As a Christian, I will always be grateful to Mel Gibson for The Passion of the Christ. Throughout my life I've taken in the various attempts to portray different portions of the life of Jesus and have always been left just a little underwhelmed. The Passion struck deep and hard. I think every Christian believer who saw the film could say, "This is the story of my Lord. This is the cost of sin and the price of justice and holiness."
I am also grateful for the lasting value of art, because if Gibson were a politician, rather than an artist, he would have thrown away everything he'd built in one rage-filled gesture. Instead, the work stands and will remain a defining portrayal of Gospel events for many years.
What I am not grateful for is the contribution Gibson has made to the standing libel against people who take their Christian faith seriously. No matter how much proof is obtained via survey or real life experience, foundationless moralizers on the left will proclaim that everyone knows every Christian soul conceals an anti-semite obsessed with the way the Jews killed their Lord. The news media will continue to believe ridiculous stories like those suggesting the vice-presidential candidacy of Joseph Lieberman would harm Al Gore's prospects with Christian voters in 2000.
Gibson carried our banner for a little while and he let us down this time. I pray better things are ahead for a man who has, over the last few years, has proven he was so much more than anyone previously believed, and yet less as well.
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