Skip to comments.Will The Passion Movie Have Political As Well As Spiritual Consequences?
Posted on 02/20/2004 9:30:22 AM PST by jonboy
Several months back we began hearing the drumbeat of disapproval from the media and Hollywood elites about Mel Gibson's soon to be released The Passion of the Christ. He had a TERRIBLE time finding a distributor, he had to self-finance the movie, his original title, simply, The Passion was denied him because Miramax declared that they had the rights to that title. He was told that the movie would be a flop and that religious movies don't make money. As support for this claim, they mentioned the terrible controversy surrounding another Jesus movie, The Last Temptation of Christ. More than twenty-five thousand people protested against it, death threats were supposedly received, and to top it off, it only took in a little more than eight million dollars. Of course, it couldn't have had anything to do with the fact that it was an anti-religious allegorical interpretation of a Christ who was weak, implied gay, and was shown on the cross fantasizing about having sex with Mary Magdalene. The Judas character also being depicted as a sympathetic character.
It was an absolutely blasphemous hateful hit piece. The Devil himself couldn't have written a worse script. Yet, the Hollywood elites had no problem with this movie, the Anti-defamation League had no problem with this movie, the leftist elites had no problem with this movie. This movie was them personified, holding to a form of Jesus (if at all) that humanized Him and made Him one of the sinners rather than showing a Jesus who would hold them accountable and culpable for sin.
The usual characters couldn't say enough good things about this piece of trash. It was gutsy, it was artsy, it was inspiring, yada, yada, yada. The actors also were the usual liberal elites, Harvey Keitel, William Dafoe, Barbara Hershey, and David Bowie among others. Despite the fact that the movie earned a miserable eight million dollars, Martin Scorcese was nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. Barbara Hershey was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Peter Gabriel for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes. How many people are holding their breath about The Passion of the Christ winning critical acclaim from this group?
Obviously Hollywood and their ilk don't get it. I've never seen a phenomenon like is occurring with this movie. The forces of evil are arrayed against it in spectacular fashion, hoping to stop it from making its way to the screen. When the predictions of failure didn't work then came the efforts at intimidation. Hit pieces from the New York Times became a regular thing, claims from all sides about anti-Semitism abounded (many to most from people who had never seen the movie), Mel Gibson's father was suddenly of interest (why, he didn't make the movie), people who never batted an eye about Hollywood violence before were now suddenly "concerned" about the effects of this "violent movie" upon our children. The hypocrisy and double standards have been staggering and extremely transparent. All we need to remember is this. This is us against them. No I don't mean us against the Jews. We are obviously ALL culpable in His death. He died for the combined sins of every person. I put Him there, you Him there, we all did. Real Christians understand this. Many Jews understand this as well. The movie has gotten very favorable reviews from a number of prominent Jewish people. Notably, they are almost all of a conservative ilk.
This movie is being challenged because of its attempted faithfulness to the script and because it is now perceived that it will be widely seen. It has been very faithful to the Gospels. THAT IS THE PROBLEM! The detractors including many liberal, politically correct and noodle spined "theologians" claim that the movie didn't happen according to what Mel has said. Let me state the obvious, IF THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST IS ANTI-SEMITIC THE GOSPELS ARE AS WELL. This is an attack on a literal rather than liberal interpretation of the Bible, it is an attack on Christians who are walking the walk and talking the talk. It isn't Judeaism vs. Christianity nearly so much as it is Liberalism vs. Christianity. These things are risky to the ones doing the attacking.
Can you feel the tension in the air? It's a good tension, a polarizing tension. It will help more clearly define the left and the right, the evil and the good for what they are. Are the left aware? Some are. The Tsunami is quickly building and is approaching. I feel certain that the Christian community is more stoked to see this movie than any in my memory. People LONG for a spiritual experience, they long to see what the suffering Christ did for them, even as they are frightened of what they will see. People who have screened it have sat in mute, stunned silence after the movie or are sobbing out loud.
The screens, which were initially going to be on the short side of 2,000, are now going to be as many as 4,000 (which would be a record for ANY film let alone an independent one). This movie, I believe will set the all time record for box-office take. The current one day total for sales is just under $44 million, weekend is just under $115 million (both the Spiderman movie). The all time record is Titanic, with just under $601 million dollars total at the box office.
Poor Mel, his detractors said, he'll be out so much money, between $25-$50 million by the time you count distribution costs. I predict that once the dust settles Mel will be a billionaire from this venture. Not only will this movie be seen by Christians, but detractors and curiosity seekers will see it as well. Plus the HUGE Catholic audience worldwide will want to see it. Also consider how many people will be seeing this movie multiple times to send a message. We haven't even looked at DVDs and videos which will be purchased later for evangelism tools and for personal collections. I wouldn't think of not owning this movie. Also consider the other merchandising.
I expect, at least initially, for the left to try to explain away Mel and The Passion's success and to make excuses for why they've done so well. Eventually, I think dissent will start to melt in the same way that it was stifled after 911. People will not want to be seen to be against this movie, I expect the media to start asking people what they think about the movie. The movie will become the story for a long time. I believe it will define our times culturally. Hollywood, who has until now despised this movie, will be under HUGE pressure to critically recognize this movie, yet would be forced to be going against everything it holds dear in order to do so. Hollywood loves their liberal agenda, but they love our dollars even more.
And what will happen politically for the candidates for various offices? The candidates will be asked "Have you seen the movie?" and "What did you think about the movie?" I expect our side to do well with this. Our President will have seen and will have embraced the movie. At the same time I expect the Democratic candidates to stumble on this as they attempt to both embrace the movie and distance themselves from it at the same time. The left is anti to only marginally religious while the independents and conservatives are MUCH MORE SO. I see one side benefiting from this, our side. Whereas a massive patriotic fervor swept our country after 911, I expect this phenomenon will be an unparalleled religious fervor. Just as 911 changed the world for a significant period of time and silenced the left, I believe there will be a post Passion period that very well may last until the election in which the left is effectively silenced, offering only grudging praise, as though through a mouth squeezed tight from lemons. The problem is though, they can't afford to be silenced. At the same time, moderate to conservative voters will be energized for a candidate by something far deeper than just politics. Although I think this film is MUCH BIGGER than politics, I think it will very much define this election. And again, that can only help one side, ours.
There is a scene where John the Baptist kisses Jesus on the lips, but it certainly isn't to imply that either Jesus or John are gay or bi. The sequence is right before Jesus goes into the wilderness for forty days, and John emotionally hugs and kisses him before warning him that the devil will try to deceive Him in the desert.
We need to be accurate when we protest things that are an attack on our faith. Saying that Jesus was portrayed as gay in LAST TEMPTATION is not accurate. There are plenty of things wrong in that film, but that isn't one of them.
original roll out was 2700 copies to 2000 theaters, but was upped last week due to demand, and could be upward of 3000 theaters by Wednesday.