In the commentary and posturing I've read about Mel Gibson's drunken slur against the Jewish people and his incredible hubris about his power and position while driving under the influence of stardom, some things have been left out.
Maybe I'll sound like an old fogy or some reincarnated Puritan by asking this, but what was a married man with seven children doing in a bar until 2 a.m. with young women hanging all over him? Why do people who get caught doing something wrong - we used to have standards for determining such things - always blame alcohol, or abuse as a child, or temporary insanity, or a mental lapse that is not indicative of "who I really am," or a force beyond them ("the devil made me do it") to absolve themselves of personal moral guilt? Commentators seem to care more about the offense to Jews than Gibson's offense to his wife and children and to the idea of what it means to be married ("forsaking all others").
Gibson's latest rant was not an aberration influenced by booze. Other statements he's made about other groups and individuals, while presumably sober, indicate a pattern. Two years ago, Frank Rich wrote a column in The New York Times about Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" movie. In it, Rich suggested the film could encourage anti-Semitism. Gibson told The New Yorker magazine, "I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog."
In a 1995 Playboy interview, Gibson said of a British author who published an unauthorized Gibson biography, "I don't think God will put him in my path. He deserves death."
No honest person can say he, or she, has never felt bigotry against a person or group of people based on race, gender, sexual practices, language, ethnicity or faith. Most of us control it and acknowledge it as a flaw we all share. But most of us, it is hoped, don't harbor such feelings for long, or let them fester to the point where they become a moral infection that colors our views of an entire group. Gibson must do more than spend time with Jews, or contribute money to Jewish causes to find absolution.
Also absent from the discussion about Gibson is his membership in a profession that has a long history of bigotry against certain faiths, political persuasions and individuals who go against the political tide of most in the Hollywood film community. Jewish writers like Michael Medved and Donald Feder have chronicled numerous instances of anti-Christian bias and bigotry in Hollywood. "The Da Vinci Code," "Saved" and "Priest" are only three contemporary examples.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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