Sunday, February 22, 2004
Hutton Gibson smackdown.
The head of the National Council of the Churches of Christ — the leading ecumenical organization in the United States, representing 36 mainline Protestant and Orthodox denominations — blasts Mel Gibson's father, whose anti-Semitism is sadly beyond dispute:
Speaking on behalf of the National Council of Churches, I condemn in the strongest terms the recent anti-Semitic remarks of Hutton Gibson, father of film producer Mel Gibson, including his bizarre assertion that the Holocaust did not occur. The Holocaust is a tragic historical fact.
The elder Gibsonís comments are offensive in the extreme, not only to Jews, but also to all persons of good will. I understand that Hutton Gibson has made similar remarks in the past. However, the controversy surrounding Mel Gibsonís film ďThe Passion of the ChristĒ now has attracted substantial media attention to his fatherís vitriolic tirade and it must not stand unchallenged.
The leadership of the Councilís 36 member denominations, who are the spiritual leaders of some 50 million U.S. Christians, deplore hate speech of any kind. Along with them I work toward a nation in which interfaith harmony and understanding among all our people may grow and flourish.
The National Council of Churches has also prepared a list of resources to help congregations talk about anti-Semitism, the Passion, and Mel Gibson's movie. But if you're somehow sitting around in a fog about what the fuss and bother is about, I urge you to start with Newsday's transcript of a Feb. 16 talk-radio interview with Hutton Gibson, scheduled for broadcast tomorrow night. Obviously the man is off his rocker, but his opinions aren't caused by senility: He was making these outrageously offensive and classically anti-Semitic statements years ago.
From the Philocrites archives, here's some past coverage of Mel Gibson's controversial film:
Subtitling the Gospel (7.26.03): Why would an "historically accurate" movie about Jesus' death include dialogue in Latin and scenes dreamed up by a 19th-century stigmatic nun? Plus, call me prescient: "Gibson isn't really interested in defusing concerns about the movie's anti-Semitism. Instead he has made the right-wing rebuttal to The Last Temptation of Christ, a rallying point for Christians — anti-Vatican II Catholics and fundamentalist Protestants, a weird mix — who can get a whole lot of mileage out of pissing off the secular and liberal elite."
Preemptive strike (8.3.03): Frank Rich reminds us that Mel Gibson started complaining in public about "Jewish critics" before his movie had attracted any. Hmm . . . (Here's the International Herald Tribune version of Rich's essay.)
Greatest story ever sold (9.22.03): Mel Gibson told the New Yorker that he "wanted [Frank Rich's] intestines on a stick" after Rich criticized his p.r. campaign the first time. Here's some of Rich's reply.
Another cruciflick (9.29.03): Contrary to some of Gibson's supporters, the Anti-Defamation League isn't out to get all conservative Christian portrayals of Jesus' death. Consider the ADL's response to The Gospel of John, marketed exclusively to evangelicals in the South last fall.
Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 22 February 2004 at 7:04 PM