December 19, 2004


2004: The Year of 'The Passion' (FRANK RICH, 12/19/04, NY Times)

In Newsweek's "Birth of Jesus" holiday cover article — not to be confused with Time's competing "Secrets of the Nativity" cover — a poll found that 84 percent of American adults call themselves Christian, 82 percent see Jesus as the son of God, and 79 percent believe in the Virgin Birth. Though by a far slimmer margin, the presidential election reinstalled a chief executive who ostentatiously invokes a Christian Almighty. As for "The Passion of the Christ," it achieved the monetary landslide of a $370 million domestic gross (second only to the cartoon saviors Shrek and Spider-Man).

Yet if you watch the news and listen to certain politicians, especially since Election Day, you'll hear an ever-growing drumbeat that Christianity is under siege in America. Like Mr. Gibson, the international movie star who portrayed himself as a powerless martyr to a shadowy anti- Christian conspiracy in the run-up to the release of "The Passion," his fellow travelers on the right detect a sinister plot — of secularists, "secular Jews" and "elites" — out to destroy the religion followed by more than four out of every five Americans.

We've lost track of how many timesd in 2004 Mr. Rich used his prominent column in Americas leading paper to attack Christians generally, Mel Gibson specifically, and The Passion--for which Mr. Gibson had trouble finding a distributor--directly. The plot obviously isn't secret--it's quite public and the Times helps lead it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2004 9:04 AM


You nailed it. We can take this slowly and refute Rich in five words:

"Couldn't. Find. A. Major. Distributor."

Posted by: Matt Murphy at December 19, 2004 10:30 PM