The latest line of attack used by critics of Mel Gibson and his movie 'The Passion of Christ' is to condemn him for making money off of it. The ever subtle Andy Rooney states that Gibson (along with Pat Robertson) is 'wacko', and asks 'How many million dollars does it look as if you're going to make off the crucifixion of Christ?' The NewsMax commentary well responds:
Rooney fails to say how much he and CBS and Viacom have made off Saddam Hussein, 9/11, the war on terrorism, the war in Iraq, the Vietnam War, the death penalty, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan ...
Critics were gleefully predicting the movie would be a financial and box office flop just a few months ago, pleased that Gibson had poured his money down the proverbial crawdad hole.
But Gibson has simply done what Steven Spielberg did with "Schindler's List". Did Spielberg make money off the Holocaust? Was Mr. Rooney upset? I hear no outrage at Zondervan or Broadman & Holman, Bible publishers who actually charge for their products, and I assume make a profit. I've complained some about the price of Bibles before, but I figure the guy printing the Bible needs to feed and clothe his family.
I can tell you, I'd rather give millionaire Mel Gibson money for making what appears to be a Biblical film about Jesus than give millionaire Andy Rooney money for denigrating the Gospel and people who take it seriously.
Can something like 'The Passion' be exploited? Well, I think one can go too far:
Bob Siemon Designs, producer of millions of WWJD (What would Jesus do?) bracelets, is selling Passion lapel pins, key rings, and inch-long nail pendants.
Now that's getting a little close to the edge, in my opinion. But it's really more a matter of taste than anything else. I find things such as that at best bordering on tacky, but I'm not going to launch a bitter assault against Bob Siemons Designs, either.
There's a chasm between what Mel Gibson will receive for this movie and the thirty pieces of silver that Judas felt was worth Jesus' death. And I think even someone like Andy Rooney can understand that.