02 August 2006

The Crucifixion of Mel Gibson

Hollywood is outraged over Mel Gibson’s behavior. The orthodox Roman Catholic actor, already ostracized for his independent production of The Passion of the Christ, was arrested this past week for drunk driving. But what outraged the politically correct Left Coast Hollywood establishment even more was Mr Gibson’s anti-Semitic statements during his arrest. Together with what they consider the anti-Semitic nature of The Passion, Mr Gibson is now branded an anti-Semite. The media are talking of serious repercussions for the actor, such as becoming ineligible for awards.

I am the last one in the world to condone either the drunk driving or the anti-Semitic remarks, but it seems that Hollywood is a little too trigger happy here. Mr Gibson admits his bad behavior and is repentant. He does not deny his anti-Semitic remarks but has given the very plausible remark that the booze was doing the talking and that he disgraced his family by “saying things he does not believe to be true.”

Mr Gibson will be punished for the drunk driving by the proper authorities. Let’s not call for the public crucifixion of a drunk man merely on basis of the incoherent statements made by him in that state of intoxication, no matter how offensive they may have been. I certainly do not believe that we can now somehow piece together evidence that proves Mel Gibson is a congenital anti-Semite. All the arguments I have heard in favor of that proposal were based on the notion that The Passion of the Christ was offensive to Jews because it portrayed the Jews as guilty for Christ’s crucifixion.

I have not seen the movie (out of principle: I consider visual portrayals of God the Son as a violation of the second commandment), but neither have most of Mr Gibson’s accusers. Yet reading the New Testament account, I can only come to the conclusion that while the Romans did the actual crucifying, the Jewish crowd forced Pontius Pilate’s hand even while he was ready to acquit Jesus. Surely, it would not be disingenuous to attach some guilt to that behavior? That means that Mr Gibson’s portrayal of the events—at least in this respect—is merely biblical and factual and can lead to no conclusions about his personal views. Unless one wanted to accuse all Christians of being anti-Semites? Ah, there’s the rub with Hollywood liberals.

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