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Mel Gibson’s Passion

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Two nights ago Mel Gibson was interviewed by Diane Sawyer on ABC’s “Primetime” about his new movie the ‘Passion’, scheduled to open Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25th. Mel has received an incredible amount of flak for his new movie including accusations of anti-semitism and misrepresenting the gospels – allegations that he flatly refutes.

    Abraham Foxman, U.S. director of the Anti-Defamation League, is urging the Vatican to instruct Catholics around the world that the film is an artistic work and not the Catholic Church’s sanctioned gospel.

    “It’s Mel Gibson’s version of the gospel, it’s Mel’s gospel. He’s entitled, but he’s promoting it as the gospel truth,” Foxman told Reuters Television Tuesday.

    “He’s promoting it as biblical, historical truth and I believe the Church has a responsibility to its teachings, its interpretation, and this is at variance with what the Church is all about.” Foxman believes the film is not anti-Semitic. But he says since it portrays Jews as “bloodthirsty and vengeful,” it “has the potential to fuel anti-Semitism.”

Mel’s answer to critics’ fears the movie’s depiction of the Jewish role in the death of Jesus could encourage anti-Semitism was that he simply did his best to interpret the Gospels.

    “Critics who have a problem with me don’t really have a problem with me in this film,” he said. “They have a problem with the four Gospels. That’s where their problem is.”

    Gibson told Diane Sawyer for ABC’s “Primetime” that the film is not anti-Semitic because “to be anti-Semitic is a sin.” “It’s been condemned by one Papal Council after another. To be anti-Semitic is to be un-Christian, and I’m not”.

Mel went on to allay accusations of holocaust denial by saying:

    “Do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenseless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do; absolutely,” he says. “It was an atrocity of monumental proportion.”

    Asked if the Holocaust represented a “particular kind of evil,” he tells Sawyer it did, but adds, “Why do you need me to tell you? It’s like, it’s obvious. They’re killed because of who and what they are. Is that not evil enough?”

I was struck by Mel’s honesty and humility when he confided of the time he hit his lowest point 13 years ago:

    Gibson said ultimately he was moved to depict Jesus’ sacrifice on film after reaching “the height of spiritual bankruptcy” himself more than a decade ago. Things got so bad that he says he once contemplated hurling himself out a window.

    Instead, he turned to the Bible. “I think I just hit my knees,” Gibson says. “I just said, ‘Help.’ You know? And then, I began to meditate on it, and that’s in the Gospel. I read all those again. I remember reading bits of them when I was younger.”

    “Pain is the precursor to change, which is great. That’s the good news. I just didn’t want to go on,” he told Sawyer. “I was looking down thinking, ‘Man, this is just easier this way,’ “. You have to be mad, you have to be insane, to despair in that way. But that is the height of spiritual bankruptcy. There’s nothing left.” The “spiritual bankruptcy” led him to reexamine Christianity, and ultimately to create The Passion of the Christ — “my vision … with God’s help” of the final hours in the life of Jesus.

    When Sawyer asked Gibson who he believed killed Jesus, Gibson replied: “The big answer is, we all did. I’ll be the first in the culpability stakes here.” In fact it was Mel’s own left hand that is shown holding the nail driven into Christ’s body.

    “I don’t want people to make it about the blame game,” Gibson added. “It’s about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. That’s what this film is about. It’s about Christ’s sacrifice.”

All of the flak hurled at Mel is a classic case of blaming the messenger. But then again most of the prophets were stoned to death. If the “Passion” is too real for some then perhaps that is good. Sometimes we need to be taken out of our comfort zone. Torture and death is not a pretty thing and from a believer’s view the portrayal of Christ’s sacrifice can never be too real. I certainly have a lot more respect for Mel after seeing the interview. To use his own money to fund the project and express his faith in tinsel town took one heck of a lot of guts.

This post and other fine reading also appeared at BlogBloke.com

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  • Tom

    Informative post. I intend to watch the movie, and then make my mind up then. Right now I think it’s just all hot air aimed at Mel.

  • The Theory

    The only I can criticize Gibson on is calling it historically accurate, when it’s more Biblically accurate. And it’ll be interesting to see, really, how closely it does match with the Bible.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    All surrounding hoopla and the attendant
    Media circus aside,I feel like this will
    be just another of those “tempest in a teapot” situations like Scorese’s “Last Temptation” turned out to be.As I’ve yet
    to see it,I can’t honestly say.As far as
    “Biblical Accuracy” goes,seeing how the
    bible has been written and re-written so
    many times since it’s inception to what
    degree is accuracy really going to be a
    factor here? Curious.

  • Everything is politics right now. I came across the discussion of Mel Gibson’s movie Passion of Christ. Some argue it’s anti-semitic. Now John Kerry is Jewish. The movie is said to be very intense and anti- Semitic and set to be a huge box office success. I was wondering if Dean and Edwards see the movie as a deus ex machina, that’s going to destroy the Kerry candidacy and that’s what they were waiting for and not so much Kerry’s intern problem.

  • Gerald Ball

    “Asked if the Holocaust represented a ‘particular kind of evil,’ he tells Sawyer it did, but adds, ‘Why do you need me to tell you? It’s like, it’s obvious. They’re killed because of who and what they are. Is that not evil enough?'”

    I wonder why none of these Marxists, socialists, communists, statists, and other liberals are ever asked if Stalin, Mao Tse – Tung, Ho Chi Minh, and all of these other leftist butchers represent a special kind of evil. And even that isn’t fair … Mel Gibson and other mainstream conservatives and evangelicals never state any sort of loyalty to Hitler or fascism of any kind, unlike a lot of the Lenin, Trotsky, Castro, and Mao fans in the MAINSTREAM left. Furthermore, Hitler was a socialist and statist and an atheist, not any sort of conservative. Instead of holding today’s conservatives and fundamentalist Christians and traditionalist Catholics responsible for the Holocaust, they need to hold people who support the ever increasing power of the state. Gun control? Hitler implemented it. Social Security? Hitler implemented it. Living wage? Hitler implemented it. Secular state? Hitler implemented it. Price controls and corporate regulations and higher taxes? Hitler implemented it. Government takeover of private property? Hitler implemented it. Jobs programs? Hitler implemented it. Racial quotas? Hitler implemented it. Sure, Hitler co – opted some of the right wing’s agenda too, including anti – immigrant and “family values” stuff. But ultimately Hitler was a power hungry statist no different from Mao, Stalin, etc.

  • Shark

    ~~~~~~Spoiler Alert~~~~~~~~

    It’s just like the book!

    Jesus dies in the end.

    Comes back after 3 days.

  • Shark

    I don’t wanna throw water on the party, but the ultimate REVIEW of Mel Gibson’s Passioncame when the star and the Assistant Director were struck by lightning on the set.

    I’d say that’s a pretty clear “Two Thumbs Down” from the original author.

    I’m not making this up.

  • Shark

    re: Gerald Ball’s crescendo paragraph/blood pressure raiser:

    WAAAAAY down at the end, there’s a tiny caveat:

    “…Sure, Hitler co – opted some of the right wing’s agenda too, including anti – immigrant and “family values” stuff.”

    Nuff said, bro.

  • Shark

    BTW: another tidbit of interesting historical perspective coupled with irony:

    You know that ‘repetitious question and answer’ speech technique you used so articulately?

    Hitler implemented it.

  • Gerald Ball


    I don’t want to blame the modern left for Hitler, but you must admit that certain people using Hitler as a club to bash modern right wingers, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, etc. is immoral. And the people who to this day glorify Marxist thugs are dancing on the graves of the tens of millions of people murdered by those “progressive revolutionaries.” The only reason why Hitler has been elevated to special status is the left seeks to demonize him while claiming that their mass murderers on the left that they had posters of in college are OK. They make movies like Reds and Frida that give favorable portrayals of Stalinists, and they get nominated for Academy Awards. If there has EVER been a movie that positively portrayed a Nazi, it most certainly wouldn’t get anywhere near an Oscar.

    And by the way … if the people struck by lightning survived and ultimately emerged unhurt and none the worse for wear, don’t be so sure that it was a thumbs down … some might interpret it as a miracle!

  • The movie’s electric.

    Apparently there was a great deal of energy on the set.

    There’s plenty of ways to spin lightning strikes to be COOL.

  • Red

    I think that what’s being overlooked here is the Bible itself. Don’t pass judgment on it unless you’ve read it. I’m not saying you haven’t, but if you haven’t, then don’t talk about something you don’t know about. I’m not saying the Bible is true, but if you’re going to complain about the anti-semitism you need to know the facts of the original book first. In the original book, the Romans were guilty of killing Jesus as much as the Jews, and according to Christian theology no one is more guilty than anyone else of crucifying Christ. So, among Christians who at least understand that concept, there shouldn’t be talk of anti-semitism. Also, whatever gave you the idea that the Holocaust and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” have anything to do with each other? If “The Passion” causes the inhumane death of six million Jews and a World War, call me (assuming the phone lines haven’t been bombed) and tell me I’m wrong. I’ll be in my bunker.

    As far as Gibson being struck by lightning, I don’t know. I’m not going to make a decision on what I think of that until I know more.

  • Red

    Oops, I think what I just said was the whole point of the post. Big oversight…

  • bhw

    Also, whatever gave you the idea that the Holocaust and Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” have anything to do with each other?

    I believe it’s because Gibson’s father has gone on record as not believing in the Holocaust. Some people are saying the movie has anti-Semitic overtones [or, perhaps, outright anti-Semitism], so I guess the whole issue of anti-Semitism is raised by those two points.

    Sawyer seems to have given Gibson the chance to distance himself from his father’s point of view and to chime in on the anti-Semitism accusations.

    But nobody knows nuttin’ until they’ve seen the movie and studied ancient languages, ’cause ain’t none of it in English.

  • Gerald, Mel Gibson is associated with Opus Dei. That is far from mainstream Christianity. Furthermore, he and his cohort have not done themselves any favors by:

    *Excluding Jews from the preview audiences, and

    *Claiming the Pope endorsed the film, which does not appear to be true.

    I don’t believe the notion Gibson is being hassled is supported by the facts. It seems to me the important thing to remember is that he feels compelled to match the movie to his extreme Right Wing political views. It is he who is giving support to the claim he is anti-Semitic and a liar.

  • Chris Kent

    By most accounts, the film is extraordinarily violent, showing in unblinking detail the prolonged torture, humiliation and eventually murder of Jesus Christ. It is an uncomfortable film, and will leave viewers stunned and spent. The fear from the Jewish community is that by showing this kind of torture heaped upon Jesus will cause resentment towards the Jews. Such a film as “The Passion of the Christ” could not have been made 20 years ago, and even today would have been difficult if not for the considerable clout Mel Gibson has in the filmmaking community.

    Is Mel Gibson conservative? Absolutely. In fact, his politics and religous beliefs are so right wing as to be almost antiquated. And what is most uncomfortable about this film is that a man with such conservative beliefs and values, and questionable talent, has made a film with such profound themes and ramifications. He has used his considerable Hollywood clout to take on a subject matter which frankly, is beyond is intellectual depth or talent.

  • Shark

    ~ shameless plug warning ~

    For anyone interested in my final word on Mel Gibson’s Passion, I refer you to a piece from a few weeks ago.

    Shark’s Passion Fruit

  • Shark

    Mr. Ball: “…but you must admit that certain people using Hitler as a club to bash modern right wingers, evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, etc. is immoral.”

    I think throwing “Hitler” around in just about any conversation tends to stifle any rational analysis.

    Re. your specific Q: I don’t ‘hear’ many people using Hitler to bash anybody, but I don’t leave the house that often.

    But I’ll give you this: I think some lefties tossed the “holocaust denier” label on Mel Gibson unfairly. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Gibson without resorting to Pavlovian low blows. (The Patriot and Beyond Thunderdome were reason enough to administer the death penalty to the guy, imo)

    Ball’s Flashback: “…the reason Hitler has been elevated to special status is the left seeks to demonize him while claiming that their mass murderers on the left that they had posters of in college are OK.”


    College posters!? Maybe in 1968. (You must leave the house less than I do.) College posters today are more likely to depict pictures of Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson— which I happen think is EVEN more dangerous.

    Not too many people on the left or right will defend mass murders from ANY historical figure. At least not any whose IQ is above that of a banana slug.

    Jeesus, Ball, your problem, (and one I sorta share), is that YOU CAN’T GET YOUR HISTORY LESSONS FROM HOLLYWOOD. –which most Americans do. It’s not a matter of leftist propaganda, it’s a matter of pleasing the lowest common denominator in a 90 minute, three-act story with good potential for tie-in toys at McDonalds.

    Ball: “If there has EVER been a movie that positively portrayed a Nazi, it most certainly wouldn’t get anywhere near an Oscar.

    I’d vote for Leni Riefenstahl.

  • Shark

    BTW: Although plenty of media types have jumped on the Passion bandwagon, (and NOT for any idealogical or political reasons, but because IT SELLS their alleged “NEWS” shows) I think it necessary to point out that DIANE SAWYER is one of the worst, most despicable media whores in the business. She is an EMOTIONAL PORNOGRAPHER on the level of that other bride of Satan, Katie Couric.

    ANYONE who wants to ‘stay informed’ by watching either of these two pimps hawking their emo-porno only deserves the distorted view of the world that they get.

    whew. I feel better now.

    PS: re. “hyperbole” — yeah, yeah, i know…

  • Eric Olsen

    Das Boot was not unsympathetic to German submarine crewmen.

  • Shark

    Eric: Das Boot was not unsympathetic to German submarine crewmen.

    Don’t forget Hogan’s Heroes!

  • Eric Olsen

    I assume you are being facetious, but HH DID portray Germans as people rather than as monsters, and as in real life, the further you went up the chain of command, the less human they became.

    Hogan’s Heroes has a very strange place in popular culture and I’m still not sure what the final verdict will be.

  • Shark

    Hogan’s Heroes has a very strange place in popular culture and I’m still not sure what the final verdict will be.

    Not many POWs from the European theater were too thrilled about it. But (sadly) they’re almost all gone, so it’s safe to assume that THE ONLY bad 60s TV show not yet resurrected for the big screen will eventually get a green light.

    Can you imagine the casting!?

    The Governor of California as *Colonel Klink?!

    *laugh, but I’ll gaurantee somebody has already pitched it.

  • JR

    The Governor of California as Colonel Klink?!

    Nowadays he’s starting to look more like Sargent Schultz.

  • andy

    The Theory, if the film is Biblically accurate, will it not too be historically accurate? I don’t think there are many historians on the planet who would say these events(the existance of Christ and His crucifiction) happened.

    As far as anti-semitism….

    History is history. Tell it like it is. I’m sure if it was anti-semetic, then a Jewish actress who’s parents were holocaust survivors wouldn’t have taken the roll she took in the film.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    Since someone mentioned Hogan’s Heroes:Did ya know
    that the 1st(arguably the best)”Ilsa:She Wolf Of The SS” movie was shot on the same set as Hogan’s

  • BB

    Editors Note:

    “*Claiming the Pope endorsed the film, which does not appear to be true.”

    That is NOT true and in fact Mel made it very clear in his interview the rumour mill was ambiguous in this respect.

    “*Excluding Jews from the preview audiences”…

    To my knowledge Mel has denied this allegation as well.

    Great discussion everybody, but the Hogan’s Heroes stuff???

    Carry on..

  • Gibson and company’s exclusion of Jews from the viewing of the film and the falsehood about papal endorsement have been well-authenticated. The NYT (front page stories) and other major media have been highlighting the story for weeks. However, the source of this propaganda, which totally omits the most important issues in the controversy would not be aware of that.

    Two words are key to understanding what is going on here: Opus Dei. Once one gets OD, the pieces fall in place. (I will be posting an entry on the controversy that focuses on Opus Dei on my blog later today.)

    Chris Kent, if you are going to say anything that shows you are a person who actually researches material before making entries at Blogcritics, you are going to be sniped at. Get used to it. Post your entry about this topic if you like.

  • Chris Kent

    Mac Diva, you’ve got me confused with the 136 other blogcritics taking continuous shots at you…..

    You will not draw me into that labyrinthian web so easily. I know what I have to say interests you…..you want sources, just e-mail me…..no need to pull my hair like an elementary school child on the blacktop….

  • Gerald Ball

    Mac Diva:

    “It seems to me the important thing to remember is that he feels compelled to match the movie to his extreme Right Wing political views.”

    And you say that about conservative Mel Gibson? What, you mean that the 99% hard leftist contingent in Hollywood don’t pack their views in their movies? How do you think we feel when we have to sit through American Beauty? The Cider House Rules? The Quiet American? The Color Purple (if you are a black male, let alone conservative … and that also applies to The Cider House Rules)? The Hours? Anything by Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Penny Marshall, Oliver Stone, or Martin Scorcese? Even so – called “mainstream” movies push a hard core left agenda. Cases in point: Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” … Christians and atheists bad, witches good! His remake of Planet Of The Apes? Ditto, including having Tim Roth’s fascist ape character quote Barry Goldwater. The Matrix? An intro to Marxism, complete with Rage Against The Machine on the soundrack.

    The funny thing is that Mel Gibson has throughout his career had no problem making movies that very much go along with Hollywood’s radical left politics. He was in “What Women Want” for goodness sakes! If Mel Gibson was the hate filled bigoted fascist that people are making him out to be, would he have made 4 movies with a black Marxist like Danny Glover (who denounces America but praises Cuba … but you notice which one he ACTUALLY LIVES IN right)?

    At least Gibson has a basis for his movie. I sure would like to know what the basis is for all of these Stalin and Mao Tse – Tung and Ho Chi Minh hugging movies is. Sure, let’s make a movie about two Stalinist Mexican painters and not make any mention of the 20 million people that Stalin killed! Right …

  • Shark

    Ball: “…let’s make a movie about two Stalinist Mexican painters and not make any mention of the 20 million people that Stalin killed!”

    Diego is dipping his brush in the blood of a dead Mexican aristocrat.
    Frida is finishing off her breakfast, a bowl of Wheaties covered in peyote buttons. She starts taking her clothes off in front of a mirror, while a small monkey mounts her shoulder and begins to sing the theme song for the Soviet Red Army

    Diego: “Frida, dear, as we start to join the Communist party here in 1922, do you think we should reconsider, since a few years from now, Stalin will kill some 20 million people in the name of our beloved Socialism—and some fanatic on Blogciritics will link us to those atrocities?”

    Frida: “What, I’m a fuckin’ psychic? Besides, Diego, I’m sleeping with Trotsky, who opposes Stalin and his methods. Surely that future blogger will recognize that we had no ties to Stalin or his victims?”

    Diego: “I don’t think so. Anyway, I’m going out to paint a mural that glorifies the poor starving working class underdogs throughout Mexico. I wonder what Che Guevara will look like…”

  • Shark

    Hey Gerald, a serious question:

    What movies do you like? ie. what movies fit your perception of history, ideology, historical/political accuracy, or whatever criteria drives that over-stimulated brain of yours?

    I’m serious here.

    I think it might be educational for all of us, and besides, my NetFlix list is getting rather low and I could use some recommendations.

    a fellow movie fan,

    PS: Please don’t say “The Green Berets” w/John Wayne. I love John, but that thing was a train wreck.

  • BB

    Editors Note:

    It is unfair to politicize this movie given the context of Mr Gibson’s interview. He has satisfactorily quelled the nay sayers and if anything can be concluded is that he is a sincere person and made it strictly for spiritual purposes. But then again there will always be conspirasists who will insist on twisting and maligning anything relating to spiritual or religious issues.

  • Gerald Ball


    “and some fanatic on Blogciritics will link us to those atrocities?”

    If I am a fanatic, then what does that make the Mel Gibson = Holocaust denier who will incite pogroms with his Jews faction? Sorry, but Hollywood and the academy so revel in radical politics that it makes you wonder why they get so touchy when reminded of it.

    If they ever make a movie about W.E.B. Du Bois, I wonder if they will talk about how he joined the Communist Party and visited China as Mao Tse – Tung’s honored guest. This was in the 1960s when Stalin’s genocide and Tse – Tung’s crimes against humanity were well known. Ditto Paul Robeson, who when confronted with the bad facts of the Stalin regime (he visited Russia at the invitation of their government and came back raving about it) pretty much demurred. Now, I wonder if Robeson and Du Bois would be such icons and heroes had they chosen to champion the vision Hitler, Mussolini, and Pinochet instead of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, etc.

    If I seem a bit obsessed with the Cold War, keep in mind that I am only bringing it up in context of those who call Gibson a Holocaust denier.

    Mac Diva:

    On Mel Gibson excluding Jews from his movie … he excluded a lot of people, not just Jews. He only invited audiences that he knew would be sympathetic. There aren’t going to be very many Jews sympathetic to a movie about Jesus unless it is a movie depicting the “new Jesus”, the radical progressive philosopher who died for his political beliefs (essentially turning Jesus into Socrates) who somehow was a threat to Roman rule and was killed because of it … although no one ever explains HOW and WHY Jesus was a seditious threat (or a threat of any sort) to Rome … we are supposed to, you know, just accept it without asking questions.

  • bhw

    Uh, what did happen to the Roman Empire, anyway?

  • Shark

    “It is unfair to politicize this movie…”

    Hey BB (Editor)

    I don’t wanna split hairs here, BUT:

    1) …the Bible and Christianity have been the dominating political foundation in Western history for almost 2000 years;

    2) (for Mr. Ball) …the motivating factor behind more BLOODSHED and MURDER than Hitler, Stalin, and the rest of his pantheon of 20th century “leftist” murderers/pop poster boys COMBINED.

    3) In an era when religious fanatics fly airplanes into American landmarks, blow up buildings, and threaten the peace and stability of the world, debating the political and social implications of yet another marketing campaign for *somebody’s idea of God is probably a healthy thing.

    *’If everybody’s right, everybody’s wrong; but who’ll be left standing: Islam or Christianity?”


  • Shark

    MR. BALL, tell ya what:

    I’ll write a script where I show W.E.B. Du Bois joining the Communist Party and visited China as Mao Tse – Tung’s honored guest.

    And you write a script where DONALD RUMSFELD visits Saddam Hussein, smiles and shakes hands for the cameras. Extra points if you portray how the U.S. put Syria, Libya, and Iraq on a list of terrorist states and show *Dick Cheney cashing a check written on their bank accounts.


    Extra-double bonus if you show Dick and Lynn Cheney having dinner with their good friend, Prince Bandar the TERRORIST financier/Ambassador from Saudia Arabia.

    See, two can play the fanatic game!

    huff… huff.. more… coffee…

  • BB

    Sharky – you’re a rascal you are!!!

    Perhaps I should have edited out the word “religion” and left only the word “spiritual”. There is a huge difference.

    I should have known better than to try and slip that by you. I stand corrected and I thank you kind sir for pointing that out. Now please stop splitting hairs because my flat top is already thin enough.

  • Shark


    …no one ever explains HOW and WHY Jesus was a seditious threat (or a threat of any sort) to Rome …

    FACT: Rome ruled as an army of occupation.

    FACT: They were on thin ice with the local population.

    FACT: The last thing they needed was a ‘messiah” or any sort of unapproved ad hoc Jewish leader.

    FACT: THERE WAS A MAJOR UPRISING about 30 years later, y’know, when they burned the temple?


    Anyway, when debating Jesus as historical fact, I feel like I’m debating about whether the Easter bunny is white or brown.

  • BB

    Whew is right!

    Shark, that is a loaded question every pseudo theologian under the sun has attempted to answer. It would be impossible to even attempt to answer that question within the confines of this medium.

    In those days, more so than now, religion and politics were inseparable. The bottom line is Jesus upset the status quo as far as the Jews and Romans were concerned.

    Need any more be said?

  • Shark

    My opinion (after 30 years as an amateur biblical scholar) is that JC probably pissed off the Sadducees and Pharisees more than he pissed off the Romans. He advocated a more ‘individual/personal’ experience w/God, ie. a personal gnosis (experiential knowledge), which tended to marginalize the people at the top who held the ‘keys’ to the kingdom (and got all the cool benefits).

    So I guess my version of the Passion wouldn’t exactly be embraced by the Jewish community currently protesting Gibson’s movie.

    Wow. I think I just flopped sides in a matter of hours.

    Mark yer calendars, folks!

  • I believe that Jesus was a threat to the status quo, period — everyone in power or who aspired to power. That is why so many factions were complicit in his death. The problem is singling out Jews as the reason for Jesus’ death. That I consider to be anti-Semitic.

  • Red

    What about “singling out” Serbians for the assassination of the Austrian archduke? It’s not singling out when they were the ones who did it anyway. Not saying that’s the case with the Jews, the Romans had a big part too, but food for thought.

  • BB

    Editors Note:

    I trained for the ministry once upon a time. And as a trained mediator I say we make the culpability on a 50% equal basis for both parties to the crime. That way nobody can cry discimination so we can focus on the more important issue – that being the crucifixion of Christ and what it means for mankind.

  • bhw

    I thought the more important issue was Mel Gibson’s movie and his “passion” for it.

    ‘Cause I don’t know that BC is the place you’d want people to come to see what Jesus’ crucifixion means for mankind.

  • BB

    I was using a little tongue in-cheek to redirect from the futile blame game. And who’s to say what message is relevant for BC. If you read Mel’s interview the message (his message) should be self evident.

  • Shark

    The irony is:

    No matter who did it, the Christians should THANK those responsible for whackin’ JC.

    Without ’em, there wouldn’t be a religion.

  • bhw

    And without that religion, we wouldn’t have all those great things like … oh, never mind.


    For Lent, I shall give up Ice Cream, gluttonous CD purchases, and viewing Ms. Tek’s picture galleries.

  • …viewing Ms. Tek’s picture galleries

    dude, lyin’s a sin! 😉

  • Gerald Ball


    First off, I like my movies to be NONIDEOLOGICAL. Second, lots of people have died in the name of religion? Lots of people have died in the name of a lot of things. If Christians and conservatives must bear collective guilt for the Holocaust, then shouldn’t secularists and leftists bear responsibility for the stuff that leftists did? And you must admit that there is a huge double standard applied to supporters of repressive left wing regimes and those of right wing ones in Hollywood, the media, the academy, etc. Why do you suppose that is? It is something that you must consider when people are throwing all these darts at Mel Gibson.

    It is ironic that these Jewish leaders who are urging that Jews bear no collective responsibility for the death of Jesus have no problem alleging that Christians have collective responsibility for the Holocaust, and in fact claim that we can’t make MOVIES in accordance to OUR FAITH based on it.

    Bottom line: Mel Gibson was not involved in the commission of the Holocaust. Mel Gibson has never been accused (to my knowledge) of commiting violence or discrimination against Jews. So, for people to hang these charges against him just because he made a movie that does not conform to their personal religious beliefs or interests is being exactly what you are accusing Mel Gibson of being: intolerant. Probably 70% of the population in America is fundamentalist, evangelical, or traditionalist Christian and therefore believe that the Gospels are correct to a great degree. Yet, we have less anti – Semitism than any country in the world! Secular and progressive Europe is much more anti – Semitic than America is. It has nothing to do with wanting to protect Jewish people and everything to do with political and religious politics.

    Mac Diva:

    Got a question for you: if Jesus was merely a Socrates rebel, then what makes him a religious figure? Why does anyone care what he says, or care any more than what any other philosopher said or did? Heck, since ANYONE is capable of philosophy, what makes him of any more than anyone else? And Jesus was a threat to the Romans when he SPECIFICALLY urged the Jews NOT to rebel against them but to follow the path of faith and peace? The Romans let Barabbas, a guy who ACTUALLY DID ORGANIZE AND LEAD A JEWISH MILITARY INSURRECTION go in order to eliminate Jesus? So, you let Che Guevara go to execute Ghandi? Or maybe the Romans got rid of Jesus because he urged the Jews to forgive the tax collectors. Except that they were collecting taxes for ROME … Maybe the Romans wanted to get rid of Jesus because he urged that adulteresses not be stoned. Except that adultery was extremely vogue in Rome …
    Sorry, but I cannot understand why Rome would have executed any law abiding Jew other than at the request of the Jewish leaders. And what was the crime Jesus was accused of? Blasphemy. What was blasphemy punishable by according to Jewish law? Death!

    I would like for someone to show me these historical documents concerning Rome’s fear or hatred of Jesus that prove that the accounts in the Gospels are false.

  • BB

    Shark and bhw I agree with your cynicism about religion. It has been the cause of far too much violence and desruction throughout history. Like I said religion and politics went hand in hand. The fact is past rulers used religion as a tool to rule over their subjects towards their own ends. Religion is an outward ritual as opposed to spirituality which is inward reflection and penitence. Mel has made a spritual message that is beyond religion and politics.

    “I don’t want people to make it about the blame game,” Gibson added. “It’s about faith, hope, love and forgiveness. That’s what this film is about. It’s about Christ’s sacrifice.”

    That is Mel’s message, his passion.

  • Part of what is at issue in the controversies about “The Passion” is a simple-minded, Sunday school perspective on who Christ was and how and why he died versus more complex views favored by most theologians and broader minded people. Gibson and his Opus Dei cronies are pushing the Sunday school version, which breaks complicated relationships down into guys in white hats versus guys in black hats (guess what group?) because it fits their beliefs and is an easy sell. Simple is always an easy sell compared to complex. The harm the movie is likely to do is not in anti-Semitic riots in Des Moines and Pasadena. It will be in giving what appears to be support of the Roman Catholic Church to the belief Jews, period, were responsible for the death of Christ. That contradicts the Church’s 1965 announcement. So, with the Pope possibly too weak to understand what is going on, a reversal, on the popular level, is occuring. The ramifications may well last long.

    I’ve written a primer of a couple of the controversies surrounding “The Passion” at Mac-a-ro-nies. The link to an authority on Opus Dei offers good insight into what the group is about.

  • BB

    Hmmm, so let us carry this “simple” theory a little bit further shall we? The greatest thinker that ever lived – namely one Albert Einstein believed in a ‘simple’ universal theory that would be all encompassing of all theories. Even today scientists are still pursuing this goal and believe they may have found it with the ‘string’ theory. But that is still being debated.

    So what is wrong with simple? The simplest of ideas are the most profound. Think about it. But if you wish to “complicate” the matter that is your prerogative so by all means – enjoy!

  • Shark

    Mr. Ball,

    1) Like what non-idealogical movies? I’m curious. ‘Cause judging from your view of American culture, Santa Claus could represent a Big Brother welfare socialist homosexual agenda and the rest of us wouldn’t know it. (everyone gets toys without earning them, he lives under the same roof with dozens of men who wear tights, etc)

    2) I’ve already stated that the Holocaust denier label for Gibson was ridiculous.

    3) re: …there is a huge double standard applied to…repressive left wing regimes and those of right wing ones in Hollywood, the media, the academy, etc. Why do you suppose that is?

    More drama? Easier to cast? How about nobody wants to cheer for the rich powerful pigs, but we all love a poor helpless underdog?

    (Lemme see, should we make the evil usurper King John the hero? Or should we give it to *Robin Hood, forest dweller, protector of the poor, and a dashing dude as well?)

    *Whoops! Hate to bring up one of those Left-Wing Propaganda Heroes you hate so much. Sorry.

    4) re. “…Jewish leaders who are urging that Jews bear no collective responsibility for the death of Jesus have no problem alleging… Christians have collective responsibility for the Holocaust…”

    Straw man, Gerald.

    I don’t hear too many mainstream Jews alleging Christians have a ‘collective’ responsibility for the holocaust. That’s ridiculous. (Man, your brush is bigger than mine, and that’s sayin’ something!) Apparently, I don’t attend the same “meetings” as you do, Mr. Ball.

    5) re: “Probably 70% of the population in America is fundamentalist, evangelical, or traditionalist Christian…

    Uh huh, sure, except on Sunday, that same 70% aren’t at church; they’re at home sucking down beer, watching football, and lusting for some pre-teen with pompoms and implants. And I can count on ONE HAND the number of Americans, ESPECIALLY RICH REPUBLICANS, who practice and believe:

    “It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”




  • BB


    “It is easier to find men who will volunteer to die, than to find those who are willing to endure pain with patience.”
    — Julius Caesar

    ~~ nudge, nudge, wink, wink ~~

  • duane

    Well, BB says, “So what is wrong with simple? The simplest of ideas are the most profound,” and cites Einstein as the “greatest thinker that ever lived.” First, that title would belong to Aristotle, although Einstein was arguably the greatest physicist of the 20th century. Newton is generally credited with being the greatest scientist (of any stripe) of all time. But this is quibbling, of course, since it doesn’t really change your point. But the problem is that Nature is “simple,” whereas human behavior, psychology, sociology is complex to the point of being often entirely unpredictable. Virtually all historic events are ultimately founded upon a bewildering mix of causes. There is usually (usually, I say) no interpretation that is simultaneously simple and comprehensive.

  • BB

    Sorry duane, you’re wrong (except for the “quibbling” part) but entitled to your opinion of course :-). Perhaps you are not aware of the big bang theory. If that isn’t complex from the simple then what is??? Christ spoke in simple parables to make the most profound statements. The most profound of speakers learned to say much with few words. We humans have a nasty habit of making the simplest matters complex all in the name of pseudo intellectualism, but if that makes you feel superior then more power to you.

  • BB

    Case in point:

    There is a “bewildering” number of people on this earth of differing colors, cultures, religions, sizes, shapes, opinions, etc., etc., etc. BUT the bottom line is we all eat, poop, love, hate, breath and die. For all our differences we are still the same and share basic commonalities when it comes down to it don’t we? That is my point sir.

  • BB

    But then again, we are digressing from Mel’s message aren’t we?

  • duane

    Perhaps I missed your point in the first place, BB. Weren’t you addressing Mac Diva’s post #53, which relates primarily to history? Your point concerning parables and profundity seems to be on a different tangent altogether. Also, are you saying that I’m wrong when comparing the simplicity of Nature to the complexity of human behavior? Finally, why do you imply that I am after feelings of superiority? Where did that come from? And finally finally, do you admit into the realm of possibilities that there are people here who are not aware of the Big Bang theory? That’s like saying, “Perhaps you are not aware that the Earth is not flat.” Or was this more of a rhetorical device. I’m sure I could tell you a thing or two about the Big Bang theory. Thank you. (Smiley face here)

  • BB

    Peace bro :-). I think we are both getting off on tangents here. I meant no disrespect but I had the distinct impression that you were the one dissing yours truly. And yes, my reference was to #53 dissing of Mel’s interpretation of scripture as being simplistic. Now I’m really confused!!!

  • duane

    It’s cool, BB. I thought I was respectfully disagreeing with you, but now I’m not sure. Let’s skip it. It’s a bit off the topic anyway. We’ll have a nice friendly argument somewhere else in the future.

  • BB

    Cool, and I affirm the word “friendly” 🙂

  • BB

    Shark. I don’t know what TV programming you have but Dateline NBC has a show right now that addresses much of your questions – re: comment #39

  • Shark


    I missed that. I don’t do much TV ’cause I’m a… a….

    …a reader.

    There. ~Now I’ve said it.


    Anyway, I can’t handle those “history of western civilization in the next 60 minutes in between commercials” thingies.

    I’m a linear chronological typographical kinda guy…

    —plus: smash cuts and handheld shots make me dizzy.

  • Shark

    The Passion is gonna be the biggest thing since Titanic. It should send millions back to the Church— at least for a day or two.

    Yesterday, I got this huge, very slick/expensive 4-color mailer for The Passion— it’s playing at a local church and Shark was invited! Seriously.

    (They must have gotten my name from the FBI’s list of potential troublemakers in the Church of the Latter Day Frisbeeites. We bought a place outside of Waco, Texas, and started accumulating a huge inventory of frisbees—which attracted a lot of attention locally.)

  • BB

    I agree with your review of TV shows that try to consolidate a life’s history in 60 minutes or less (not including commercials). They also tend to invite so-called ‘experts’ opinions that can be beyond the fringe of sensibility. Nevertheless (if I may be so bold as attempt to sum up), according to Dateline NBC the prevailing theory for Jesus’ being a threat to society was that He had entered into Jerusalem with a throng of supporters that had given Him a King’s welcome.

    With His new ideas about the Kingdom of God there was a very good possibility of riots. Big Chief Priest Caiaphas‘ job was on the line because if he couldn’t keep the peace then he would have been standing in line at the unemployment office forthwith. So they had to put a lid on Jesus at all costs – hence the late night secret trials. They also attempted to answer the question who was to blame for killing Jesus. That is a very quick synopsis of the proceedings mind you and I’m certain the movie will be far more in depth and entertaining.