I finished watching The Passion of the Christ this afternoon (yah-boo Satan). Wept enough tears to refloat a sunken ship. And who knows, maybe in time I will prove to have done that.
Now, I'm not going to get into the theological questions that the movie provokes. I am proudly and deliberately ignorant of all that. But wasn't the film supposed to be packed with anti-Semitic sentiment? I'm sure I remember that being said when it came out in 2004. I was looking for it, but what I saw seemed to me a really balanced view of Jews and Romans. On both sides there were monsters, and those who saw the monstrousness of what was being done. And though Jesus' rising from the grave and ascending to Heaven could have been a story put about by his followers to perpetuate his ministry and stick it to the Roman occupier--you couldn't have blamed them (and may I stress to those who are incapable of reading between the lines, I'm not saying what I believe one way or the other)--isn't the crucifixion of Jesus a matter of historical fact? Sometimes we all do things we're not proud of, though selling out the Messiah to an occupying army is a worse one than most.
But whatever his more recent statements, Mel Gibson isn't saying, in The Passion, that the Jews killed Jesus. Just watch the film. He's saying that some of the Jews back then killed Jesus, along with a bunch of ignorant Roman sadists working under the authority of a self-indulgent, morally compromised Pontius Pilate. Which is pretty much the way it happened, isn't it?