Subject: Paul Harvey's Comments on The Passion
I know this is long, but it is definitely worth the time to read. I
can't wait to experience "The Passion". More positive
"buzz" on The Passion ... to be released in theaters Ash
Wednesday, February 25.
Paul Harvey Comments on "The Passion" by Mel Gibson. The
majority of the media are complaining about this movie. Now Paul Harvey
tells "The rest of the story" and David Limbaugh praises
Gibson. Most people would wait and see a movie before giving the reviews
that have been issued by the reporters trying to tell all of us what to
believe. Paul Harvey's words: I really did not know what to expect. I
was thrilled to have been invited to a private viewing of Mel Gibson's
film "The Passion," but I had also read all the cautious
articles and spin. I grew up in a Jewish town and owe much of my own
faith journey to the influence. I have a life long, deeply held aversion
to anything that might even indirectly encourage any form of
anti-Semitic thought, language or actions. I arrived at the private
viewing for "The Passion", held in Washington DC and greeted
some familiar faces.
The environment was typically Washingtonian, with people greeting you
with a smile but seeming to look beyond you, having an agenda beyond the
The film was very briefly introduced, without fanfare, and then the room
darkened. From the gripping opening scene in the Garden of Gethsemane,
to the very human and tender portrayal of the earthly ministry of Jesus,
through the betrayal, the arrest, the scourging, the way of the cross,
the encounter with the thieves, the surrender on the Cross, until the
final scene in the empty tomb, this was not simply a movie; it was an
encounter, unlike anything I have ever experienced.
In addition to being a masterpiece of film-making and an artistic
triumph, "The Passion" evoked more deep reflection, sorrow and
reaction within me than anything since my wedding, my ordination or the
birth of my children. Frankly, I will never be the same. When the film
this "invitation only" gathering of "movers and
shakers" in Washington, DC
were shaking indeed, but this time from sobbing. I am not sure there was
a dry eye in the place.
The crowd that had been glad-handing before the film was now eerily
silent. No one could speak because words were woefully inadequate.
We had experienced a kind of art that is a rarity in life, the kind that
makes heaven touch earth.
One scene in the film has now been forever etched in my mind. A
brutalized, wounded Jesus was soon to fall again under the weight of the
His mother had made her way along the Via Della Rosa. As she ran to him,
she flashed back to a memory of Jesus as a child, falling in the dirt
road outside of their home. Just as she reached to protect him from the
fall, she was now reaching to touch his wounded adult face. Jesus looked
at her with intensely probing and passionately loving eyes (and at all
of us through the screen) and said "Behold I make all things
new." These are words taken from the last Book of the New
Testament, the Book of Revelations.
Suddenly, the purpose of the pain was so clear and the wounds, that
earlier in the film had been so difficult to see in His face, His back,
indeed all over His body, became intensely beautiful. They had been
borne voluntarily for love.
At the end of the film, after we had all had a chance to recover, a
question and answer period ensued.
The unanimous praise for the film, from a rather diverse crowd, was as
astounding as the compliments were effusive. The questions included the
one question that seems to follow this film, even though it has not yet
even been released. "Why is this film considered by some to be
Frankly, having now experienced (you do not "view" this film)
"the Passion" it is a question that is impossible to answer. A
law professor whom I admire sat in front of me. He raised his hand and
responded "After watching this film, I do not understand how anyone
can insinuate that it even remotely presents that the Jews killed Jesus.
It doesn't." He continued "It made me realize that my sins
killed Jesus" I agree.
There is not a scintilla of anti-Semitism to be found anywhere in this
powerful film. If there were, I would be among the first to decry it. It
faithfully te! lls the Gospel story in a dramatically beautiful,
sensitive and profoundly engaging way.
Those who are alleging otherwise have either not seen the film or have
another agenda behind their protestations. This is not a
in the sense that it will appeal only to those who identify themselves
followers of Jesus Christ. It is a deeply human, beautiful story that
will deeply touch all men and women. It is a profound work of art.
Yes, its producer is a Catholic Christian and thankfully has remained
faithful to the Gospel text; if that is no longer acceptable behavior
than we are all in trouble. History demands that we remain faithful to
the story and Christians have a right to tell it. After all, we believe
that it is the greatest story ever told and that its message is for all
men and women. The greatest right is the right to hear the truth.
We would all be well advised to remember that the Gospel narratives to
which "The Passion" is so faithful were written by Jewish men
who followed a
Jewish Rabbi whose life and teaching have forever changed the history of
world. The problem is not the message but those who have distorted it
used it for hate rather than love. The solution is not to censor the
message, but rather to promote the kind of gift of love that is Mel
Gibson's filmmaking masterpiece, "The Passion."
It should be seen by as many people as possible. I
intend to do everything I
can to make sure that is the case. I am passionate about "The
will be as well. Don't miss it! This is a commentary by DAVID LIMBAUGH
Mel Gibson's very controversial movie regarding Christ's crucifixion.
It, too, is well worth reading.
MEL GIBSON'S passion for "THE PASSION"
How ironic that when a movie producer takes artistic license with
events, he is lionized as artistic, creative and brilliant, but when
takes special care to be true to the real-life story, he is vilified.
producer Mel Gibson is discovering these truths the hard way as he is
difficulty finding a United States studio or distributor for his
film, "The Passion," which depicts the last 12 hours of the
life of Jesus Christ.
Gibson co-wrote the script and financed, directed and
produced the movie.
For the script, he and his co-author relied on the New Testament Gospels
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the diaries of St. Anne
Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) and Mary of Agreda's "The City of
Gibson doesn't want this to be like other sterilized
religious epics. "I'm
trying to access the story on a very personal level and trying to be
real about it." So committed to realistically portraying what many
consider the most important half-day in the history of the universe,
even shot the film in the Aramaic language of the period. In response to
objections that viewers will not be able to understand that language,
said, "Hopefully, I'll be able to transcend the language barriers
visual storytelling; if I fail, I fail, but at least it'll be a
To further insure the accuracy of the work, Gibson has enlisted the
counsel of pastors and theologians, and has received rave reviews. Don
Hodel, president of Focus on the Family, said, "I was very
impressed. The movie is historically and theologically accurate."
Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and
president of the National Evangelical Association, glowed: "It
conveys, more accurately than any other film, who Jesus was."
During the filming, Gibson, a devout Catholic, attended Mass every
because "we had to be squeaky clean just working on this."
perspective, this movie is not about Mel Gibson. It's bigger than he is.
"I'm not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor," he said. "But
I really feel my career
was leading me to make this. The Holy Ghost was working through me on
this film, and I was just directing traffic. I hope the film has the
power to evangelize."
Even before the release of the movie, scheduled for
March 2004, Gibson is
getting his wish. "Everyone who worked on this movie was changed.
agnostics and Muslims on set converting to Christianity...[and] people
healed of diseases." Gibson wants people to understand through the
they don't already, the incalculable influence Christ has had on the
And he grasps that Christ is controversial precisely because of WHO HE
IS - GOD incarnate.
"And that's the point of my film really, to show all that turmoil
around him politically and with religious leaders and the people, all
because He is Who He is."
Gibson is beginning to experience first hand just how controversial
is. Critics have not only speciously challenged the movie's
but have charged that it is disparaging to Jews, which Gibson vehemently
denies. "This is not a Christian vs. Jewish thing. '[Jesus] came
world, and it knew him not.' Looking at Christ's crucifixion, I look
at my own culpability in that." Jesuit Father William J. Fulco, who
the script into Aramaic and Latin, said he saw no hint of anti-Semitism
the movie. Fulco added, "I would be aghast at any suggestion that
Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic."
Nevertheless, certain groups and some in the mainstream press have been
very critical of Gibson's "Passion."
The New York Post's Andrea Peyser chided him: "There is still time,
Mel, to tell the truth." Boston Globe columnist James Carroll
denounced Gibson's literal reading of the biblical accounts. "Even
a faithful repetition of the Gospel stories of the death of Jesus can do
damage exactly because those sacred texts themselves carry the virus of
Jew hatred," wrote Carroll. A group of Jewish and Christian
academics has issued an 18-page report slamming all aspects of the film,
including its undue emphasis on Christ's passion rather than "a
"The report disapproves of the movie's treatment of Christ's
passion as historical fact.
The moral is that if you want the popular culture to laud your work on
Christ, make sure it either depicts Him as a homosexual or as an
sinner with no particular redeeming value (literally). In our
culture, the blasphemous "The Last Temptation of Christ" is
celebrated and "The Passion" is condemned.
But if this movie continues to affect people the way it is now, no
amount of cultural opposition will suppress its force and its positive
impact on lives everywhere. Mel Gibson is a model of faith and courage.
Please copy this and send it on to all your friends to let them know
his film so that we'll all go see it when it comes out.