(FinalCall.com) – His defense against charges of anti-Semitism reads: “If the intense scrutiny during my 25 years in public life revealed I had ever persecuted or discriminated against anyone based on race or creed, I would be all too willing to make amends. But there is no such record.”
No, it’s not the words of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan–it’s Australian actor Mel Gibson, who has been run over the coals in a fire fueled by the Anti-Defamation League, among other Jewish organizations. The point of contention–Mr. Gibson’s new film that he co-wrote, directed and financed with nearly $30 million, entitled, “The Passion of the Christ.”
Opening in North America on February 25, Ash Wednesday, in 2,000 theatres, this rated-R movie, nearly 13 years in the making, tells the tale of torture that Jesus of 2,000 years ago suffered during the last 24 hours along the road to his crucifixion. The cries and criticism of the Passion stem from the movie’s depiction of the hand that the Sanhedrin Jews played in the betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. The conspiracy of the council of the Sanhedrin senate of priests and Pharisees, Mr. Gibson maintains, is found in four Gospels of the Bible’s New Testament. To his detractors, he says forthrightly, “Read the book.”
The sad reality is that many critics hurled stones at the movie and Mr. Gibson without even seeing the movie. However, after advance reviews of the film, several apologies and clarifications came Mr. Gibson’s way. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops apologized for criticizing the movie before it was even released. The president of the Motion Picture Association of America remarked that he did not see any anti-Semitism in the film after seeing it.
According to one report, Rabbi Michael Cook, a professor at the Hebrew Union College, told Forward, a Jewish paper, “that the Jewish community risks ‘embarrassment’ when the film hits theatres and the public recognizes the film is not offensive.”
Nevertheless, prominent Jewish organizations and leaders pursued their call to censor the movie, claiming that it would incite anti-Semitism. Twentieth Century Fox pulled out of distribution and New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind urged other film companies to steer clear of the film.
Interestingly, the Vatican issued a press release that described The Passion as “the cinematographic recounting of the historical fact of the passion of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel accounts.”
Yes–recounting of the historical fact.
While facts can mean different things to different people, Mr. Gibson, a devout Catholic, said his purpose on focusing on what the Scripture says was to inspire, not offend. It is unfortunate that he has now been labeled with such negativity, simply for telling the truth according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
As followers of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, we understand–for we have endured patiently along with our leader, teacher and guide the snares and slander against his character for simply telling the truth according to the Word of God.
Our leader has been branded an anti-Semite for saying that the Honorable Elijah taught us through the words of scripture that Black people who have sojourned in America for over 400 years are the true Children of Israel, the chosen people of God.
Again, a position and belief rooted in the Book–yet piercing enough to prompt calls by Jewish leaders to crucify him–in character and in flesh.
Perhaps, Pope John Paul II said it best in his reaction after seeing The Passion, albeit in an unofficial private remark reported anonymously by one of the Vatican’s spokesman: “It is as it was.”