Thursday, January 29, 2004


I really cannot believe the furore about the upcoming Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ". It is being slammed because it portrays the Jews of Christ’s day as his killers. But that is exactly what the New Testament has said for 2,000 years. Read chapters 22 and 23 of Luke’s Gospel if you doubt it. The Roman governor said, “I find no fault in this man” (Luke 23:4). I am in general solidly sympathetic with the Anti-Defamation League but how can one more retelling of the basic Christian story do harm? It’s a story that every kid who has ever been to Sunday School already knows. I think the ADL would have been much wiser to reserve its fire for the real enemy of Judaism -- Islam. Here is one view of what is going on:

“An arrogant gang of so-called scholars and journalists is conducting a very public crucifixion of Mel Gibson for daring to make his new film, "The Passion of the Christ," and it's about time that the motives behind their attempt to destroy him were examined.

To begin at the beginning, after being alerted to the film by Gibson's appearance on the Bill O'Reilly show and by a sleazy New York Times magazine smear of Gibson's father, a group falsely depicting itself as an official arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) got its hands on a shooting script of the film, then in the first stages of production in Italy, and charged that it was a historically flawed work that would promote anti-Semitism.

Unreported was the real motive behind the complaint: This group of Catholic and Jewish revisionists doesn't think very highly of the New Testament, which the Roman Catholic Church for 2,000 years has insisted was inspired by the Holy Spirit and is therefore, as other Christian churches agree, unerrant.

Based on these scholars' own historical research, which simply contradicts the most basic tenets of Christianity, they charge that the New Testament is based on the prejudices of the apostles and rigged by their successors. One of them even claimed that the Gospel accounts of Christ's passion and death were written to curry favor with the Romans – the same Romans who returned the favor by gleefully executing many of them.

After their first attacks on the film based on their perusal of a stolen, rough, shooting script were met by the rejoinder that the film, then simply titled "The Passion," is solidly based on the Four Gospels and is therefore factual, the critics charged that the Gospels themselves can be construed as anti-Semitic and therefore any script based on them can be expected to stir up anti-Semitism among viewers.

To put it simply, these revisionist scholars are telling the world that the Gospels can't be trusted and, by implication, that the biblical story of Christ's passion and death is at the very least partially fictional because it is slanted in favor of the Romans and, in their warped opinions, historically inaccurate.”

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