The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Religion, Chrstianity and God... Oh No!

I'm not a big moviegoer, at least not in the theaters. These days, if I really want to see a particular movie, I'd rather save the money and catch it later on Pay-Per-View or NetFlix. But I just might make an exception for a film that's currently getting a lot of press: Secretariat. Much of the buzz about this film is good and many reviews reflect positively on the film's underlying Christian theme. But many other reviewers just can't stand the fact that the movie actually appeals to "faith-based audiences." 

Disney has marketed the movie to Christian reviewers, telling them "The movie is directed by Randall  Wallace….Not only is Randall one of the most successful directors of all time, he is also a devout Christian." This, the Hollywood crowd tells us, is overt "pandering." Personally I think it's refreshing to be told in advance that a film might actually not offend me and be worth watching. 

Wallace, by the way, is both the director and screenwriter of Secretariat. He was also the screenwriter for Braveheart and directed We Were Soldiers, so it's not as if he lacks the credits. He is apparently very open about his faith and in a recent interview stated, "Jesus didn't argue doctrinal questions whenever he was asked a question. He almost always responded with story -- because the stories carry more truth than our philosophical arguments do."

The Catholic League didn't hesitate to take on some of the reviewers who complained vociferously about the film's "niceness" and "Ozzie and Harriet" view of American life. The most outrageous of these critics was -- Surprise! Surprise! -- Andrew O'Hehir who penned his screed for Salon. I've included the Catholic League's comments below:


October 8, 2010

The movie "Secretariat" is the subject of Catholic League president Bill Donohue's news release:

Kudos to movie critic Roger Ebert, as well as to John Nolte at, for lampooning film reviewer Andrew O'Hehir's feverish take on "Secretariat." It's not just the movie's Christian overtones that upset O'Hehir, it's the alleged racism—even Nazi-driven—aspects of this "honey-dipped fantasy vision of the American past" that gets his goat. Indeed, he says, "it's legitimate to wonder exactly what Christian-friendly and 'middle-American' inspirational values are being conveyed here." All this paranoia about a horse.

While O'Hehir's review is the most apoplectic, there are others who at least share his uneasiness with all matters Christian. The Sarasota Herald is not happy with the movies' "barely concealed religiosity" and "all the talk about 'lifting up.'" The New York Times notes its "Bible-thumping" elements, while says, "the film is bookended by quotes from the book of Job, interrupted by mystical shots of clouds and sunbeams, and even has a scene where the horse gets a rubdown scored to a gospel song." Newsday goes so far as to claim that the director "insists on turning the horse into Christ himself," and New York 1 opines "it's a bit much" to endure "passages from the Bible and playing gospel music." Similarly, complains the film "reeks" of "grandiosity," even to the extent of "using Old Testament quotations and gospel music."

By contrast, and the Los Angeles Times both noted the Christian aspects of the movie, but were wholly free of the condescending and scornful commentary that marked these other reviews. 

No doubt about it, Christianity clearly spooks many of our elites.
There were many other very positive reviews, enough at least to make me want to see the movie. Pass the popcorn, please...

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