Sunday, February 29, 2004

Letters on 'The Passion of The Christ'

Who killed Jesus? Look in the mirror

It seems that there is a great deal of concern that after viewing The Passion of The Christ, we will leave the theaters en masse, grab our pitchforks and torches, and storm the nearest synagogue, forgetting that the people inside are that lovely family up the street; the children with whom our children play; and the father with whom I have done business.

Anti-Semitism is evil. It is a curse that our church must never again tolerate. Unless our people remember the Christian message, the danger of its resurgence will exist. In all of the discussions that I have heard regarding this film, the question that is being posed is this: Who killed Christ?

When someone asks, "Who killed Christ?" there can only be one answer. It is the answer that all human beings, regardless of their faith, must give - I did.

Francis X. Harpen Sr., Clarksville, Ohio


Seize this chance to discuss our faiths

Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ challenges religious leaders committed to ecumenical outreach. Segments of the film may heighten misunderstanding by contradicting the spirit of the landmark achievements of Vatican Council II.

Rising above controversy, a group of Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy and lay leaders came together in Cincinnati to view and discuss the film with a spirit of mutual religious respect. We hope other interreligious discussions will take place where people of goodwill can share their views and grow in understanding.

Many Christian churches have created impressive study guides to place the film in a larger context. Some churches have issued statements about the dangers posed by religiously based anti-Semitism. The overwhelming majority of Americans seek to reach out across faith lines in friendship and respect.

On Prime Time (Feb. 16), Mel Gibson deplored anti-Semitism, describing his movie as one man's vision. He explained that in his view humanity in its entirety is responsible for the death of Jesus and salvation is possible for all God's children, not just some. Such statements are helpful and needed.

The release of the Gibson film has strengthened the resolve of those committed to a brighter future for interreligious harmony and collaboration.

Barbara Glueck, executive director, American Jewish Committee, Cincinnati Chapter


Remember Gibson's other works as well

Am I the only one who sees the irony in the free marketing for Mel Gibson, who made his fortune in the violent Mad Max and Lethal Weapon movies (not to mention showing his famous rear end)? It's safe to say none of those movies were endorsed by Christian organizations.

Now that Gibson claims to be a conservative, pre-Vatican II Catholic and spent his own money making The Passion of The Christ, should Christians support him? After he recoups his expenses, where will the profits go?

Chris Kroner, Westwood


Blame Adam, Eve before Jewish people

I have been reading about the concern of the Jewish people over The Passion of The Christ. Yes, Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate, who was moved by a Jewish crowd; but in reality Jesus had to die to redeem all mankind from sin. As a Christian, he died because of me. The Jewish people played a part in his crucifixion, but I cannot blame them. It was God's plan for salvation that his son, Jesus, had to die. If we are going to blame someone, let us blame Adam and Eve.

Robert Miller, Delhi Township


Is race of actor historically correct?

If The Passion of The Christ is historically accurate, why does it depict Jesus as a Caucasian?

Sam Lapin, Burlington


Story told in movie is the truth, period

Talk about propaganda. Regarding the article "Passion play director tries to adapt play to criticism" (Feb. 21), why don't we just rewrite the Bible? The story of The Passion of The Christ is not fiction. It is documented in the eternal word of Scripture - written by men who knew the truth.

The Bible has survived more than 2,000 years of criticism and doubt. What it tells us is that Jesus died at the hands of the Jews, in spite of Pilate's attempts to release him, to save all men and open the gates of heaven to those who believe - not everyone. Pilate was not in control of the crowd that insisted on the crucifixion of Christ. Let's stop changing history - and the Bible - to avoid the truth and prevent hurting someone's feelings.

John Siemer, North Bend

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