Thursday, February 02, 2006

Evangelical film hires gay actor, producers are criticised

The New York Times (rego required) reports on a conflict over the film "End of the Spear" which relates the story of missionaries killed by aboriginal Ecuadorians in 1956. The families of these missionaries forgave their killers and converted them to Christianity.

Baptist associate pastor Rev. Jason Janz called on the film-makers to apologise for casting Chad Allen, an openly gay actor, in a lead role as one of the missionaries and also plays the part of that missionary's adult son. He said casting someone who "promoted drunkenness" would be equally heinous.

This has drawn out some even more unpalatable commentary - the president of the Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis, Kevin Bauder, said "Granted, we must not overreact. And it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men's houses. But what they have done is no mistake. It is a calculated strategy." Probably an over-reaction??

Mr Bauder also described an article quoted the missionary's son that Allen portrays, Steve Saint, as approving of his participation as "baloney" and "damage control".

Ironically, one of the organisations which pops up most frequently in defence of laws and practices which discriminate against homosexual and/or secular citizens, Focus on the Family, sees the message of service as being more important than the messenger. Head of the media review department, Bob Waliszewski is quoted in the Times as saying "But what is the message of the product? And do we at Focus feel compelled to check on the sexual history of everyone in a movie? Did they have a D.U.I.? Did they pay their taxes?" It feels weird quoting FotF approvingly...

It occurs to me that when Muslims do crazy things, other Muslims are called on to repudiate them - with the subtext of "if you're not against them, you're with them". Let's encourage the Baptists show a similar example and call on a prominent Baptist to promote tolerance, to remind Americans and the world that one can sin and yet carry on with one's career.

William Jefferson Clinton, come on down!
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