Is anybody really enraged by the alleged Mel Gibson controversy? Let us understand a couple basic principles from the beginning: 1) it is never justified or proper to practice anti-semitism; 2) you cannot believe everything you hear and read out of Hollywood.
I’m tired of hearing about the outrage over Mel Gibson’s behavior. Don’t believe all these outraged people’s claims that Mel is finally “showing his true colors.” That’s the kind of sensationalist trash generated by people predisposed to a certain bias.
Let’s break this down to its most simple, common denominator. This “controversy” revolves around history – the historical events of the pastÂ six thousand years. It began with the Jews being God’s chosen people. That’s not to say that Jews are superior in any way to the rest of us (I am not Jewish), but they are chosen.
For all those misguided souls out there, Jesus was born a Jew. Before you begin to reject Christianity because of historical mistreatment of Jews, know that this is absolutely true: the Christian faith is founded upon the belief that God showed favor to the Jews and chose to make his only son a Jew.
Throughout the New Testament, the Jews are blessed and loved. It is an immutable truth of the Christian faith that God has called Gentile Christians to bless and love the Jews. It is because they rejected Jesus that we as Gentiles even received a chance at the faith. It is by one nation’s failure that the world has the opportunity to be saved. We cannot hold Israel (historical or contemporary) in contempt for this opportunity. Paul, the apostle responsible for writing 2/3 of the New Testament, urges us to support Christian leaders in Israel and to speak a blessing over them.
Jewish objectors to The Passion of the Christ take offense to an absent anti-Semitic message they have read into the script. Such a message simply isn’t there. It’s not anti-semitic to state that a Jewish man was rejected by his countrymen and crucified. It would only be anti-semitic if we were to conclude that the only race capable of such impropriety and malice is the Jew. But that simply isn’t true. Jews are not unfairly singled out in the film. It is a Jewish story. The characters are by necessity Jews. The protagonist and the antogonists are Jews. You cannot be much more balanced than that.
That is not the true source of today’s objections, however. The source of today’s Jewish objections to The Passion of the Christ and Mel Gibson is the actual mistreatment of Jews by self-proclaimed Christians in the centuries between the Apostle Paul and today.
People claiming to be Christians (though practicing very little of the doctrine and lifestyle illustrated by Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles) began to harbor bitterness towards Jews because they had crucified Jesus. It was a completely senseless thing to be angry over. In essence, the Gentile “Christians” were blaming the Jews for providing Gentiles with an opportunity for salvation. They were so angry by this opportunity that they felt the need to slander, attack, and destroy the Jews for such heinous behavior.
I doubt that history could point us to another people group more oppressed than the Jews. It always came from somewhere. But even the mistaken beliefs of thousands cannot create truth out of thin air. The scriptures still read the same as they did before any Christian anti-semitism existed. We are commanded to love, to serve, to lay our lives down for our neighbor.
I cannot speak for every self-proclaimed Christian. As people, we are entitled to believe whatever we want or have been trained to believe. I do not know what was in Mel Gibson’s heart when he made those statements. What I do know is that he had endured slander and pressure from Jews to alter or simply scrap The Passion of the Christ before completion. Mel Gibson dealt with a lot of people saying harsh things to him.
Perhaps Gibson’s critical words stemmed from resentment born towards those who had made the making of this film into a painful ordeal. Perhaps he truly does harbor some racism in his heart. I cannot know. But I definitely cannot take someone’s word that Mel Gibson is a hateful man simply because they now have some ammunition to use against him.
I have said many hurtful things to people in my anger and pain. Lashing out is a defensive stance. My point is simply that there are many reasons to account for why a person says what he or she says. We simply don’t know the issues of a person’s heart. We never do. We either believe or disbelieve what we hear. That is all.
Please be careful who you choose to believe. Mel Gibson’s work speaks of beliefs far more noble than those which he has been recently accused.