October 03, 2003

inane controversy over mel gibson's the passion

the anti-defamation league is concerned because mel gibson's film, due out spring 2004, blames jews for the death of jesus christ. the film graphically depicts the last hours of christ's life. [see the trailer]

i haven't seen the film, but i say no jew should worry about this film, or its repercussions. here are my reasons:

1. lately, christians have only been supportive of jews. educated christians understand how illogical it is to hold jews today responsible now for what some of their ancestors did 2000 years ago. jonah goldberg adds,

even if "the Jews" of two millennia ago deserve a share of the blame, so what? If you think it's ludicrous for Americans today to pay reparations for slavery or to hold a German teenager personally responsible for the Holocaust, how much more absurd is it to hold Jews responsible for the actions of a few Jews 20 centuries ago?

the real hatred for jews continues to spew forth from the pesky "religion of peace" not evil, bigoted christianity. check out the LGF "jihad death count" for an up-to-date count of murders committed by radical islam. it is in the right-hand column.

At a time when genuine anti-Semitism is surging among the secularist left—with all of the Western apologists for Islamic radicalism, growing anti-Jewish violence in Europe, and Jews being killed regularly by suicide bombers and other terrorists—Mel Gibson's movie should be the least of the Anti-Defamation League's worries. [source]

2. if one believes that jesus WAS who christians SAY he was, one is probably referring to that record called the bible. said record also blames jews for christ's death. stephen, before himself being killed by some more jews, rebuked them thus:

Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? [your fathers] have slain them [that prophesied] of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers. (my emphasis)

the record in matthew says that pilate reluctantly gave in to the desire of the people (who were jews). their desire was to see christ crucified (from matthew 27: 17-25):

Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas [a notorious robber], or Jesus which is called Christ?
. . . . .
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

so, from the bible, you get the idea that it WAS the jews' fault. i'm not going to argue whether that's true or not, but my point is: that is bible history. and i've known for a long time that the bible implicates the jews in jesus' death. but i've never thought to myself, "jews suck! i'm going to go out and git me one in this here sack!" jews have as much need to fear backlash from gibson's flick as steffi graf has need to worry about backlash from people who watch schindler's list.

as respectfully as i can, i would implore those who disagree with gibson's film to take up their protests with the publishers of bibles.

i formulated the two main points of my post about two or three months ago (before the following articles were written). i say that in defense of my originality. but i recommend them in support of statements.

[link 1]

[link 2]

Posted by travis at October 3, 2003 03:46 PM | TrackBack

Excellent Diabtribe, Travis!

Posted by: James at October 3, 2003 04:22 PM

I love that you referred to me as a Hollywood Movie Critic, because that is indeed one of my side projects Travis!
(On a sad side note I got my press credentials to the Sundance Film Festival just a couple days ago and I'm sad I have to turn them down due to a previous commitment. Free movies are tough turn down.)

The Passion has been stirring up quite a bit of talk in my critics circle. A number of people have wisely decided to let the finished project stand on its own merits.

I did want to quibble on a few of the topics that you raised, merely because I have some insight into the project that you may not have been exposed to yet.

"1.) Lately Christians have only been supportive of Jews..." I wish with all of my heart this was a true statement. I would have thought the same thing. A film critic friend of mine in Philadephia and I were discussing The Passion recently. He is about our age and happens to be Jewish. I asked him what he thought of the hub-bub. He told me of getting beat up every week in elementary school because "You killed Jesus." His 13 year old neice went through similar experiences.
Of course no child should be watching an "R" rated movie (which The Passion will be,) but the attitudes of the parents translate to the children. If parents are unduly influenced by the events in the film and communicate, even in measured tones, children will listen. It is tempting to think of people as more tolerant. Maybe you're tolerant and accepting, but what about the guy in Peoria?

The question is, The Passion is extremely violent in its depictions. Will casual viewers (perhaps those not versed in scripture) pick up on these elements, if only in the subconscious, and blame Jews as bloodthirsty and completely at fault?

Another concern: What is Gibson's Motivation to make this movie? After all, he sunk 25 million of his own cash into this flick. Its clear that he has strong religious feelings. I for one wanted to know what kind of religious tradition Gibson comes from, so I found out:
Gibson's father started an off-shoot of the Catholic church. He broke from the church following a Vatican council in the early 60's. That council specifically apologized to Jews for the treatment they recieved at the hands of Christians and clearly stated that the Vatican position was that the Jews are not to blame in the death of Christ.
Ok then. So that was one of the major reasons that Gibson's family broke from the Catholic Church. That certainly gives me pause as to the true motivations.

I'm loathe to judge any movie before its released or seen. But I don't want to see this one. Not because it might stir up antisemitic feelings that I've been hiding, but because I don't really wish to see that kind of graphic portrayal of the end of the Savior's life on screen. It smacks of exploitation, no matter the intent behind the movie.

But everyone can judge for themselves I suppose.

Posted by: Carina at October 7, 2003 04:43 PM

Oh, and here is a link that gives some pro's, some con's, and just some general info on The Passion.


Posted by: Carina at October 7, 2003 04:47 PM

previous commitment=having a baby

Posted by: Kerri at October 7, 2003 05:00 PM

Thanks Kerri!

Yeah, unlike all the other children that I've carried and then aborted late term (obviously, cause I'm liberal...) I'm actually planning on having this one.

Posted by: Carina at October 7, 2003 05:03 PM

That's Carina being sarcastic.

Posted by: Kerri at October 7, 2003 05:04 PM

i don't think i'll see it, either. the text is graphic enough for me.

and there's GOT to be a better reason to leave the catholic church than that they removed jewish blame for the killing of christ. i can think of some from the news lately...

not funny, i know...

Posted by: travis at October 7, 2003 05:45 PM

I would personally like to say, I think an "unsanitized" version of the crucifixion of Christ is long overdue and I will be paying the price of admission in an attempt to experience what Mel was trying to convey. I'm positive that Mel had no ill will in trying to portray such an important event in history and I don't think it matters whether he's Catholic or not. I wonder if Steven Spielberg were director of this film, instead of Mel G, if it would be under the same intense scrutiny...probably not! In fact, I believe it would be praised for its gritty reality and go to show how bold Spielberg could be (and I love Spielberg flicks!). It would also be used as a tool to personify how the Jewish are presently very different from back then. Too bad for the A.D.L, the flick has been devised and completed by a devout Catholic and is about to be released (2-25-04). However the case may be, I still intend to check this particular flick out in whatever form it becomes available...TRY AND STOP ME A.D.L.

Posted by: Dj. Fuego at November 3, 2003 04:09 PM

It's about time this movie was done. Since 9/11, there has been seeping into the worlds of this great nation a hate that I have never really wanted to see for my childrens sake. People have begun to worship the idol gods of power & money and forgotten what really counts in this world, if they aren't affected in anyway, the people don't want to hear it. At least Mel Gibson believes in what he is doing & is staying true to his course. Many people now of late have became so braindead that nothing matters to them, they would rather be lazy, then believe in something more then themselves. Look into your life before throwing stones and if it is perfect like God, then go ahead, but if you have sinned you will have alot to answer for.

Posted by: Christine at February 4, 2004 09:32 PM

I saw the movie. It definitely serves to remind us of the sacrifice that was made for us which we so often take for granted. I cannot fathom Mel Gibson having created this film for any other purpose, quite frankly

Posted by: Glen at March 12, 2004 10:01 PM