- The majority of the media are complaining about this
movie. Now Paul Harvey tells "The rest of the story" and David
Limbaugh praises Gibson. Most people would wait and see a movie before
giving the reviews that have been issued by the reporters trying to tell
all of us what to believe.
- Paul Harvey's words:
- I really did not know what to expect. I was thrilled
to have been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's film "The
Passion," but I had also read all the cautious articles and spin.
I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own faith journey to the
influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion to anything that might
even indirectly encourage any form of anti-Semitic thought, language or
- I arrived at the private viewing for "The Passion",
held in Washington DC and greeted some familiar faces. The environment
was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you with a smile but
seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the words. The film
was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room darkened.
- From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane,
to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus,
through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross,
the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the final
scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an encounter,
unlike anything I have ever experienced.
- In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and
an artistic triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection,
sorrow and emotional reaction within me than anything since my wedding,
my ordination or the birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the
same. When the film concluded, this "invitation only" gathering
of "movers and shakers" in Washington, D.C. were shaking indeed,
but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there was a dry eye in the place.
The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily silent.
No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate.
- We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in
life, the kind that makes heaven touch earth. One scene in the film has
now been forever etched in my mind. A brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon
to fall again under the weight of the cross. His mother had made her way
along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him, she flashed back to a memory
of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt road outside of their home. Just
as she reached to protect him from the fall, she was now reaching to touch
his wounded adult face. Jesus looked at her with intensely probing and
passionately loving eyes (and at all of us through the screen) and said
"Behold I make all things new."
- These are words taken from the last Book of the New Testament,
the Book of Revelations. Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear
and the wounds, that earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in
His face, His back, indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful.
They had been borne voluntarily for love.
- At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance
to recover, a question and answer period ensued. The unanimous praise for
the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as astounding as the compliments
were effusive. The questions included the one question that seems to follow
this film, even though it has not yet even been released. "Why is
this film considered by some to be "anti-Semitic?" Frankly, having
now experienced (you do not "view" this film) "the Passion"
it is a question that is impossible to answer.
- A law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He
raised his hand and responded "After watching this film, I do not
understand how anyone can insinuate that it even remotely presents that
the Jews killed Jesus. It doesn't." He continued "It made me
realize that my sins killed Jesus" I agree. There is not a scintilla
of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this powerful film. If there were,
I would be among the first to decry it.
- It faithfully tells the Gospel story in a dramatically
beautiful, sensitive and profoundly engaging way. Those who are alleging
otherwise have either not seen the film or have another agenda behind their
protestations. This is not a "Christian" film, in the sense that
it will appeal only to those who identify themselves as followers of Jesus
Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that will deeply touch all
men and women. It is a profound work of art. Yes, its producer is a Catholic
Christian and thankfully has remained faithful to the Gospel text; if that
is no longer acceptable behavior than we are all in trouble.
- History demands that we remain faithful to the story
and Christians have a right to tell it. After all, we believe that it is
the greatest story ever told and that its message is for all men and women.
The greatest right is the right to hear the truth. We would all be well
advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to which "The Passion"
is so faithful were written by Jewish men who followed a Jewish Rabbi whose
life and teaching have forever changed the history of the world.
- The problem is not the message but those who have distorted
it and used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor
the message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel
Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion." It should be
seen by as many people as possible. I intend to do everything I can to
make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "The Passion."
You will be as well. Don't miss it!
- This is a commentary by DAVID LIMBAUGH about Mel Gibson's
very contro- versial movie regarding Christ's crucifixion. It, too, is
well worth reading. MEL GIBSON'S passion for "THE PASSION" How
ironic that when a movie producer takes artistic license with historical
events, he is lionized as artistic, creative and brilliant, but when another
takes special care to be true to the real-life story, he is vilified.
- Actor-producer Mel Gibson is discovering these truths
the hard way as he is having difficulty finding a United States studio
or distributor for his upcoming film, "The Passion," which depicts
the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Gibson co-wrote the script
and financed, directed and produced the movie. For the script, he and his
co-author relied on the New Testament Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John, as well as the diaries of St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824)
and Mary of Agreda's "The City of God." Gibson doesn't want this
to be like other sterilized religious epics. "I'm trying to access
the story on a very personal level and trying to be very real about it."
- So committed to realistically portraying what many would
consider the most important half-day in the history of the universe, Gibson
even shot the film in the Aramaic language of the period. In response to
objections that viewers will not be able to understand that language, Gibson
said, "Hopefully, I'll be able to transcend the language barriers
with my visual storytelling; if I fail, I fail, but at least it'll be a
- To further insure the accuracy of the work, Gibson has
enlisted the counsel of pastors and theologians, and has received rave
reviews. Don Hodel, president of Focus on the Family, said, "I was
very impressed. The movie is historically and theologically accurate."
Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and
president of the National Evangelical Association, glowed: "It conveys,
more accurately than any other film, who Jesus was."
- During the filming, Gibson, a devout Catholic, attended
Mass every morning because "we had to be squeaky clean just working
on this." From Gibson's perspective, this movie is not about Mel Gibson.
It's bigger than he is. "I'm not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor,"
he said. "But I really feel my career was leading me to make this.
The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing
traffic. I hope the film has the power to evangelize."
- Even before the release of the movie, scheduled for March
2004, Gibson is getting his wish. "Every- one who worked on this movie
was changed. There were agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity...[and]
people being healed of diseases." Gibson wants people to understand
through the movie, if they don't already, the incalculable influence Christ
has had on the world. And he grasps that Christ is controversial precisely
because of WHO HE IS - GOD incarnate. "And that's the point of my
film really, to show all that turmoil around him politically and with religious
leaders and the people, all because He is Who He is."
- Gibson is beginning to experience first hand just how
controversial Christ is. Critics have not only speciously challenged the
movie's authenticity, but have charged that it is disparaging to Jews,
which Gibson vehemently denies. "This is not a Christian vs. Jewish
thing. '[Jesus] came into the world, and it knew him not.' Looking at Christ's
crucifixion, I look first at my own culpability in that." Jesuit Father
William J. Fulco, who translated the script into Aramaic and Latin, said
he saw no hint of anti-Semitism in the movie.
- Fulco added, "I would be aghast at any suggestion
that Mel Gibson is anti- Semitic." Nevertheless, certain groups and
some in the mainstream press have been very critical of Gibson's "Passion."
The New York Post's Andrea Peyser chided him: "There is still time,
Mel, to tell the truth." Boston Globe columnist James Carroll denounced
Gibson's literal reading of the biblical accounts.
- "Even a faithful repetition of the Gospel stories
of the death of Jesus can do damage exactly because those sacred texts
themselves carry the virus of Jew hatred," wrote Carroll. A group
of Jewish and Christian academics has issued an 18-page report slamming
all aspects of the film, including its undue emphasis on Christ's passion
rather than "a broader vision." The report disapproves of the
movie's treatment of Christ's passion as historical fact. The moral is
that if you want the popular culture to laud your work on Christ, make
sure it either depicts Him as a homosexual or as an everyday sinner with
no particular redeeming value (literally).