Skip to comments.Passion Bashing: A Major Case of Media Hypocrisy
Posted on 02/06/2004 10:24:22 AM PST by nickcarraway
The controversy swirling around Mel Gibsons The Passion of the Christ is a well-documented and often repeated tune. We have all heard the claims and accusations regarding this motion picture. Led by biased journalists, sensationalist media, and hypocritical political, social, religious, and entertainment organizations, the anti-Passion forces are gearing for an all-out assault on this masterpiece.
Personal Smear Campaigns and Distorted History
With only weeks to go before the movies Ash Wednesday release on the 25th of this month, we must ask ourselves what these groups are so afraid of. As we draw nearer to the moment of release, it becomes clearer that the release will also be a moment of truth. Therein lies the true fear of the anti-Passion forces. It is a fear of truth!
Syndicated columnist and television host Bill OReilly has called the attacks on Gibson nothing less than a personal smear campaign. Gibson is portrayed by some as a deviant, bloodthirsty anti-Semite when his words, work, and associates belie such accusations. Biased journalists and sensationalist media sources have constructed an inaccurate and flimsy argument chain to push their negative portrayals of Gibson and his agenda. First, his accusers argue that the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church was plainly anti-Semitic. Second, they declare that Vatican II repudiated this prior anti-Semitic stance of the Church. Third, they note that Gibson disagrees with many of Vatican IIs reforms and declarations. Fourth, they therefore reason that Gibson disagrees with supposed Vatican II reforms regarding anti-Semitism and so agrees with prior anti-Semitic views and ideas. Fifth, they argue this logic to declare Gibson anti-Semitic or an anti-Semitic sympathizer. Lastly, they propose that The Passion of the Christ is anti-Semitic given its content and the beliefs and position of its creator.
These shameless journalists have carefully built a tower of cards against Gibson and his movie, but this tower can be blown away with ease by accurate history and responsible reporting. First, The Catechism of the Council of Trent and the writings of such popes as Calixtus II, Gregory X, Eugene IV, Alexander IV, and Clement V clearly show the position denouncing the notion that the Jews should be held accountable for Christs death. These writings agree with St. Paul that the Jews acted in ignorance of Christs true identity as the Messiah. All argue that we are all responsible for Christs death through our sins and daily denials of His sacrifice for us. Cardinal Bea has argued that the chief causes of anti-Semitism are more national, political, psychological, social or economic than religious. Also, no pre-Vatican II catechism teaches hatred of the Jews and no Vatican II document repudiates prior treatment of the Jews. Sure, as in any organization, there have been members who differ from the Churchs official position on matters, but it is not fair to portray these minority views as those of the entire Church.
Since the pre-Vatican II Church was plainly not anti-Semitic and Vatican II therefore did not need to repudiate such beliefs, the fact that Gibson disagrees with parts of Vatican II has nothing to do with positions regarding the Jews. Stripped of this pathetic logic chain, the only basis on which to accuse Gibson of being anti-Semitic would be the content of the movie itself.
Colored Lenses and Hypocrisy
Jack Valenti, the head of the Motion Picture Association, has praised The Passion of the Christ as a compelling work of art and wonders what all the fuss is about. The vast majority of people who have seen this movie have declared it to be a moving, poignant, and transcendental experience and certainly not anti-Semitic in any way. Not only is the movie faithful to Scripture, but there is evidence that Gibson actually removed certain accurate elements in the interest of avoiding anti-Semitic issues. Given all these positive evaluations of the film, we might indeed echo Mr. Valentis question, What is all the fuss about?
In working toward an answer to this question, we look to Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of Toward Tradition, a national organization that seeks to foster Judeo-Christian relations. Rabbi Lapin points to three weaknesses in these anti-Semitic claims against The Passion. First, Lapin points out that most Jewish organizations ignore the wrongs done to other faiths while loudly deploring the wrongs done to Jews. In fact, they typically cry free speech while ignoring or even contributing to such wrongs. Second, Rabbi Lapin notes that it is wrong to blame present Christians or Jews for the wrongs of past Christians or Jews. Lapin points out that much of this anti-Semitic rhetoric is founded on just such unfair and destructive blaming of present groups for the wrongs of their ancestors. Finally, Lapin reminds us that anti-Semitic claims only pad the wallets of these organizations or boost the careers of those Jewish journalists who pretend to be so disturbed by the events. Lapin concludes that we should be seeking to build unity through appreciation and fairness rather than allowing greedy organizations and parasitic journalists to benefit from disunity.
Motion pictures about Martin Luther, the Gospel of John, and the temptations of Christ carry much more evidence of anti-Semitism, inaccuracy, or just plain disrespect of Christian beliefs, yet they were not and have not been subjected to the kind of scrutiny and debate that Gibsons motion picture has. Museum exhibits of the Blessed Mother spattered with dung, scandalizing Mother Theresa, or showing the Crucifix in urine are defended as art entitled to free speech protection. The author of Indecent Proposal finds Gibsons movie disturbing because it leaves nothing to the imagination! Members of an industry, which created American Pie, Booty Call, and The Chainsaw Massacre, debate if The Passion of the Christ is inappropriate, extreme, or too violent! It is clear that such heights of hypocrisy can only be reached through the energy of hidden agendas and pre-existing biases.
Unmasking the Real Agendas
Hidden behind these cries of anti-Semitism are three very real agendas against Mel Gibsons movie. First, The Passion of the Christ stirs the anti-religion passions and biases of the liberal media and elite. The last thing many of these people want to do is give the time of day to serious, reverent portrayals of a subject which they so detest or wish to ignore. Second, according to Rabbi Lapin, this movie is not bankrolled or connected to Jewish financial concerns or media types and therefore is a fair and easy target, which can be attacked for other gains without harming Jewish concerns. Last, while Gibson is still quite popular, he has always had detractors who dislike him because of his strong religious and moral convictions so contrary to Hollywoods general flow.
It is time for the biased hypocrites, the ignorant, greedy journalists, and the parasites of political spin to put down their swords and put their free speech values where their mouths are. It is time for those who wantonly offend under the guise of freedom to allow that freedom when they are the ones offended. It is time to put down banners, wallets, and double standards long enough to truly give art a chance to express its power. Let the moment of truth come!
Gabriel Garnica is a licensed attorney and educator with over 20 years teaching experience at the college, business school, and middle-school levels. He has a BA in psychology from St. John's University in New York and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law. Mr. Garnica writes extensively on spiritual and educational issues and conducts seminars on time management, leadership, and personal development.
The Truth shall set you free. But some people want to be slaves.
Link here for theater search by state.
It will be interesting to watch this movie take off.
We have 2 Catholic parishes that are already renting out the theater when it comes here.
I really do believe Satan has a stake in this movie not being seen.
Thank God for that! Eat your heart out biased media, and hypocritical political organizations. We've got Jack Valenti on our side. Furthermore, this movie is going to be a great success, and there is nothing they can do about it.
You're right on the money with your assessment!
Have a great night.
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