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Clergy Still Like Gibson's Movie
The Ledger ^

Posted on 08/19/2006 10:11:39 AM PDT by Hal1950

It has taken a couple of weeks, but the reviews from evangelical Christian leaders about Mel Gibson's latest performance are now in.

Gibson's drunken remarks about "(expletive) Jews" being responsible for "all the wars in the world," which the actor made to a Los Angeles sheriff's deputy who pulled him over on July 28, were "hurtful and unfortunate" (James Dobson), "reprehensible . . . shameful" (the Rev. James Merritt) and "cause for concern" (the Rev. Ted Haggard).

But has the actor-director's intemperate speech by the side of a highway prompted any prominent evangelical leader to voice second thoughts about the portrayal of Jews in Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ"?

"Not as far as I know," said Haggard, who is president of the National Association of Evangelicals and senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

"This incident is not relevant in any way to `The Passion of the Christ,' which is one of the finest films of this era," Dobson said in a statement issued by his organization, Focus on the Family.

Before "The Passion" came out in 2004, Gibson screened it privately for select audiences, including megachurch pastors. Many members of the clergy responded enthusiastically, urging their congregations to see it and rejecting the contention of some Jewish and Roman Catholic commentators that the film perpetuated the anti-Semitic message delivered by Passion plays through the ages: that the Jews killed Jesus.

Some of those who warmly embraced the "The Passion" two years ago have defended Gibson's character since his arrest and subsequent apology. ("I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge," Gibson, a Catholic, said in a statement released by his publicist, Alan Nierob.)

"People say things when they're intoxicated that they don't necessarily mean. And I wasn't there, I didn't hear it," said the Rev. Garry Poole, director of spiritual discovery at Willow Creek Community Church, which draws about 20,000 people to its Sunday services in South Barrington, Ill.

"I met with Mel two times during pre-screenings (of "The Passion"), and I saw his heart to portray the life of Jesus the way the Bible portrays it," added Poole, who co-wrote a popular study guide to the movie. "I didn't see him as prejudiced at all in his actions or statements."

"Obviously his recent comments were, to say the least, reprehensible and, as he said himself, shameful. That doesn't change my view of the film or make me believe that the film was anti-Semitic," said Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church near Atlanta and a former president of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention. "I don't believe there was any subliminal message by Mel Gibson that had any kind of anti-Semitic undertone to it at all."

Among points repeatedly made by evangelicals in Gibson's defense are that he filmed his own hand nailing Jesus to the cross; he has apologized for his arrest remarks; and the virtues of a work of art should be considered separately from the sins of its creator.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: barf; bribewatch; davincicode; hypocricy; melgibson; moviereview; profitsharing; thepassion

1 posted on 08/19/2006 10:11:40 AM PDT by Hal1950
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To: Hal1950
The last paragraph makes the point well....

..and is as it should be.

2 posted on 08/19/2006 10:16:17 AM PDT by Guenevere
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To: Hal1950
This is such dreck!

The old adage In vino veritas, is simply not true any more than it's true that what people say when they're anaesthetized is the truth. We all have weird stuff floating around in our minds and when one is as blotto as Gibson was reported to be ... well, he could as easily have started putting the moves on the police officer.

But apologies have come to be like affirmative action in that there is never a time when they are allowed to stop, when forgiveness is granted and we all move on. The expectation seems to be that anyone who is in any way conservative must at least forever apologize for anything. Resignation is also required if the miscreant hold office.

But Democrats, liberals, and blacks (okay, maybe not Andrew Young) can say anything whatsoever, confess to a slip, and then it's over with.

If I ever slip publicly, I am going to apologize, explain how it happened and how it violates my own values and what I will do to avoid doing it again. Then if there are any further calls, I'll tell the apology vampires to get a life. I'm tired of this nonsense.

3 posted on 08/19/2006 10:20:45 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Reality is not optional.)
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To: Guenevere

Paul Robeson was a hardcore communist and holder of the Stalin Prize. I still like his singing. Caravaggio was a violent homosexual murderer, but his paintings remain masterpieces. Wagner was an anti-Semite whose music inspired the Nazis - but that music is still sublime.

Bad people make great art all the time. It's a non-issue.

4 posted on 08/19/2006 10:21:03 AM PDT by Argus
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To: Mad Dawg

Very well said.

5 posted on 08/19/2006 10:31:48 AM PDT by Roberts
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To: Hal1950

Of course. Gibson did not write the story. God did that.

6 posted on 08/19/2006 10:39:43 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Brilliant

The author said Gibson is a Catholic. He's wrong on that point also.

7 posted on 08/19/2006 10:52:44 AM PDT by xxyyxx
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To: Mad Dawg

I like your comments. Right on point...

For all the hoopla about the movie being anti-Simetic, it didn't inspire anti-Israeli movements. There were no riots against the Jews. There were no public statements about the Jews being to blame for the world's problems.

Christians were moved by the movie. They did not become anti-Iraeli or anti Jew.

The movie moved some people and others were less impressed by the presentation. It wasn't the horrorific presentation it was made out to be in advance. And for that reason, there should be a lot more people appologizing publicly for what they have said, than just Mel Gibson.

Many of them are wagging their tongues again now. And they are essentially wrong again.

I do not think Mel Gibson is a Jew hating anti-Semite. He is a human being that screwed up. That's it. He has never to my knowledge made a concerted effort to hurt the world's Jews.

Isn't it strange how Gibson is skewered, but those so willing to do so seem absolutely mute on the comments made by Iran's leader?

8 posted on 08/19/2006 10:55:55 AM PDT by DoughtyOne (Bring your press credentials to Qana, for the world's most convincing terrorist street theater.)
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To: Argus

Well said.

9 posted on 08/19/2006 10:55:56 AM PDT by Alexander Rubin (Octavius - You make my heart glad building thus, as if Rome is to be eternal.)
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To: Hal1950

I like a lot of his movies, has nothing to do with him personally.

10 posted on 08/19/2006 11:41:48 AM PDT by GeronL ( -------------> Rise of the Hate Party)
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