Friday, March 3

Religion: Love the Film, Hate the Sin? Christians Debate

I just heard today about the "End of the Spear" controversy with the lead actor,Chad Allen, who happens to be an openly gay activist. Now, it seems that many Christian groups are calling for a boycott of the film. Dennise Washington over at ColoringGirl asks some really good questions people of faith need to be considering.
It is a requirement that everyone on the set be a Christian and espouse to the same beliefs as the production company? If so, not a lot of movies will be made.
Newsweek has a story on the details. They describe the Christian response to the film as "The schizophrenic." I hate to say it, but it sounds accurate.
When the movie's producers offered the part to Allen, who currently attends a Christian congregation, they didn't know he was gay. (The producers aren't exactly the target audience for The Advocate, which put Allen on the cover when he came out in 2001.) Ultimately, the decision to leave Allen in the role was left up to the man the movie is based on, Steve Saint, since Allen was set to play Steve—and his slain father—in the film. "My dad was my hero, and the thought of someone playing him that advocates that lifestyle made me very uncomfortable," says Saint. "But I realized it wasn't for me to condone or to condemn what Chad does or doesn't do. That is God's prerogative. And I feel that God had his hand in setting up this complex scenario for Chad to play this part."
Newsweek reported that there are 100 pastors that came out against it--I wonder who are these pastors? Are they mainstream, large congregation, leaders? With the THOUSANDS of churches in this country, there are plenty of diversity. I would think that most Christians would not necesarily see a problem with a film producer hiring another human being--of course, a sinner like anyone else--to play a lead role.
Not everyone agrees that Allen is God-sent. Janz recently got more than 100 pastors to join him in signing a letter to the movie's producers saying that they couldn't in good conscience support the film. There is, however, one upside to having Allen in the movie. "I'm absolutely sure we're having people check it out that never would have gone to a 'Christian' movie," says Allen. "I went with 30 of my close friends, and we walked away having these amazing spiritual conversations together." Which is exactly what both Saints were trying to do in that Amazon jungle.
I agree--it sounds to me that with Allen in the movie, and now all of this hoopla, the movie will get a more diverse audience that would benefit from a message of love and redemption.

From Dennis:
Instead of supporting the film regardless of the decision by the producer who is Christian, we shoot our own. Do we trust his decision making which was a hard one to make? (just heard his story at a Christian media conference last week) Even Steve Saint supported the decision. And, support doesn't mean they condone homosexuality.
I truly hope the movie does well in DVD sales.

Tags: Religion, Jesus, Politics, Spirituality, Christian, Bible, Church, Movies, News, Culture,