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Reverend Father Antonio Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
Founder of the Independent Order of American Buddhist Fathers

I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Buddhist, and a Jew... and so are all of you!
Mohandas K. Gandhi to his followers

As a Buddhist descended from Jews, I did not find myself too anxious to see Mel Gibson's already notorious film "The Passion of the Christ". To begin with, I do not believe in any "Christ", which is to say I don't believe that an anointed King of Israel exists today. "Christos" is the Jewish Greek term for "anointed one", and it means kingship - not necessarily Messiah status.
That said, it's important for me to state that I haven't seen the movie. The last few days I've been saying I do want to see it, because I am a film buff. It's good to lull oneself with delusions of connoisseurship in some area or other. Now, I'm not so sure I ever want to lay eyes on this film.

Mel Gibson is without question a religious fanatic of the most dangerous kind. It's difficult to understand why no one has had the courage to state this fact. He's made a film, it's 'his version' of a version of a myth. That's how I see it, and that's why I don't want to see it.

In my family we were raised Catholic, and we were quite fed up seeing an immolated corpus on the crucifix by the time we were 10 years old. We knew what our faith taught us: Jesus was arrested, convicted, tortured and crucified. There on the cross Jesus died. Gibson seems obsessed with the torture part of the story, and we have to ask ourselves why. Do we really need this sort of thing in a world where Muslim freaks are trying to destroy the West? Where Jews and Palestinians refuse to stop killing each other? Where Christian screw-heads are trying to kick off Armageddon in Israel? Where Buddhists are still being slaughtered by communists in Tibet and China?

Gibson is considered fanatic even by the Catholic Church: he belongs to the pre-Vatican II people, the "Old Catholics". These people are in a state of heresy because they don't think the Church has had a pope since Pius XII died. Some of them think the last true pope was Pius IX, and they are the more anti-Semitic of the two heretical groups. No one cares about heresy these days; otherwise Gibson would have been lambasted from the start by all Christians.

These days it seems anything goes. If a person says they are saved because Jesus is their personal lord and savior, that's more than enough. It's the litmus test for every right-wing fascist jerk in the world. Even the worst of the communists have expressed admiration for Christian fundamentalist brainwashing tactics. Gibson has just poured a drum of grease on that fire.

Gibson wants to tell the story about one man's torture and execution. To me, that is different from the whole of traditional Christian belief about the life and sacrifice of Jesus. Gibson's film is mostly in Aramaic, and some Latin, with subtitles. Using Latin, no one cares. Didn't Gibson stop to think that there are people in the Middle East who still speak Aramaic? What are they going to do when they see this movie?
What anyone really knows about Rabbi Jesus is so miniscule, it's essentially a legend if it goes beyond his existence and execution. Is Gibson also trying to imply that he's had what Christians call a private revelation?

His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama has said we don't need any more religion, or philosophical systems, or churches. "Warmth of heart, THAT we need!", he has said. Jesus always said the same thing. From what I've heard and read so far, that is one thing Mel Gibson doesn't seem to understand.
© Rev Antonio Hernandez - March 1st 2004

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