presents Jackie Robinson as a morally sound man, grounded in his beliefs and supported by spiritual people.
While Jackie does not profess any type of faith in the script, he is surrounded by those who express God’s word in this new movie by Legendary Film and Warner Brothers. In addition, Robinson reveals his moral fiber by marrying his girlfriend, Rachel.
When she responds, “Absolutely!” to Robinson’s proposal, the audience of 700 elementary and junior high students cheered with a unified voice. The students, chaperoned by George Weaver of the Brotherhood Crusade, attended the screening at the Regal Theater on April 11.
Much of the religious doctrine in the movie comes from supporting characters, including Dodger Franchise Owner Branch Rickey who consoles Robinson during a hard game by telling him, “You’re the one living the sermon,” after comparing Robinson to David battling Goliath.
Later in the film, Rickey explains that the reason he pushed for integration of his team, and ultimately the league was because of a moral conundrum that he faced as a young baseball player seeing an exceptional catcher get a bad deal because of his skin tone.
The movie tries hard to present the Caucasian players, the media and baseball executives that ran and surrounded Robinson as upstanding, morally strong people. Although they initially advocated the era’s traditional racism, when shown alternatives such as Robinson’s ‘turn the other cheek’ policy, they gradually changed and accepted this new way of life.
Those characters also make great efforts to explain that if Robinson, or any African-American baseball player who steps up to play with white players, did not have the moral aptitude to resist fighting back, even when attacked both verbally and physically, then the player would not make it playing with white players.
“They won’t see the [first] punch,” said Rickey during the movie, “only the black man’s punch.”
Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer of Faithful Central Bible Church said, “This is a ‘must-see’ for every African American,” and issued a ‘Faith-Based Study Guide’ to help his congregation understand the more subtle aspects of the movie as it relates to religious values.
The guide states, “Though weary, David’s mighty men stood tall (2 Samuel 23:8-17) until the Lord brought great victory. And we are advised in Galatians 6:9 not to grow weary of doing good, ‘for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.’”
For more information on ‘42, The True Story of an American Legend’ or on the study guide, visit 42faith.com.