Wednesday, March 24, 2004

George F. Will: Modern anti-Semitism
(Published 2:15 a.m. PST Thursday, February 26, 2004)

WASHINGTON -- It used to be said that anti-Catholicism was the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals. Today, anti-Semitism is the anti-Semitism of the intellectuals.

Not all intellectuals, of course. And the seepage of this ancient poison into the intelligentsia -- always so militantly modern -- is much more pronounced in Europe than here. But as anti-Semitism migrates across the political spectrum from right to left, it infects the intelligentsia, which has leaned left for two centuries...

Wednesday's release of Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ" has catalyzed fears of resurgent anti-Semitism. Some critics say the movie portrays the governor of Judea -- Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect responsible for the crucifixion -- as more benign and less in control than he actually was, and ascribes too much power and malignity to Jerusalem's Jewish elite....

Fears about the movie exacerbating religiously motivated anti-Semitism are missing the larger menace -- the upsurge of political anti-Semitism. Like traditional anti-Semitism, but with secular sources and motives, the political version, which condemns Jews as a social element, is becoming mainstream, and chic among political and cultural elites, mostly in Europe..."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Upon Seeing the Passion

Tonight I saw the movie. I do not think I will ever view Isaiah 53 the same. For me, all the hype and controversy, positive and negative, tended to get in the way of just seeing and fully appreciating the movie for what it is. All the hype leads to expectations about the movie that are not realistic. I may go see it again just to be able to appreciate it for what it is.

At the end of the movie, my daughter, her friend, and I sat there in silence. The Passion is a profoundly personal story. He did that, and went through all that for me. If you see this movie, do not lose sight of that fact or you will miss it all.

A secondary emphasis in this movie is the suffering of Mary. She watched her son and her Lord suffer and die for her. What ever Gibson's intent, the way Mary is included in this movie has nothing to do with any peculiar Roman Catholic view of Mary. Her inclusion does have everything to do with her being a mother whose son was also her Saviour. All generations, Protestants included, will call her blessed.

The personification of the devil, though apocryphal, was effective. The enemy was there; that father of all lies, the slanderer. And it is not apocryphal to say that at the cross Satan was defeated, and the proof of his defeat is found in the resurrection.

Should you go see this movie? It is not for me to tell if you should or not. I will say it is not a movie for young children, or even young teens. There is a reason it is R rated. I choose to go not because anyone said I "have to" see this movie. Nor did I plan on staying away just because somebody was bad-mouthing and trashing it. I choose to see it for myself, and I may well go see it again.

No one "has" to see this movie. But if you do, then set aside all the hype and expectations and let the story that is told tell itself. And amidst whatever was inaccurate or apocryphal, see the true story that is the climatic highpoint of His Story.

In His love and joy,

~ The Billy Goat ~