: I just saw the TV commercial for Mel Gibson’s Passion and I have to say it felt oddly, uncomfortably profane: Come see Christ die! Now!

Can’t wait until it’s out on DVD and they offer the uncut version.

: But seriously… In Germany, churches are fretting about the impact The Passion will have on antisemitism there, as well they should.

Germany’s Roman Catholic and Protestant churches joined the Jewish community Thursday in a rare joint declaration to warn that Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ” could fan anti-Semitism in Europe.

In their first joint statement in four years, the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the German Bishops Conference and the Protestant Church criticized the film that opened on Thursday in Germany for its “overly negative portrayal” of Jews.

“There is a danger the film will revive anti-Semitic prejudices,” they said.

“This is especially explosive in view of the situation in Europe with a noticeable increase in anti-Semitism. Whether its intention was anti-Semitic or not, there is a danger it could be used as anti-Semitic propaganda.”


: UPDATE: The test of The Passion‘s anti-Semitism is not how many lynchings, bombings, murders, graffiti-scrawlings it causes. That meme is spreading in the comments here and in plenty of places and so I’ll repeat my reply here.

The test, instead, is the critical — that is, subjective — judgment of the work itself: Is it anti-Semitic? I believe it is for reasons I made clear the day after it opened, when I saw it.

Now I do not believe that TV violence begets real-life violence. People who are going to go on mass-murder sprees are going to do that anyway and TV certainly cannot make them do it. So I discredit all those stupid stories of people copying TV or movies whenever they come out.

So if there are more anti-Semitic acts in Europe after the film opens, I would be the first to say that the film is not the cause, only the latest excuse.

Germany is, of course, a quite special case. There are restrictions on speech there that are understandable on one level. But at some point, they need to grapple with the fact that stopping someone from saying something anti-Semitic does not make them tolerant. These religious leaders are grappling with exactly that because of The Passion. They feel compelled to call anti-Semitism where they see it. And they see it in this film. And they should know it when they see it…