Editorial: Gibson's Film Won't Change Accomplishments of Religious Pluralism

February 26, 2004

Source: The Washington Post


On February 26, 2004 The Washington Post published an editorial on Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ," noting that the film's "overall impression is neither subtle nor complicated: The Jews conned unwilling Roman authorities into killing Jesus.

With this unfortunate portrayal, Mr. Gibson sweeps away decades of serious efforts by Christian leaders -- particularly since World War II -- to understand the Gospel narrative in ways that don't inspire ethnic and religious hatred. It is no small accomplishment of American religious pluralism that few Christians regard the Jews who live among them as responsible for the death of God -- and that few Jews fear their Christian neighbors bear them such ill will. One movie will not change that, of course. But it doesn't help to have a box-office draw emphasizing precisely the theological position that many church leaders have strived to turn away from. And one has to worry as well how such a movie might inflame prejudice in countries where anti-Semitism has not been as decisively rejected as it has been here."