Sunday, January 29, 2006

Christians boycott film -- Not that one!

I’ve mentioned how the Religious Right, while claiming an left-wing agenda, from Hollywood ignore recent films like End of the Spear and The Chronicles of Narnia both of which have Christian messages which does something to disprove their allegations.

But some Christians have found a reason to dislike End of the Spear in spite of its Christian message. It seems the American Taliban is in a dither because the man that was hired to star in the film is former child star/actor Chad Allen. And Allen is a terrible sinner because he’s gay. Over 100 mullahs left their pulpits, put down their Bibles and signed a petition expressing their “deep disappointment” over the casting.

Evangelical mullahs across America were given free tickets to the films so they could help orchestrate a campaign to attend the film and prove that God sells. But some of the more extreme mullahs were unhappy it wasn’t hard core enough and furious at the choice of Allen for the role.

Allen was offered the part because they felt he had the required talent but once they found out he was gay they wanted him off the job. But they had a problem in that they had already signed a contract with him. Of course you could imagine the ruckus if a mainstream film had refused to hire actors because they were practising Christians.

So the fundies behind the film had a dilemma. They couldn’t really fire him and they had to decide whether to try, and risk a major settlement for breach of contract, or to bite the bullet and make the film anyway. They chose the safe path and went ahead and then convinced themselves that God had been intervening and showing them signs that he, God, wanted Chad Allen in the part.

They were willing to go back on their word. They decided they’d let the family of the missionary, whose life is portrayed in the film, make the decision whether or not to fire Allen. The family evaded the issue by saying the producer of the film was put in charge of the film by God (see nothing happens that God doesn’t control). So they passed the buck back to hm. The producer said: “I wish I were able to articulate all the things that happened which led to me deciding God had, in fact, sent Chad to play the parts of Nate and Steve. It is very hard to share the ways the Lord leads especially when you can't fully grasp why He is doing things that don't make sense to the natural man. It is hard to see people have to defend a decision that I was responsible for, for people to have ugly things said about them because of a decision that I made. Why must others have to go through this when it wasn't their fault? I have total peace about the decision that was made. But I have to trust God for the others affected, as it is too big for me to handle. I must admit even though I wouldn't have thought so when I began the process, I have total peace Chad Allen was the man God intended to act in the movie, End of the Spear. I will be held accountable for this decision and I feel I have made the right decision.”

The producer is a real wacko. He was convinced that actors he couldn’t get for the film were denied him by his deity. So if this deity denied him some actors but he got Chad Allen that must mean that this god wanted Allen to play the role. Then he had a dream about the matter and that clinched it for him. So Chad Allen stayed in the film.

The fundie blog that revealed the “problem” has quite a few comments from those diagnosed with severe religiosity, a delusional state of mine where bigots convince themselves that their hatred is sanctioned by some supernatural being. And these Taliban converts are not buying the producer’s arguments. One fundie dismissed “some nebulous feeling” saying they should have cast the film by “God’s word” instead. Another accused the producer of thinking only of costs.

Another fundie says they should have refused him the part regardless. But to show how tolerant he is, he writes: “I personally don’t have a problem with non-Christians getting the part, but in this case it is someone who is not only unsaved, but lives in open rebellion to clear Bible principles and is an outspoken champion for that rebellion.” He just wants Bible nonsense to dominate all legal contracts instead.

The head mullah in this campaign says that: “Chad is not only gay, he flaunts his sexuality on the big screen.” That means he played a gay role in one film. They also insist that Allen, who is supposedly a Christian, is really anti-Christian. Again this is based on roles he was hired to play. He was in Save Me which is play about the antigay Christian “exgay” movement.

The mullahs were also upset that the film may expand “his fan base... especially among Christian kids”. If these young people then go to the Chad Allen fan site they will learn about “support groups for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans-gendered teens.” By the way one of the main groups that Allen helps support is a counselling like for suicidal gay teens. We sure wouldn’t want Christian kids, depressed by their churches teaching, fearful of their parents, and terrified they will be beat to death ala Matthew Shepherd, and who are suicidal, actually finding a hotline number where they can go to deal with that problem. Maybe their theory is “better a dead teen than a live homosexual”?

It takes only a simple web search to see that the fundie web sites and publications have exploded with the story. Now there are two things I noticed from this debate:

1.) Despite all the arguments from Christians on this controversy I’ve not seen one of them raise the main issue. No one seems to consider that a contract was signed with Allen and going back on it would show you can’t trust their word. None of the Christians whiners mention that. They seem to have no problem whatsoever about going back on their word and announcing that contracts with born again nutters mean absolutely nothing to them.

2.) For sometime they have said that it’s not gay people they hate but what they do and their “agenda”. This shows it is who they are. The film does not promote a gay “agenda” but a Christian one. And it’s still unacceptable to them because the actor is gay. When they say they “hate the sin but love the sinner” the fact is that they hate the “sinner” as well.


Blogger Publius II said...

I have a few things here that I agree with you on, and a few that I don't. First, End of the Spear isn't Hollywood. It's an indie film. So you can't really make the claim that it disproves across the board that Hollywood has an agenda.

Now, I WILL say that saying "all Hollywood" has an agenda is just as dumb, because every director/producer/film maker is different and they all have their own messages to convey.

I also will say that I think you're right about the retardedness of boycotting the film because the star is gay. If you're going boycott because of a star, boycott because he can't act.

I can understand why the film-makers would have a bit a struggle about it though, it happens all the time even in Hollywood. Usually it's because some chick that was playing a part on a TV show or something posed in some magazine in the nude. It's not been such a big deal lately, but it used to happen fairly frequently from what I remember. The bottom line in a situation like that is that some people have standards for their projects and the people associated with them. I have no problem with that.

Over all, I think they made the right call. You have a binding contract, so you have to abide by that. If you believe that the star is acting in an offensive manner, you aren't going to be doing anything about it by doing something offensive in response.

Had they found out before hand about his orientation, I would not have had a problem with them not hiring him. As I said, people have certain standards that they are free to uphold, no matter how low or how high.

I also wanted to comment on your interpretation of the producer's comments. I don't believe he ever said he had "a dream about the matter" as you stated. There are certain individuals who believe God talks to them in dreams, and I can't comment on that one way or the other, because he doesn't talk to me that way, but I don't think that's what the producer was saying. Most Christians that I know anyway, are content to act in the best manner possible, making their mistakes as they go along, and try not to make too many judgements about what everybody else is doing.

Was it a mistake to cast Chad Allen? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows. At any rate, he got cast and the film was pretty good for an indie film. He did a pretty good job of depicting Steve Saint, which was why he was hired, so as far as I'm concerned, I guess he was the right choice.

I'm not sure your last comment is a fair one either. I think it's very possible to "hate the sin, but not the sinner," as you rightly point out that they are fond of saying. It's a shame that there are a good number of fruit cakes out there that give rational people a bad name, by acting like they DO hate sinners.

January 30, 2006

Blogger Snooper said...

Pub: Let me reply to your comments one a time in the order you made them.

1. Yes, it is an indie film as are many of the films which these religious nutcases attack as part of the Hollywood plot. I am referring to how they see the world not how the world really is. And if you read their blogs, which I don't recommend, you will see that they think that Mr. Allen's homosexuality is just more proof of the Hollywood "agenda" in spite of it being an indie film. They do not make the distinction you make when they level their accusations. And that is what I am replying to so I am forced to use the same context they do in reply to their remarks.

2. I believe people have the right to hire anyone they want for any reason they want. Just as Mr. Allen would have the right to refuse to work for Christians I think christians have the right not to hire Mr. Allen. But they did hire him and that is the issue. They didn't outline their requirements for heterosexuality when they hired him so they have no right to expect it.

3. I made a slight error. The "dream" took place but was supposedly had by Steve Saint not the producer. The interview I read was with both of them and went back and forth and I got the one mixed up with the other due to the format. Here is what Steve Saint: "The deciding factor was a dream I had in Panama, just before Chad arrived. I was being chased by a mob of Christians who were angry with me for having desecrated 'their story'. I tried to explain that this story was even more special to me than to them, but they would not listen. The answer to their hostility was easy - just ask Chad to remove himself, since Mart could not rescind his contract with Chad."

"As quickly as this thought came to me, I found myself standing before God. His look was not as compassionate as I had expected. With no introduction or welcome, God spoke to me. "Steve, you of all people should know that I love all of my children. With regard to Chad Allen, I went to great lengths to orchestrate an opportunity for him to see what it would be like for him to walk the trail that I marked for him. Why did you mess with my plans for him?"

So the dream issued played with the final decision but apparently with Saint not Mart Green.

4.) I do think my comment at the end is fair. You say these people don't hate homosexuals by that are "acting like they do". Consider what this means. If someone was sending loving cards to another person, holding hands with them, looking fondly into their eyes, smiling in their presence you would say they were "love" with the person. You would call that love. Yet you don't see their mind. All you see are their actions. If people act hateful then it is fair to say they hate. In this case they aren't upset because the film was antiChristian (a bugaboo they typically complain about). They said the film was ruined because a man who is gay was allowed to act in it. They want him out because he's gay not because he did anything wrong with the film. In fact Allen's website promotes the film quite heavily. He, unlike the Christians, is more tolerant of them then they are of him. I doubt he is required to support the film now but he does. It shows he is basically a decent human being and his opponents are not. By the way a quick look at Allen's website shows he very big on helping people. He is doing a bicycle ride to raise funds for AIDS charities, helps raise funds for a teen suicide helpline, etc. And he has nothing nasty to say about the film or the people attacking him.

In addition, which I didn't mention before, he is attacked for not being a Christian by these Taliban members. He was raised Catholic and most fundies don't think Catholics are really Christians.

January 30, 2006

Blogger Publius II said...

Thanks for the reply Snoop! Good points, and good discussion here. I'll reply to your replies. :)

1. I agree with you 100%. Most "fundies" as you call them, fail to look past their own noses and swallow everything they're fed whole without pausing to think how it tastes. But is this really any different for 90% of the rest of America, or even the world? How many people do you know that actually digest information without some sort of political bias toward whatever party they're "affiliated" with? It's not so different, and I've come to expect little else from most people. It's such a breath of fresh air to actually come across someone like your self, who actually takes the time and effort to think rationally. I only ask that you don't blame the "fundies" for not thinking, any more than you would blame the liberals or the republicans. They're all the victims of the same disease - Apathy, combined with gullibility. Why think when someone else will do it for you?

2. Again, agreed. Once hired, they were in a dilemma. But it's a dilemma they simply had to live with. Breach of contract could not possibly be the answer. They did not think about their moral standard BEFORE the casting process, and it does no good to think about them AFTER the fact. It does not take a dream to discover THAT fact.

3. Interesting. I've actually met Steve Saint. It doesn't surprise me, I suppose, that Steve had a dream about talking to God. Whether or not the dream about God actually CAME from God is a different story. Who knows? I don't, and I'm sure Steve has even had moments of doubting whether it really came from God or not. Steve has spent his life serving his God, and it's no wonder he would dream about it. I spend my life as a Mortgage Broker, and lord knows I've had many a night where I've dreamt of nothing but loan scenarios. If Steve wants to justify his decision by what he dreamt, I guess that's his problem to sort out. At any rate, it WAS the right decision after all.

4. Point taken, I suppose. As I said, it's a shame these people DO act as thought they hate the homos. My point I guess was, they're not supposed to. But they ARE supposed to speak against their actions I think. And it's a very delicate line to walk, between being obligated to speak against something, and yet not come across in a hateful manner. For instance, you speak out very aggressively against the people you call "the fundies," and the stupid things they do and say. Do you then hate them? Most would draw the conclusion that you do in fact hate them, based on your words, for whatever reason. I'm not willing to make that conclusion, because I do not know your mind. But you see my point I hope.

As for the Catholics, I know several Catholics who I believe to be genuinely "Christian." To define that term, I'd say you have to accept the core doctrines of the Christian faith. As such, it is difficult for a Catholic to come to that point, because in many circumstances, the Catholic Doctrines teach in direct contradiction to the historical core doctrines of the Christian faith. I do not excuse anyone however, for judging someone to be Christian or not, based on what building they attend for worship.

January 31, 2006

Blogger GodlessZone said...

I will try a brief reply to your replies to my replies.

1. It is true that many Americans don't think. The difference here is that fundamentalists are taught to obey not think. Their religion is based on obedience to the Bible with all the thinking already done for them. In other words they don't think as a matter of principle. The rest of society doesn't think due to laziness, inability, etc. By "the rest" I mean those who don't think not everyone as clearly a large number of Americans do think.

2. We are in agreement.

3. No reply necessary.

4. I think you are wrong when you say they are not supposed to act this way. Considering the Bible says homosexuals should be put to death, as many Christians love to quote, it is hard to think they should are required to be nice.

5. The core doctrines are nonsense as defined in the New Testament. The New Testament in addition is unreliable, contradictory and had nothing to do with Jesus who didn't author a word of it. And we don't know what the doctrine of Jesus was only what authors wrote decades later. I doubt that any "Christian" is actually following the doctrine of Christ as I don't think we really know what his doctrines were.

PS: Remember I'm atheist here so I think it all absurd.

January 31, 2006

Blogger Publius II said...

Rather than reply to the replies to the replies to the replies, I first want to say that I respect your opinions, and your choice to be an atheist. Secondly, I'd like to propose that the absurdity of it all could become at least a little less absurd with some further explanation and clarification, which I feel I am qualified to give, if you would be interested in discussing it further. If not, I certainly understand, however I must point out that some of your opinions you've expressed here you may find to be erroneous, if you were to consider some other points you may not have had the opportunity to explore, until now.

Keep in mind, I do not defend those you refer to as "fundamentalists" or their actions. I think, as we've discussed, I am in agreement with most of your criticisms. But I also feel that their errors are also based on some misunderstandings of what it is that is taught by scripture, as well as by historical Christianity. For instance, you say the Bible teaches that homosexuals should be put to death. I tell you it does not. I'll be happy to clarify that point more in depth if you wish, but I want to give you the opportunity to make the call first on whether you'd LIKE to discuss it, and if so, where, as it would be a bit off topic from the article which started this conversation.

January 31, 2006

Blogger Einzige said...

Godlesszone, are you and snooper one and the same person?

January 31, 2006


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