Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Gibson Is Hollywood's 'Worst Nightmare,' Says Author

  • Randall Murphree AgapePress
  • 2004 5 Oct
Gibson Is Hollywood's 'Worst Nightmare,' Says Author

Gary North is certain of a couple of things regarding Mel Gibson and his blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ." First, Gibson has sent the entertainment media a clear message. Second, the liberal media establishment and their humanist groupies are running scared.

"Mel Gibson is their worst nightmare," writes North. "The Passion" premiered on Ash Wednesday, February 25, garnering $23 million in first-day sales, and $117 million in its first five days. It sold 4.1 million DVD copies its first day.

It offends Hollywood for several reasons. Chief among them, it is an affront to liberal theology, and it threatens to usurp their control over a culture they've so craftily contrived over the last half century. North writes, "The movies have been crowbars that Hollywood's humanists have used for a generation to pry Americans away from their first principles: religious, moral and cultural."

He says "The Passion" is "the most important recent event in the history of the American culture war." One more thing he's sure of is that the Christian community faces a challenge and an opportunity like never before – the chance to counter Hollywood's anti-Christian campaign with artistic yet accurate screen adaptations of the gospel.

Charges of Porn, Sadomasochism, 'Gay' Art

Secular reviewers began writing about "The Passion" as early as seven months before its release. North says it created this piranhic frenzy early in the process because most secular reviewers swim in synchronized formation with Hollywood's elite. They were eager to discredit the film as quickly as possible.

The cacophony of the critics' cries reached high tide in the days leading up to the movie. Media outlets were flooded with charges that "The Passion" was a gay sadomasochistic film, was pornographic, was a "snuff" film and more. North cites the following examples:

  • A.O. Scott – "[T]his film ... shifts from horror-movie suspense to slasher-film dread."
  • Frank Rich -- "With its laborious build-up to its orgasmic spurtings of blood and other bodily fluids, the film is constructed like nothing so much as a porn movie ...."
  • David Edelstein – "This is a two-hour-and six-minute snuff movie – the Jesus Chainsaw Massacre ...."
  • Christopher Hitchens – "[Gibson] has made a film that principally appeals to the gay Christian sadomasochistic community .... If you like seeing handsome young men stripped and tied up and flayed with whips, "The Passion of the Christ" is the movie for you."

North says the charges of "porn" and "slasher-film" were mere masks to conceal the writers' true motivation – a hatred for any God who doesn't leave the humanists in control of shaping culture.

"[T]hose who hate the God of the Bible also hate Christ, and those who hate Christ hate His disciples when they openly profess Christ as the only way to salvation," he writes. "There is no doctrine so reviled today by the humanists who dominate the media as the doctrine of final judgment by the God of the Bible."

North's Analysis Validated

While most secular writers echoed the insults above, Michael Medved, orthodox Jew and conservative commentator, praised the artistic excellence of "The Passion," as did Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Furthermore, one columnist had the integrity to be honest.

Writing in The Jewish Press, Charles Patterson said, "The trouble with Mel Gibson's film 'The Passion' that opens in more than 2,000 movie theaters on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 25) is not the film itself, but the gospel story on which it is based."

North believes humanist and media leaders are not only running scared these days, they're also running out of steam. Thus, he says it's time for Christians to carpe diem -- seize the day.

"The Great Commission included the redemption of culture," he writes. "It's time for Christians to begin engaging the culture and producing art that reflects the values of the faith.

"Mel Gibson represents what can be done by Christians," he says. "What Gibson has done on a grand scale, other Christians can do on a small scale."

And finally, these challenging words: "Money talks. Competence talks louder. Courage talks loudest of all."

Randall Murphree, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is editor of AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.

© 2004 AgapePress.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.