Now witness the coming of the movie version of "The DaVinci Code." Think of it as the anti-"Passion." In one film, Jesus was Lord; in the other, Jesus was not only merely mortal, he was the center of an elaborate fraud. In one film, Jesus founded his Church at the Last Supper; in the other, the Catholic Church unfolds as a secretive, murderous, thoroughly evil conspiracy. So what's Hollywood's take? The reaction to this movie is almost the exact opposite of what Gibson received.
The studios reacted quickly, with Sony lapping up the film. The network news divisions have acted like devoted puppies, with Matt Lauer planning to go "On the Road with the Code" for NBC. ABC has held "DaVinci Code" contests on its morning show. Denying the divinity of Jesus -- the central tenet of Christianity -- is just fun and games, grins and giggles.
No one has singled out "DaVinci Code" author Dan Brown for his anti-religious and anti-Catholic bigotry. No one put him in amateur therapy. Since he was Sony's hired gun, no one assaulted director Ron Howard for his religious beliefs -- even if (or especially because) his acceptance of this job suggests he has no problem directing a film smearing Jesus or the Catholic Church.
Film critics and political commentators have been largely silent, in part because Sony has been so secretive with the film. When Gibson was slow to show his film to non-Christian audiences before its release, critics railed, but Sony is receiving no guff for anything it does with this film. Where is Frank Rich? The New York Times columnist was a major mudslinger on Mel Gibson's path, but try to find a word he's written on "The DaVinci Code."
The media assembled no stable of professors to question the historical authenticity of "The DaVinci Code," which is ironic, since its claims to non-fiction absolutely collapse within minutes of exploration. Instead, ABC News devoted an hour a few years ago to the show's shoddy claims and "legends," focusing almost exclusively on the experts trying to support it.
No one has predicted mass violence from the Christian faithful for this film's denial of the Christ, which is odd. If they were willing to riot for "The Passion," shouldn't they be much readier to rumble after this flick finishes smearing Jesus and his Church? Unlike Gibson's film, this movie took no courage to make.
Certainly, no one accused Dan Brown or Sony of "marketing Jesus," since they're going to be making millions by pouring mud on Our Lords. Hostility or indifference to Christianity is just another day at the office for today's titans of popular culture.