Seen ‘The Passion’ yet?
This is a question a reporter with a sense of humor needs to ask during the presidential debates.
It would be the most awkward moment in a presidential debate since Fred Barnes asked Ronald Reagan and Fritz Mondale if they’d been born again.
I’m not proposing the question as a way to probe the candidates’ religious views. This is a a trick question: It would be fun to watch the wiggle.
One answer would make the blue staters see red, while another would make the red staters blue.
As US News & World columnist John Leo puts it:
‘There’s also a culture-war aspect to the film. Christians are very much aware that they are increasingly held in contempt by so many in the elites and the arts community. This treatment is everywhere, and runs from anti-Christian plays and movies to dung-and-porn-covered Madonnas and attempts to degrade Christians symbols and rituals, such as the ridiculous and swishy Jesus figures in gay parades. After a year-long campaign to destroy Gibson’s movie before anybody had seen it, the New York Times ran a review of the film that compared ‘The Passion of the Christ’ to a Simpsons episode. What are the odds that a Times reviewer would compare a serious black play to an episode of Amos and Andy?’
No matter what you think about Bush’s intellect, he would ace the question. He only has to say he’s seen it and was moved. The wrong answer is, “I haven’t seen it.”
Bush has already been mercilessly ridiculed for saying Christ is his favorite philosopher. What’s he got to lose?
Kerry has plenty to lose. If he hasn’t seen it, the red staters will smell an elitist. If he has, anything he says is wrong.
He knows this, of course. Asked about the movie by reporters, he was more yes and no than he was about the $87 billion.
Asked by reporters if he planned to see the movie, he said, ‘I don’t know….I am concerned….I don’t know if it’s [anti-Semitism] there, but there’s a lot of it around now. I think we have to be careful.’
We do have to be careful, especially in Europe where synagogues are being burned down. But ‘The Passion’ doesn’t seem to be stirring up anti-Semitism.
John Leo again:
‘On anti-Semitism: a survey released last week by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research reports that Gibson’s film is not producing resentment against Jews and may actually be reducing anti-Semitism. According to the survey, 83 percent of people familiar with the film say it made them neither more likely nor less likely to blame Jews today for Jesus’s crucifixion. Two percent said they are more likely to blame Jews. Twelve percent said the film made them less likely to do so.’
By summer, the anti-Semitism answer might be less effective.
Then what will John Kerry say?
I offer this question in an effort to liven up the debates.