Monday, July 31, 2006

The End of a Film Career

All told, I've seen a grand total of one Mel Gibson movie, What Women Want (2000). I liked it.

The Passion of the Christ, the Gibson film people might expect me to have seen, never appealed to me, although many folks I know have seen it and enjoyed it.

At the time of the latter film's release, there were accusations of anti-semitism lodged against Gibson. I had no bases for judging those allegations, although I remember thinking at the time that the charge seemed like one of a long string of abuses to which he was subjected for making a film that focused so tightly and overtly on Jesus Christ. I also wondered if Gibson was being convicted of guilt by association, owing to his father's well-known ferocity as an anti-semite.

Now, however, comes apparent confirmation that the film actor and director spewed all sorts of anti-semitic remarks to a police officer after being pulled over for allegedly driving while intoxicated.

A few thoughts...
While there have been anti-semites within the Christian Church through the centuries, it's unfathomable that anyone who confesses Christ as Lord could harbor such notions. Jesus was Jewish, after all. Every one of the early Christians, including Peter and Paul, were Jews.

In addition, the idea that the Jews were specifically responsible for the killing of Jesus is contrary to the teaching of the Bible. There, we're told that the sins of the entire world--including my sins--were responsible for His execution. It was to atone for the sins of Jews and Gentiles that Jesus submitted to the cross.

From what I've said already, it follows that Gibson's alleged drunken accusation that Jews have caused every war is also inconsistent with what Christians are taught in Scripture.

If the allegations of these statements by Gibson are true, his film career is undoubtedly over. Most people are unlikely to ever again be interested in what he does on film.

There are such things as repentance and forgiveness, of course. I believe that all sin is of equal gravity and all sin is equally susceptible to the forgiveness offered us in Jesus Christ. There are fresh starts and new chances for those who turn from their sin and entrust themselves to Christ. I couldn't wake up in the morning if I didn't believe in these things. And if I believe them for myself, I must also believe them for Mel Gibson.

But, for the human race generally, irrational prejudice of the sort Gibson is alleged to have voiced often leaves too many scars to ever be removed through the PR equivalent of plastic surgery.

Even if the mea culpa issued by his publicist represents genuine repentance, Gibson may never be able to obliterate the suspicion that the prejudices he ostensibly vented the other night reflect a sick and sickening view of the world on his part.

It's sad. His position may be like the woman described at the beginning of this post.

[UPDATE: I agree that we all should keep Mel Gibson in prayer. Who can say what role alcoholism may play in his apparent anti-semitism?]

[Thanks to Terry Hull of Terra Extraneus for linking to this post.]


emesselt said...


Thanks for the reminder to keep Gibson in prayer. From what I can observe, he seems to be an authentic follower of Jesus, though imperfect - like the rest of us. It is helpful to remind us that when one of us is wounded, it is not Christ-like to shot our wounded. BTW, a reminder to those who might land on Gibson's Catholosism that Martin Luther said some rather uncharitable things about Jews in his later years. Anti-Semitism is a sin, but it can get its hold on even the best of us.
Blessings on you, Mark.

Mark Daniels said...

You're right to point out that, wonderful though he was in many ways, Martin Luther could be a terrible anti-semite, as was characteristic of the culture of his day.

In 1993, I was a voting member of the ELCA Churchwide Assembly at which we formally repudiated Luther's slurs, renouncing them as inconsistent with our perspective as Lutheran Christians.

Thanks for your comments.

Blessings in Christ,

bernie said...

I doubt this is enough to kill a career in Hollywood, but you are correct that despite the previous history of anti-Semitism in the Church, what is important today is that Christians treat Jews and others as Jesus teaches us all how we should treat our fellow man.

I linked to your article from mine: I forgive Mel Gibson - Passion of the Cristal