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A Tale of Two Hollywoods
by Bruce Walker
10 October 2003Mel Gibson

Why did Hollywood come to hate religion?


The elitist snit over The Passion has everything with anti-theism and nothing to do with anti-Semitism. Once Hollywood -- Old Hollywood -- produced films which exalted the gentle role of faith in our lives and that decried the consequence of people rejecting the principles of their faith.

Fiddler on the Roof is a poignant story of Jewish survival in Tsarist Russia; the villains are Christians who ignore Christian ethics by mistreating Jews for being Jews. Exodus shows how Christians ignored Christ’s injunction to care for others by their indifference to the plight of post-Holocaust Jewry.  Gentleman’s Agreement is a commentary on bigoted Christians sneering at people who entered the world, like Jesus, as Jews. 

Faithless Christians, not the Christian faith, are the problem in the films. Why did these films not offend Christians? Because recognition of sin and repentance of sin is a central theme of Christianity. Persecution of Jews was never a precept of Christian faith, and America -- the best replication of the diversity of Christian faith -- is the best example of Christian sympathy for Jews. The lyrics to Exodus were written by a devout Christian and a patriotic American, Pat Boone.

Jews also celebrated the goodness of faithful Christians.  The studio system of Old Hollywood was dominated by Jews.  These men produced films like The Bells of St. Mary, Angels in the Outfield, The Sound of Music, Going My Way and Boy’s Town. Sympathy toward good Christians was reciprocated by these and many other grateful and patriotic Jews.  Honest appreciation of goodness of Christians was never considered to be a betrayal of Judaism.

Indeed, when Old Hollywood was flourishing (and when good films were being produced) Reform Judaism was being conformed into a noble attempt to reconcile the manifest goodness of both Judaism and Christianity.  The greatest Jewish theologian of the last century considered Christianity to be the Judaism of non-Jews -- the best path to God for those not of the Jewish faith.

American Jews not only appreciated the decency of American Christians, when they acted like Christians, but the Old Hollywood presented Jewishness in film.  One of the first talking films, The Jazz Singer, showed the tension between modernity and traditional Judaism, and showed a resolution to those conflicts.  Other films, like the Benny Goodman Story, showed Jews could be as bigoted toward Christians as Christians toward Jews.  These films treated faith faithfully.  People made moral choices, and those choices made with the knowledge of a loving God worked out best.

These moral ideas were perfected in Chariots of Fire, the story of a brave Jew overcoming the prejudices of un-Christian Christians and of a pious Christian overcoming equally daunting obstacles of deep piety for the Glory of God in a world that, after the horror of the Great War, turned away from God. Without pulling punches, Chariots of Fire celebrates the Judeo-Christian heritage.

Why did Hollywood come to hate religion? Marx replaced God.  Marxists replaced faithful people. This new and dreadful Hollywood sought to divide us from God and from our common humanity as creatures of God. Because God trumps every petty nastiness of life, He became the principal foe of New Hollywood.

New Hollywood began to produce films like Agnes of God and The Last Temptation of Christ, which mocked Christianity with the venom no different from the treatment Jews received in Nazi propaganda films.  No goodness was allowed serious Christians and no accusation was too vile to make against Christianity.

New Hollywood also mocked Judaism. King David showed Richard Gere degenerating into a bitter agonistic by the end of his life, and even nice productions like The Prince of Egypt reduced God to a bit player.  Nominal Jews like Woody Allen made films that were sentimental toward Jewishness, but coldly indifferent toward Judaism.  

As Michael Medved, film critic and observant Jew, notes in his documentary Hollywood Hates Religion, even remakes of old classics like Cape Fear and We’re No Angels were edited to introduce anti-theistic themes which were absent from the original version or to remove God from the remake.

The Passion does not portray Jews as bad.  It portrays some Jews as good and some Jews as bad. Other noble films have portrayed some Christians as good and some Christians as bad.  This is consistent with both Christian and Jewish theology. Indeed, it is in many ways the salient characteristic of Judeo-Christian faith.

Stories in which God is present require moral judgments.  The Judeo-Christian tradition is based upon the pivotal role of God in our decisions. The Passion, Torah, Jesus and the Blessed Creator of the Universe are not the cause of misery in the world. The Christian who does not believe in Christ and the Jew who does not believe in Torah are the shadows of evil in the world.   

Those who embrace anti-theism like secular JINOs (Jews in name only) have leveraged one of the worst crimes of the Twentieth Century -- that part of Nazi democide which murdered six million innocent Jews -- into a voodoo hex on Christianity and into an attempted transformation of Judaism from a great faith into a Holocaust cult. 

Others who embrace anti-theism like CINOs (Christians in name only) have diluted Christian theology into weak broth drained of divine purpose. Jesus, God Incarnate to Christians, is infinitely malleable to CINOs. The Passion offends self-deified CINOs and JINOs, and like Torah, it proposes evidence of something vastly greater than them in human affairs. 

CINOs and JINOs find God inconvenient. They wish Him to vanish.  If He did, if we forgot Him, then these CINOs and JINOs would act as if nothing was more important than them. Torah and Christ, however, have not vanished just because secular elites have willed it so.  

New Hollywood does not care if faith dies or  if America disintegrates or if paganism and tribalism swallow mankind.  New Hollywood fears only a living God who will make a reckoning of those who sought Him and with those who have rejected Him.  God forgives the repentant, but the unrepentant -- the CINOs and JINOs who deplore the existence of a Blessed Creator -- place themselves beyond His love, and place themselves beyond redemption.

Bruce Walker's articles can be found at the Conservative Truth
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