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I DETEST THIS FILM ..WITH A PASSION [Christopher Hitchens on the Passion of the Christ]
The Mirror ^ | February 27, 2004 | Christopher Hitchens

Posted on 02/27/2004 3:40:31 AM PST by ejdrapes

I DETEST THIS FILM ..WITH A PASSION

A FEW years ago, Mel Gibson got himself into an argument after uttering a series of crude remarks that were hostile to homosexuals.

Now he has made a film that principally appeals to the gay Christian sado-masochistic community: a niche market that hasn't been sufficiently exploited.

If you like seeing handsome young men stripped and tied up and flayed with whips, The Passion Of The Christ is the movie for you.

Some people used to go to Ben-Hur deliberately late, and just watch the chariot race while skipping the boring quasi-Biblical stuff. Alas, that isn't possible with this film.

Along with the protracted torture comes a simple-minded but nonetheless bigoted version of the more questionable bits of the Gospels. It's boring all right - much of the film is excruciatingly tedious - but it also manages to be extraordinarily nasty.

Gibson claims that the Holy Ghost spoke through him in the directing of this movie, and that everything in it is from the Bible. I very much doubt the first claim, and I can safely say that the second one is false.

The Bible does not have an encounter between Jesus and a sort of Satanic succubus figure in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Bible does not have a raven pecking out the eye of one of the crucified thieves. The Bible does not have Judas pursued to his suicide by a horde of supernatural and sinister devil-children.

Moreover, whatever the Bible may say, the Roman authorities in Jerusalem were not minor officials in a Jewish empire, compelled to obey the orders of a gang of bloodthirsty rabbis.

It was Rome that was boss. Indeed, Pontius Pilate was later recalled by the Emperor Tiberius for the extreme brutality with which he treated the Jewish inhabitants (and you had to be quite cruel to get Tiberius to raise his eyebrows).

YET Gibson is evidently obsessed with the Jewish question, and it shows in his film.

It also shows when he's off-screen. Invited by Peggy Noonan - a sympathetic conservative interviewer - in Reader's Digest to say what he thought of the Holocaust, Gibson replied with extreme cold-ness that a lot of people were killed in the Second World War and no doubt some of them were Jews. Shit happens, in other words. He doesn't seem to grasp the point that the war was started by a political party which believed in a Jewish world conspiracy.

He doesn't go as far as his father, who says that the Holocaust story is "mostly fiction" and that there were more Jews at the end of the war than there were at the beginning, but he does say that his old man has "never told me a lie".

And he does say that he bases his film on the visions of the Crucifixion experienced by a 19th-century German nun, Anne-Catherine Emmerich, who believed that the Jews used the blood of Christian children in their Passover rituals. (In case you have forgotten, the setting of the film is the Jewish Passover.)

Yesterday, as the movie opened, a Pentecostal church in Denver, Colorado, put up a big sign on its marquee saying: "Jews Killed The Lord Jesus." Nice going.

In order to keep up this relentless propaganda pressure, Gibson employs the cheap technique of the horror movie director.

Just as you think things can't get any worse, he shoves in a gruesome surprise.

The flogging scene stops, and you think: "Well, that's over." And then the sadistic guards pick up a new kind of flagellating instrument, and start again.

The nails go through the limbs, one by one, and then, for an extra touch, the cross is raised, turned over and dropped face-down with its victim attached, so that the nails can be flattened down on the other side.

The vulg-arity and sensationalism of this would be bad enough if there wasn't a continual accompaniment of jeering, taunting Jews who want more of the same.

The same cynical tactic has been applied to the marketing of the movie.

Gibson is well known to be a member of a Catholic extremist group that rejects the Pope's teachings and denounces the Second Vatican Council (which, among other things, dropped the charge that all Jews were Christ-killers).

He went to some trouble to spread alarm in the Jewish community, which rightly suspected that the film might revive the old religious paranoia.

HE showed the film at the Vatican, and then claimed that the Pope had endorsed it - a claim that the Vatican has flatly denied, but then every little helps.

Then he ran a series of screenings for right-wing fundamentalists only, and refused to show any tapes to anyone who wasn't a religious nut. (It took me ages to get around the ban and get hold of a pirated copy, and I was writing for the Hollywood issue of Vanity Fair.)

Having secured a huge amount of free publicity in this way, and some very lucrative advance block bookings from Christian fundamentalist groups, Gibson now talks self-pityingly about how he has risked his fortune and his career, but doesn't care if he "never works again" because he's done it all for Jesus.

The clear message I get from that is that he'll be boycotted by sinister Hollywood Jews. So it's a win-win for him: big box office or celebrity martyrdom. With any luck, a bit of both. How perfectly nauseating.

In a widely publicised concession, Gibson said that he'd removed the scene where the Jewish mob cries out that it wants the blood of Jesus to descend on the heads of its children's children.

This very questionable episode - it is mentioned in only one of the four gospels - has in fact not been cut. Only the English subtitle has gone. (The film is spoken in Aramaic and Latin, though Roman soldiers actually spoke a dialect of Greek.)

So when the film is later shown, in Russia and Poland, say, or Egypt and Syria, there will be a ready-made propaganda vehicle for those who fancy a bit of torture and murder, with a heavy dose of Jew-baiting thrown in.

Gibson knows very well that this will happen, and he'll be raking it in from exactly those foreign rights to the film.

So my advice is this. Do not go.

Leave it to the sickoes who like this sort of thing, and don't fill the pockets of the sicko who made it.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: christopherhitchens; closethomo; hehatesmotherteresa; homotendencies; morfordlover; moviereview; thepassion
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1 posted on 02/27/2004 3:40:32 AM PST by ejdrapes
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
>If you like seeing handsome young men stripped and tied up and flayed with whips, The Passion Of The Christ is the movie for you.

Lord, forgive them. They know not what they say. They know not what they do.

Just damn.

If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

2 posted on 02/27/2004 3:43:53 AM PST by mhking
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To: ejdrapes
Ick, what a miserable individual he must be.
3 posted on 02/27/2004 3:44:06 AM PST by ovrtaxt (I'll start watching NASCAR when they start running figure 8s.)
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To: mhking
Sheesh,

It is starting to look like anyone who thinks they are someone have something to say about this movie.

I have no desire to hear what these no-bodies have to say.
4 posted on 02/27/2004 3:45:01 AM PST by Neets (In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts.)
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To: ejdrapes

Hahahahahaha. Mel stuck it to Hitchens --- made Hitchens sick. GOOD.
5 posted on 02/27/2004 3:45:04 AM PST by onyx (Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.)
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To: ejdrapes
Oh, boy! Here we go!
6 posted on 02/27/2004 3:45:08 AM PST by leadpenny (What happens if you get scared half to death twice?)
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To: ejdrapes
What else would one of the other great faith, communism say.
7 posted on 02/27/2004 3:45:14 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: ejdrapes
Wow. And to think I used to think there was hope for Hitchens. Too bad, he's just sunk to the bottom of the pile.

Qwinn
8 posted on 02/27/2004 3:45:18 AM PST by Qwinn
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To: ejdrapes
If you like seeing handsome young men stripped and tied up and flayed with whips, The Passion Of The Christ is the movie for you.

That can't be right. Andrew Sullivan is already on the record as hating the film, as well. :)

9 posted on 02/27/2004 3:46:36 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle (I feel more and more like a revolted Charlton Heston, witnessing ape society for the very first time)
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To: ejdrapes
I learned one thing, though. I didn't know they spoke Aramaic and Latin in Poland and Russia.
10 posted on 02/27/2004 3:47:32 AM PST by PaulJ
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To: ovrtaxt
He is nobody's fool. He describes himself as a liberal who hates the Clintons.

Now, I'll read what he has to say.
11 posted on 02/27/2004 3:47:38 AM PST by leadpenny (What happens if you get scared half to death twice?)
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To: ejdrapes
movies like Kill Bill, Fight Club etal are praised for their 'poetic' use of violence... now comes a toned down version of the most significant event in human history and it's branded as 'pornography' by the left ... the chasm between right and wrong,the right and the left widens and deepens at their behest
12 posted on 02/27/2004 3:47:56 AM PST by InvisibleChurch (Remember, God made you special and He loves you very much!)
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To: ejdrapes
I'm sorry but this author had the wrong attitude before he saw the movie, he had already made his judgement. Sounds like just another left nut.
13 posted on 02/27/2004 3:49:02 AM PST by garylmoore (It is as it was)
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To: ejdrapes
I understand why he hates the Cross so much, his parent committed suicide, and he has become a barely functioning drunk(last time I checked).

This guy wrote a hateful book about Mother Teresa. He hates the world because it isn't Communist. Lost soul.IMO
14 posted on 02/27/2004 3:50:39 AM PST by Finalapproach29er (" Permitting homosexuality didn't work out very well for the Roman Empire")
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To: ejdrapes
To those Christians who seriously believe "the Jews killed Christ":

1. The Crucifixion. Was it, or was it not, PREORDAINED?

2. Where would your religion be today if Jesus had died at the age of 75 of a heart attack?

3. Do you even have the slightest conception of what the crucifixion means? (If you answer yes, and you also believe that "the Jews killed Christ", then you're wrong, you don't have the slightest idea of what it means.)
15 posted on 02/27/2004 3:52:45 AM PST by samtheman
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To: ejdrapes
Does Hitchens say he saw the film? Again, it's an attack on Mel Gibson. I enjoy Hitchens a great deal, but this article has a preconceived bias. If he were intellectually honest about the film, he would leave out all the ad hominems on Mel.
16 posted on 02/27/2004 3:53:20 AM PST by Dudoight
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To: ejdrapes
What a pile of *****. The satanistss really are coming out of the woodworks. though Roman soldiers actually spoke a dialect of Greek
. Does this idiot have proof one way or the other WHAT language the Roman soldiers spoke? Was he there with a microphone and tape? Fine, if he thinks they spoke in Greek, make a version in Aramaic and Greek. Big deal, most folks (in case this idiot didn't realise) don't really speak ancient Aramaic or Latin or Old Greek and that's a pretty big majority in the English speaking world.

Idiot, scumbag. Watch the movie again and again. Show them with your continued attendence what you think of these scum.
17 posted on 02/27/2004 3:53:31 AM PST by Cronos (W2K4!)
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To: mhking
They know not about many things. Especially themselves.

Prairie
18 posted on 02/27/2004 3:53:52 AM PST by prairiebreeze (Decide for yourself! See "Passion of The Christ.")
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To: Cronos
I DETEST CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS.

He gets into an argument after uttering a series of crude remarks like 'a film that principally appeals to the gay Christian sado-masochistic community'.

Where was this scumbag when the LAst Tempation of Christ came out. What did he say then? Has anyone got his criticism of that movie?
19 posted on 02/27/2004 3:55:42 AM PST by Cronos (W2K4!)
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To: ejdrapes
I'm not surprised Christopher Hitchens would say something like this. After all, he's an atheist, and there's something about people who believe in God, especially Christians, that really pisses him off for some reason.

And so it's not surprising that he would see something nasty and degenerate instead of what's really there. He's not just an atheist. He's downright hostile and contemptuous when it comes to people who really believe.

20 posted on 02/27/2004 3:56:45 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: ejdrapes
"So my advice is this. Do not go."

Oh, thank you Mr. Hitchens for the sage advice.

I'm so anxious to hear what you think about "Confessions of a Teen Age Drama Queen?

I'll stay tuned.
21 posted on 02/27/2004 3:57:03 AM PST by Ramcat (The Judiciary is immune to gridlock.)
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To: ejdrapes
HE showed the film at the Vatican, and then claimed that the Pope had endorsed it - a claim that the Vatican has flatly denied, but then every little helps.

What an absolute flat out lie! Gibson never said the Pope endorsed anything.

Obviously these people can't stand to be reminded of what Jesus went thru for them and instead of falling on their knees asking for forgiveness they arrogantly spew their idiotic tripe...

Hitchens go back to your snobbish tea parties and B&M there!

22 posted on 02/27/2004 3:57:27 AM PST by sirchtruth
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To: ejdrapes
Good old Christopher, fighting with his devils.
23 posted on 02/27/2004 3:57:33 AM PST by G.Mason (The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected -- Will Rogers)
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To: Finalapproach29er
In defense of Hitch, he was one the the few prominent Leftists at The Nation who broke with the editorial staff over the War on Terror. He "gets it", unlike the Michael Moore/Noam Chomsky crowd. He has remained a resolute supporter of the war and plans to vote for Bush in November, and he stopped being a Communist years ago. He remains a leftist, however.

He is an atheist, however, and remains a passionate partisan of that belief. This review should surprise no one who has read Hitchens for many years. Knowing all this, I can forgive him, because he understands the big issue this year. He just doesn't get the One Big Thing, that's all.

Be Seeing You,

Chris

24 posted on 02/27/2004 3:57:41 AM PST by section9 (Major Motoko Kusanagi says, "John Kerry: all John F., no Kennedy..." Click on my pic!)
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To: samtheman
3. Do you even have the slightest conception of what the crucifixion means? (If you answer yes, and you also believe that "the Jews killed Christ", then you're wrong, you don't have the slightest idea of what it means.)

You really have no clue do you?

25 posted on 02/27/2004 4:00:22 AM PST by sirchtruth
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To: onyx; NYC GOP Chick; sauropod
Mel stuck it to Hitchens --- made Hitchens sick.

Sounds more like he made him drink.

Damn, I usually enjoy reading Hitchens, but this is just embarassing...

26 posted on 02/27/2004 4:02:33 AM PST by hellinahandcart
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To: mhking
Hey Christopher...Gibson recieved a PROLONGED standing ovation on Leno last night...Why don't you go on Leno and say what you have said in this article....we will see if most people feel as you do.
27 posted on 02/27/2004 4:04:29 AM PST by Moby Grape
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To: ejdrapes
To the extent that there are Christians who say "the Jews killed Jesus" they should be loudly and massively denounced by the Christian world.

Look, what frustrates us most about the "mainstream Muslims"? Simple: they don't say a word of criticism when their brethern murder innocents. Not a single word.

Christians have a chance now to show Islam an example of how mainstream believers in a faith should behave. I'm not saying this movie is the problem. I haven't seen the movie. But there are definitely Christians among us who believe "the Jews killed Jesus". That belief should be loudly and massively denounced, by Christians everywhere.

If it's not denounced, then Christians everywhere have no right to expect mainstream Muslims to denounce the idiot-extremists in their own ranks.

And now is the time to do it, when this controversy is in the air.

The movie isn't the issue here... it's just a movie. It's the belief that should be loudly denounced. And so far I don't hear it being loudly denounced. I don't hear it being denounced at all.

I hear silence coming from mainstream Christianity, and it's every bit as deafening as the silence of Islam in the wake of terrorist attacks.

28 posted on 02/27/2004 4:06:34 AM PST by samtheman
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To: hellinahandcart
Sounds more like he made him drink.

Damn, I usually enjoy reading Hitchens, but this is just embarassing...




I agree with you --- one of his worst columns.

Doesn't take much to make him drink, but to make him sick? I've seen Hitchens so hungover on C-Span's Washington Journal, I could see his eyes were blood shot.

29 posted on 02/27/2004 4:07:01 AM PST by onyx (Your secrets are safe with me and all my friends.)
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To: ejdrapes
Words can not express how much my opinion of Hitchens dropped in the last three minutes.
30 posted on 02/27/2004 4:08:03 AM PST by Woahhs
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To: ejdrapes
Wow. What blind hatred. What intolerance. Make a movie about Jesus having sex with Mary Magdeline (Last Temptation) that's ok. Create so-called art (Piss-Christ), or the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung, then you're courageous. But a movie portraying Jesus as He was, and as it was, the triumph of good over evil, and God's immeasurable love for us. That is seen as catering to homosexual s&m. If that were the case, all those liberal rags would have given the movie rave reviews. Mel Gibson would be hailed as courageous, standing up to all those 'intolerant' evil simpleminded Christians. All I could do is quote the scriptures; "Woe unto them who call good evil, and evil good."
31 posted on 02/27/2004 4:09:49 AM PST by EAGLE7
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To: sirchtruth
I do have a clue. I know exactly what the crucifixion means. And I know one thing with certainty: when people say "the Jews killed Jesus", Jesus is not smiling down on them with pleasure. I'm certain of it. I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of someone who thinks anti-semitism is the lesson to be learned from the cross. No way, brother. Wouldn't want to be in those shoes at all. Hot shoes, those.
32 posted on 02/27/2004 4:09:53 AM PST by samtheman
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To: joanie-f
I think you like Hitchens, don't you? What do you think of him now? I think he makes a few good points.
33 posted on 02/27/2004 4:10:37 AM PST by CharliefromKS
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To: samtheman
Not exactly preordained - because humans have free will. The people involved in the Crucifixion didn't have to do it, they chose to do it.
34 posted on 02/27/2004 4:12:08 AM PST by CobaltBlue
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To: samtheman; kstewskis; lonevoice; GirlShortstop; Victoria Delsoul; Dr. Scarpetta; formerDem; ...
This is just breathless in its scope of pure hatred.

Here is someone who is lost spiritually.

"Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do!"


35 posted on 02/27/2004 4:15:22 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: samtheman
Er, I would speak out against any Freepers posting here who are posting anti-Semitic statements. I just haven't seen any. And I think I've read every Passion thread on this board that's been posted in the last week. And let me tell you, that's been a hell of a lot of threads.

Christians are among the strongest supporters the Jews have. The Left, who are the true anti-semites and who have been posing as protectors of the Jews ever since it became convenient once Hitler broke his pact with Uncle Joe, know this, and rather than lose their status as "protectors of Jews", they're waging this massive propaganda campaign. That's -all- this is about.

The anti-semite Christians are such a miniscule fraction of the population these days, you'd have to dig deep to find one. Like I said, I haven't seen a single poster like that here. The only expressions of hostility towards Jews that I've seen on this board has been a -response- to the incredible bigotry and hostility that parts of the Jewish community are displaying towards -them-, and quite frankly, I find that much to be completely understandable. In no case have I seen overreaction.

Qwinn
36 posted on 02/27/2004 4:15:38 AM PST by Qwinn
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To: ovrtaxt
He is must be scared of the message of the movie. He is trying to smear it by calling it gay.

Why?

Because he KNOWS the public will not pay to see a serous "gay" movie. The public will never pay money for a homocentric drama.
37 posted on 02/27/2004 4:15:49 AM PST by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: ejdrapes
The flood waters rise, and the ugliest debris of the Left float to the top.
38 posted on 02/27/2004 4:15:50 AM PST by atomicpossum (I wish I had time for a nervous breakdown.)
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To: samtheman
Your thesis is asinine: plain and simple. The parallels are as close as planets, and only an agenda could blind a sane individual from appreciating that fact. Why don't you start denouncing child molestation so you can retain your right to criticize child molesters?
39 posted on 02/27/2004 4:16:59 AM PST by Woahhs
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To: samtheman
Yeshua, son of Miriam, of the House of David, was a Jew. His mother was a Jew. His followers were Jews. The main differences between Jews and Christians is that Christians believe that Christ is the Messiah who brought a New Covenant from God, and Jews believe that the Messiah has not yet come, and that they have the only covenant with God.

I can tell that you haven't watched the film, and that you don't intend to do so, but if you did, you might learn some things. Or maybe not, maybe it's Christianity itself that offends you?
40 posted on 02/27/2004 4:17:04 AM PST by CobaltBlue
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To: samtheman
I hear silence coming from mainstream Christianity...

Then you're obviously not listening. Cardinals, bishops and evangelicals are saying it every time I turn around. Here's just one example...one of many:


Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, left, and Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelical Christians, get together to discuss Mel Gibson (news)'s film 'The Passion of the Christ,' during a news conference held at the Museum of Tolerance, in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004. The film officially opens in 2,800 theaters Wednesday. (AP Photo/Stefano Paltera)

41 posted on 02/27/2004 4:18:27 AM PST by wimpycat ("Black holes are where God divided by zero.")
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To: ejdrapes
Most of the posters on this thread seem pretty insecure about what they believe, else you all would be bursting into girly tears.

But if you want to defend a snuff film, have fun.
42 posted on 02/27/2004 4:18:39 AM PST by BCrago66
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To: ejdrapes
One more note about the whole Christian-Moslem aspect of this controversy:

We are all so quick to find fault with Islam. We make fun of the "religion of peace" (I do too, I have at least 50 posts with my name on it in FR that say exactly those words), and we all jeer when they ignore their own terrorists and we all are very quick to point out that in the Islamic world, you're either a Muslim or you're a piece of garbage (which is sadly and sickeningly true).

But we're not so quick to jump on any of those tendencies in Christianity. You say they don't exist. Bullsh1t. They exist. They are there. And it is precisely on this question of The Jews where they rear their ugly heads.

The Jews are condemned --- historically and by some Christians today --- for not converting. How is that condemnation not like the garbage-treatment that non-Muslims get in the Islamic world? It might be quantitively less fierce (Christian civilization being so much more civilized than Islamic barbarism) but it is qualitively the exact same thing.

Again, here's an opportunity for us to show how we are NOT like Islamic fanatics. The opportunity is this: condemn the statement "the Jews killed Jesus". Condemn it because it's stupid. Condemn it because it detracts from the true meaning of the cross. Condemn it because it damages the soul of those who believe it. And condemn it because it shows the Islamic world the correct way for people in a religion to react to extremists in their midst.
43 posted on 02/27/2004 4:18:49 AM PST by samtheman
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To: Northern Yankee
I think he knows exactly what he is doing. He is trying to get fewer people to see "the passion". He does not realize the critics have been discredited.

Those critics that speak against this movie are exposed as leftists, homophiles, jealous, or just plain anti-christian. They do not want the public to reawaken a notion of right vs wrong.

This is especially during an election year, especially during a time when homosexual marriage is so close, especially when children will be removed from the insitutuion of marriage. Evil always knows what it is doing.
44 posted on 02/27/2004 4:19:53 AM PST by longtermmemmory (Vote!)
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To: Qwinn
Good God! What a tortured, twisted, and pathetic person. The venom toward things of God is scary indeed. Hicthens has what it takes to be a Roman "Crucification Prep" Soldier.
45 posted on 02/27/2004 4:20:50 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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To: samtheman
I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of someone who thinks anti-semitism is the lesson to be learned from the cross. No way, brother.

I agree and understand that. However, who lead Jesus to the Roman authorities?

46 posted on 02/27/2004 4:21:55 AM PST by sirchtruth
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To: samtheman
Please find me a single thread where you have seen someone make an anti-semitic statement and it has -not- been thoroughly condemned.

Qwinn
47 posted on 02/27/2004 4:22:21 AM PST by Qwinn
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To: PaulJ
I learned one thing, though. I didn't know they spoke Aramaic and Latin in Poland and Russia.

I think he is saying that since only the English subtitle was removed, not the spoken lines, the subtitles is more jew baiter friendly countries will be there. Only America will get the less jew baiter friendly version. That, I think, is his point.

48 posted on 02/27/2004 4:23:56 AM PST by Huck (OK. I'm over it.)
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To: mhking
This review shows that his harsh criticism of Mother Theresa was no accident. Christopher has chosen sides with the Father of Lies. Here's one:

HE showed the film at the Vatican, and then claimed that the Pope had endorsed it - a claim that the Vatican has flatly denied, but then every little [bit] helps.

God help him.

49 posted on 02/27/2004 4:24:00 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Finalapproach29er
He hates the world because it isn't Communist.

Well, not exactly. But he is very hostile toward religion and religious people. He doesn't understand them. How can you sacrifice like that? Indeed how can you love like that?

By his lights you can't. Therefore there must be some evil hidden motive.

50 posted on 02/27/2004 4:24:09 AM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (But just this once, what is signal and what is noise?)
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