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New at Reason: As everybody now knows, Mel Gibson, the kilt-wearin', gay-bashin', Vatican II-rejectin', Aramaic-speakin', seven-child-sirin' Australian is doing Jesus on the big screen. (Jim Caviezel, whose narration in The Thin Red Line clearly invoked Averroes' heresy of the collective soul, is doing penance for that error by getting hung up on the boards.) Cathy Young weighs in. (And here's a great Old Catholic rant site with commentary on The Passion and pictures/captions that will make you larf.)

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  1. Ooooh… clever title; wish I’d thought of that.

  2. Jews killed Jesus? That is anti-semetic, everyone knows it was the Eskimos.

  3. Is Cathy Young really implying that Mel Gibson is to be held responsible for phone calls made to the ADL by a few cranks who haven’t even seen the movie? If so, she should be ashamed of herself. (And trying the guilt by association route of mentioning the beliefs of Gibson’s father is pathetic as well.)

  4. It sounds like Ms. Young is critisizing a film that she has not seen on the dubious grounds of what others have said about it.

    Indeed, this article pretty much condemns the movie because of who approves of it. Medved, Ingraham et al.

    True, wackos have used the Christian religion to fuel their own prejudices though there is no reason to knee-jerk like assume that this is the case in Gibson’s movie.

    Young’s article seems to merely illustrate her own prejudices against Christianity in general and traditional Roman Catholicism in particular.

  5. Movies were once used as racist propaganda (Birth of Nation), anyone who makes movies should be ashamed!

  6. Why is it that the ones who are supposedly for a religious-neutral society can’t stand the religious beliefs of others?

    Apparently, since some religious zealots critsized “The Last Temptation,” Ms. Young feels the need for a little payback.

  7. oh boo hoo, guys.

    i give gibson credit for making a film in a language no one speaks anymore (if only for the ridiculousness and maybe a nahuatl version of lethal weapon five) but she hardly laid into him at all, especially compared to what’s come out of the ADL and the like.

    you’d think with the One True Faith on your side – with gibson’s being the One Really True Faith – everyone would be a bit more immune to criticism, especially since being christian in the united states isn’t exactly a health risk (or any risk at all). being called anti-semetic is certainly still a noxious poison in our culture but again, hardly life-altering for a movie star.

    one thing i really do like about all this is the sort of cultural commentators who would have decried an independent or foreign filmmaker for creating a work in a dead language as being hopelessly obtuse or some sort of postmodernist jackoff are stepping over each other to congratulate gibson for the same thing.

  8. Jesus, I love a good religious controversy. A couple of points:
    – two billion christians? Now all of a sudden the evangelicals are letting everyone into heaven! (Surely that 2 bill. doesn’t include episcopalians?!?)
    – how is it that a movie about christ would get Arabs to be more anti-semitic? (I know there are christian arabs, but they aren’t exactly out front fighting the ZOG are they?)
    – any christian who thinks “the jews” killed christ and should therefore be hated is a moron. Christ knew he was going to die. He had to die, so his dad could forgive us all our sins. Judas and all the other jews actually did us a favor.

  9. Not that I want to be a nitpicker, but Aramaic is not entirely a dead language. There is a small community of Aramaic speakers in Lebanon.

  10. Jewish people did not kill jesus, it’s actually stated in the Gospels they were not allowed to execute him.

    Instead they got the reigning government to do him in.

    It was the ITALIANS!

    Let’s get ’em!!!!!

  11. I could not actually care less about what anyone thinks of religion. I’m just here for the ambiance. That, and Cathy Young is so smug in her skewed little opinion pieces that it’s just fun to point out how guilty she is of the very things she attacks.

  12. I think Mel should’ve combined the christer story with some sort of Mad Max angle. Jesus on motorbikes, something like that. Then I might actually go see it.

  13. The definitive film interpretation of the New Testament has already been done.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1559409010/reasonmagazinea-20/

    Everything else from Heston to Gibson is just sanctimonious pap.

    fredH,
    No shit? Must not get into town much. They still cut the hands off thieves? Stone women as sluts? Use goats as currency?

  14. I wonder how a book based on the movie would compare to the original source.

  15. Can’t wait to see that moving moment when He looks down and says, “Peter…I can see your house from here,” in the original Aramaic…

  16. Latin is still spoken in the Vatican.

    Though Mel says the film is as accurate as possible, the lack of Greek in the film is troublesome. In fact, Greek would have been a much more common language (even amongst Roman soldiers and administrators) than Latin at the time in the Levant as I understand it.

    All of which makes me wonder. Why Latin? Is this some sort of backhanded slap at Holy Mother Church for abandoning Latin under Vatican II?

  17. My curiosity in the Bible was recently piqued after reading a history of the English bible. I haven’t yet gotten to the New Testament, so I can’t comment on that yet. But one could easily look at the stories in the Old Testament and view them as being rife with atrocities committed by Jews. I’ve only read the first six books (about 230 pages), which primarily tell the tale of the Israelites hauling ass out of Egypt and settling in the land of milk and honey (i.e. Palestine/Israel). And in the process, they kill everyone that opposes them. Including women and children. Very ruthless, and all because THE LORD THY GOD told them to. So far, it has been fascinating reading.

    There is no shortage of history that could make one culture hate the other. American Indians vs. Europeans. Jews vs. Everyone Else. Muslims vs. Everyone Else. Blacks vs. Whites. But it is nutty how many people will hold onto prejudices that are based on the history of 50, 100 or 2000 years ago. Just let it go, people.

  18. “Mel should’ve combined the christer story with some sort of Mad Max angle. Jesus on motorbikes, something like that. Then I might actually go see it.”

    Douglas Fletcher, you’re barking up the wrong tree. For that sort of film, you should be consulting with Martin Scorcese. He’s good at such fantasies.

  19. FORMULA: JxJC = RxJC

    ERGO: If the Jews killed Jesus Christ, then the Romans killed Julius Caesar.

  20. I think the discussion about who’s to blame killing Jesus is so stupid. A mob made of of Romans and Jews killed Jesus. And it was a small group of Romans and Jews who supported Jesus. It was a mob mentality that killed Jesus. The powers that be convinced the public that this man should be executed. It is unavoidable to have a movie about the death of Christ w/o mentioning Jewish involvement (unless you want to lie). But it would be wrong to show it as a Jewish conspirisy killed Christ. Let’s hope Gibson’s movie does not due this.

  21. Whoa, Ray. You think Cathy Young is smug? I can’t think of a column of hers that isn’t an attempt to play it down the middle a little bit. Even when she rips into idiot doctrinaire feminists, she’s polite about it.

  22. Also, “skewed opinion pieces”? You mean, her OPINIONS aren’t fair & balanced? The horror!

  23. I recall the song by Kinky Freedman, “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore”:

    Well a red-necked nerd in a bolling shirt was a guzzlin’ Long Star beer,
    Talkin’ a religion and a politics for all the world to hear.

    “We oughta send you back to Roo-sha, boy,
    Or San Fransciso, one,
    You just wanted to doodle a Christian girl and you killed God’s only son!”

    Has it occurred, to you, you nerd, that that’s not very nice?
    Why we Jews believe it was Santi-Claus that killed Jesus Christ!

    …oh, Kinky is a jew, btw, and it’s got a anti-racist anti-anti-semetic message to it. So don’t complain to me 🙂

  24. If the Jews killed Jesus Christ, then the Bosnians killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

  25. So much effort for a movie that will appeal to an even narrower demographic than mixed race Klan porn. Go in peace my friends. Sin no more.

  26. i think it’s a nice thought dan. dunno if it’s going to be a trend, unless this becomes the feel good evangelical hit of the year.

  27. “It was a mob mentality that killed Jesus.” The inscription above his head was the inititials for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Who is more likely to kill someone in the name of stopping Judean self-government: the Roman government, or local Jewish people? Killing local leaders who might threaten their imperial rule is what Roman governors did for a living.

    “The Jews” didn’t even kinda-sorta kill Jesus. The charge was made up later, by church leaders who wanted to prevent what was then a Jewish sect from being re-absorbed into the mother faith.

  28. But Joe, wouldn’t the Jewish religion (as the fountainhead) be the “mother faith” and anything emanating out of that be a subordinate, hence, “daughter faith.”

  29. Didn’t Jesus say, “Forgiven them Father, for they know not what they do?” Or did I just invent that in my own head?

    I think that reminds me of an article: God Angrily Clarifies “Do Not Kill” Rule – http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/god_clarifies_dont_kill.html

    Man, The Bible really is the best-selling book in all history, and possibly the least read!

  30. BTW, Averroes is more accurately called Ibn Rushd or Ibn Roschd these days.

  31. It might be nice if there was anything besides anecdotal evidence that there even was such a person as JC.

  32. Not to sidetrack the discussion, but one little correction.

    “…Mel Gibson, the kilt-wearin’, gay-bashin’, Vatican II-rejectin’, Aramaic-speakin’, seven-child-sirin’ Australian….

    He was born in New York state. Last time I checked, it was nearer to New Jersey than New South Wales.

    Harvard

  33. i kinda want to go see it though. i don’t really know why. it can’t be as bad as battlefield earth.

  34. We’re having this discussion why? If he wants to, Mel is free to tell a story in which black-booted African lesbians sodomize our Lord Jesus Christ. What’s the big deal and who cares what any religious organization has to say about the contents of a piece of art (if that is what this film ends up being)? And is any of my tax money being spent on the (ooooo, I’m quaking) controversy?

  35. In all the fuss about what is or isn?t anti-Semitic and/or anti-Christian, has anyone stopped to think about the artistic potential of a movie like this? Say what you will of Mel Gibson (and I?m no fan), but he?s produced and financed an intensely personal project with little care for what his critics or the media have to say about it. Isn?t this the definition of an ?independent? film, and isn?t this exactly the kind of real commitment and passion that we long for ? to our regular disappointment ? from the Hollywood crowd?

    I don?t believe Gibson has the artistic chops to pull off such an intense topic in the way he probably thinks he does (I can?t wait to hear the ?authentic? and ?biblically-accurate? James Horner soundtrack). And I doubt he?ll face any real professional consequences for having made a controversial film. But if it succeeds critically or financially, maybe it?ll encourage more establishment figures to do their own projects that aren?t subjected to intense focus grouping and watered-down sentiment.

  36. If the Jews killed Jesus Christ, then all white Americans killed Martin Luther King.

  37. I’d think a good libertarian like Andrew would recognize the value of having culture and debate that occurs entirely outside of the government.

    The Problem With Libertoids #1828 is…

    they love to tear down, but don’t put in the work to build up.

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