Wednesday, August 13, 2003

In an article released today, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern that Mel Gibson's new film will fuel anti-Semitism by reinforcing a belief that Jews were guilty for Jesus' death.
"This is not a disagreement between the Jews and Mr. Gibson." Rabbi Eugene Korn, the head of the group's office on interfaith affairs said. "Many theologically informed Catholics and Protestants have expressed the same concerns regarding anti-Semitism and that this film may undermine Christian-Jewish dialogue and could turn back the clock on decades of positive progress in interfaith relations." And that "if released in its present form, will fuel the hatred, bigotry and anti-Semitism that many responsible churches have worked hard to repudiate." said Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director.

But others like Ted Haggard, president of the National Evangelical Association, called it "the most authentic portrayal I've ever seen."

Dan Walker told the Los Angeles Times he had no reservations about allowing his four young children to watch the scenes. "It's the truth," Walker said. Others who have seen the film have praised its beauty and accuracy.

Clearly, this early some groups are already divided between raising their hands for and raising their fists against Mr. Gibson's portrayal of the last 12 hours of Jesus' life. Some early reviewers of the film has these to say:
• "It is an awesome artifact, an overpowering work...The moral of this Christian story--of Mel Gibson's film--is that we all killed Jesus--Jew and Gentile alike--and tortured him, and we do so every day," civil-rights activist David Horowitz wrote on his Website, FrontPageMagazine.com.

• "Some of the bad guys are Jewish, some of the really bad guys are Roman, and virtually all of the good guys are Jewish," conservative commentator/film critic Michael Medved told the Los Angeles Times, hailing The Passion as "the finest Hollywood adaptation ever of a biblical story."

• "I thought it was incredible...I actually thought they'd taken a camera and put it in the scene 2,000 years ago," the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of National Association of Evangelicals, said in the Houston Chronicle.

• "You can quote me--Mel Gibson's The Passion is not anti-Semitic," Hollywood's top lobbyist Jack Valenti, of the Motion Picture Association, told Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd. "...I found it genuinely moving, serious, a compelling tale."

Personally I'm all for showing of the film in its entirety and letting the viewers form their own opinions on the purported "anti-semitism" messages of the movie. I admire the ADL for having the Jewish people's best interest at heart, but they have to keep in mind that these people also have the right to see the film and make their own opinions about all this. And as a good Catholic all Mr. Gibson wanted to do was to portray the truth of the tragedy and not point an accusing finger on any racial or ethnic group for the Messiah's execution. The ADL charges Gibson's film portrays Jews as "enemies of God and the locus of evil," while Mel Gibson says that his film was "meant to inspire not offend." Bottomline is: It doesn't matter who carried out the execution. Christ's death was necessary and his sacrifice was already orchestrated as part of God's sovereign plan right from the beginning, so what's to be scared of?

But if in case the movie turns out to be as controversial as Steven Spielberg's movie "Schindler's List" then I think we have a winner in our hands.

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