March 01, 2004

French Daily Liberation on Gibson's Passion

Interesting review of Mel Gibson's movie (which hasn't rolled out to these backwards provinces just yet) that well showcases the leftish, ultra-secular and relativist worldview of your typical Liberation reader:

"Sa Passion semble tirŽe d'un Evangile apocryphe, selon saint Donatien (de Sade). Sa foi est une variante chiite du christianisme. Sa religion intŽgriste, imbibŽe de sang et de douleur, rŽduit le message du Christ ˆ sa mort sous la torture. Cette mystique doloriste, qui a marquŽ jadis l'iconographie et les rites de l'Eglise, du Moyen Age ˆ la Contre-RŽforme, a aussi servi ˆ lŽgitimer certains crimes de l'Eglise, dont l'antisŽmitisme.

Le culte du martyre est un combustible dangereux dont bržlent les fanatiques, comme en tŽmoignent les kamikazes islamistes d'aujourd'hui. Il peut alimenter intolŽrances et guerres de religion. A l'heure o Bush parle de croisade et d'axe du Mal, le succs de la Passion est un sympt™me de la virulence de ces intŽgrismes qui, partout, livrent un combat d'arrire-garde contre une modernitŽ la•que, agnostique, ou simplement rationnelle, ouverte et tolŽrante."

Partial Translation: ...His (Gibson's) faith is a Shiite variant of Christianity. Its fundamentalist religiosity, embued with blood and pain, reduces the message of Christ to his death under torture....At a time when Bush speaks of a crusade and the axis of Evil, the success of Passion is a symptom of the virulence of these fudamentalisms that, everywhere, are involved in a rear-guard struggle against a secular modernity, agnostic, or simply rational, open and tolerant."

Put differently: Shi'a radicals, al-Qaeda fanatics, popcorn chomping Passion-viewers in the environs of Crawford (ie., Georgie and his ilk) are of the same stripe--religious fanatics all.

It's amazing how widespread the view of Bush as theocratic radical is in Europe. I guess you let slip the word "crusade" once and speak of an "axis of evil" (rather than, say, an "evil empire") and you are branded a religious fanatic these days.

His stance on gay marriage won't help the perception, of course. Nor does his personal history of swearing off the Jack Daniels (after some form of personal encounter with a higher being) go down well in some of these more libertine Euro-climes.

But as I've argued from the very inception of this blog, to view American foreign policy as motivated by religion is, at best, an ill-informed misconception/over-simplification and, at worst, a purposeful (popular among European intellectual circles) attempt to relativize Bush as just as bad as Bin Laden and Co. (let's be careful to distinguish slightly over-zealous manifestations of neo-Wilsonianism (see Wolfowitz), fused with notions of American exceptionalism, from an actually religiously-motivated foreign policy (UBL and the Teheran Mullahs, not Bush)

It's time to reach out to the great European and Arab publics, I suspect, and cut through the left-leaning media hyperbole and distortions.

Couldn't some of Bush's advisors (or better yet, the President himself) explain (often and loudly) that U.S. Middle East policy isn't, you know, driven by Holy Scripture?

Posted by Gregory at March 1, 2004 01:22 PM
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