The causal sequence

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 14, 2003

You may have caught the story listing among today's News Bytes headlines: the head of the Simon Weisenthal Center charges that Mel Gibson's new movie, The Passion, is fueling anti-Semitic hatred.

Now anti-Semitic hatred is a bad thing. And I suppose we'll have to take the word of Rabbi Hier (who is, by the way, a notorious anti-Catholic) that the mail he's receiving really is hateful. But even at that, do you see a problem with the sequence of causality here?

The Passion hasn't hit the theaters yet-- and won't, for several more months. So it's quite impossible that the movie itself is causing all that negative mail to the Weisenthal Center. Almost nobody has seen the movie.

What people have seen is the spate of attacks on the movie by Rabbi Hier and others-- attacks that have frequently sounded like attacks the faith of Christians.

Again, anti-Semitism is a bad thing. But if it's being stirred up right now, it's not by Gibson.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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