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A movie deemed by many to be offensive to a particular religion results in violent protest against said film.

But I'm not talking about the recent events in the Middle East.

I'm talking about what happened in 1988 when Martin Scorsese's adaptation of The Last Temptation of Christ was released into theaters. Though many supported the work, Christian fundamentalists around the world objected to its portrayal of Jesus as a morally conflicted man who even has a vision while on the cross of being married to Mary Magdalene.

Even before the film came out, it was met with howls of protests from across the globe, but what many fail to remember is that it was met with a violent reaction as well.

On October 22, 1988, a French Christian fundamentalist group launched Molotov cocktails inside the Parisian Saint Michel movie theater while it was showing the film. This attack injured thirteen people, four of whom were severely burned.[8][9] The Saint Michel theater was heavily damaged,[9] and reopened 3 years later after restoration.
Though many condemned the attack,
The leader of Christian Solidarity, a Roman Catholic group that had promised to stop the film from being shown, said, "We will not hesitate to go to prison if it is necessary."

The attack was subsequently blamed on a Christian fundamentalist group linked to Bernard Antony, a representative of the far-right National Front to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and the excommunicated followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.[8] Lefebvre had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church on July 2, 1988.

Similar attacks against theatres included graffiti, setting off tear-gas canisters and stink bombs, and assaulting filmgoers.

My point here is certainly not to play a tit-for-tat game between religious fundamentalists who resort to violence when they feel their religion has been denigrated, but simply to point out that no one belief system has a monopoly on such activity.

The official movie trailer.

Scorsese interviewed about the controversy surrounding the film.

Originally posted to Rolandz on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 09:58 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republished to Street Prophets. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter, pgm 01
  •  lol (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Sophie Amrain

    The two are nothing alike. Scorsese, an established director, made a movie and movie theaters were attacked. In this case, yes, some nuts were crazy about the movie and acted it out.

    Now, some fringe nut made some movie on youtube, of which there are thousands every day. Somebody somehow found it among all the cat videos and decided to get some backwards people offended, and they attack an embassy.

    This is not about any movie whatsoever. It's about getting a crowd to do something.

    •  Talk about a distinction without a difference (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reddbierd, ConfusedSkyes, ubertar
    •  Literally attacking them in some cases (0+ / 0-)

      In my hometown ( Ithaca, NY) an EC drove a converted school bus into the theater showing LTOC.

    •  obviously there are differences, but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that doesn't mean they are "nothing alike." The basic point remains valid.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:09:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It Ws A Trailer (0+ / 0-)

      On YouTube, not the movie!!!!!!!!

      The movie was aired in some hollywood theater and drew about 10people, according to a report the other day!

      Now if you're going to comment on something at least understand the facts! They have been all over the place since this all started and you showed you haven't a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:18:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok, it was shown in a theater (0+ / 0-)

        and, as you yourself say, it drew about 10 people. so it's some marginal freak self-financed movie.

        nobody even heard about it until the attacks.

        you really really think it's about a movie, rather than the movie being merely a pretext?


    •  the film was based on the book by Nikos (0+ / 0-) came out in the late 60's?  had been around for a very long's not an anti-Christian film, nor was it meant to was a telling of a novelist's version of what he imagined Christ's last temptation on the cross to be....which turned out to be living life as a human being with a say that the Catholic Church didn't like it is an understatement, but neither the book itself, or the film were meant as disrespectful to the Christian faith.  If any thing, the search for God, truth, love, etc. was increased for many by the book's publication, it's sincere questions as well as doubts raised. Without doubt, how can one have faith?

      The only similarity you raise is that there was protest.
      People weren't killed, nor has stability of the entire world been put at risk.

      •  Oddly, when I was getting a minor in theo/phil (0+ / 0-)

        from Catholic University in D.C., not exactly a hotbed of liberal thought, the book was on a reading list for a report  on Christ figures in literature. The priest who taught the class loved it. Another book on the lsit was The Autobiography of Malcom X.  I suspect that a decade later they'd have used Dune (though Paul may be more of a Mohammad figure than a Jesus figure).

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 07:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  my point is (0+ / 0-)

        that it's both sad and funny to see the left twist themselves into a pretzel to, for whatever reason (some hypertrophied anti-colonialist guilt?) justify the behavior of the attackers.

        we've come a long and twisted way from ACLU defending Nazis in Skokie.

        Ironically, in fact, this position exhibits the very, erm, ism (perhaps, paternalism?) towards the attackers -- that they were provoked, and, of course, being simple people, unlike the Jews of Skokie, cannot be expected to be civil in the fact of exercise of freedom of speech; therefore, it's better not to offend them, and condemn those who do.

  •  If your God is omnipotent, why does he need defend (8+ / 0-)

    ing? Just wondering. I wish that question was asked more.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:26:10 AM PDT

    •  Pre-cise-ly. God may need to hang out (4+ / 0-)

      with a better crowd because the current groups haven't got the message and likely never will.

      Romney went to France instead of serving in our military, got rich chop-shopping US businesses and eliminating US jobs, off-shored his money in the Cayman Islands, and now tells us to "Believe in America."

      by judyms9 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:30:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They have this logic defying belief that an (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ConfusedSkyes, Sophie Amrain

      omnipotent being who created "angels" could be defeated by one of the "angels" who went bad.

      Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
      Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

      by The Dead Man on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:30:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, Mohammed isn't God in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Islamic religion, so if the offense is insulting Mohammed, then that's not exactly the same thing. Although I expect some of the people who reacted with violence also would react that easy to a perceived insult against God.

      "Okay, until next time. Keep sending me your questions, and I will make fun of you... I mean, answer them." - Strong Bad

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:14:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good Lord!!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The 'God' of is the same for the so called christians, the that are Christians, the Muslims and the Jews!!

      No wonder people don't get religion, they haven't a clue as to what it is!

      Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

      by jimstaro on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:23:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that is what some of the Christians, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Paul Rogers

        Muslim and Jews claim. Others have different opinions about that. You have to take all of them at face value, because there is no evidence to decide things anyhow.

        He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

        by Sophie Amrain on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 01:08:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My comment was a rhetorical question about (0+ / 0-)

        how people imagine an "omnipotent" being needs defending by humans.
        The point being that they're defending a cultural construct or concept.

        The Santorums go around saying "They're taking God out of our lives...etc. " referring to people who assert secular governance in the U.S.

        If they had confidence in the reality of God, seems to me they wouldn't need to defend this cultural concept.
        (Of course, most of these people are either hustlers or demagogues who are attempting to leverage religious identity to benefit their own power or wealth.)

        Seems to me that God is supposed  to be real, that He/She is an entity which each person is supposed to communicate with individually, rather than just be a concept which they hold in common with others. In addition to being omipotent, "God" is supposed to be omniscient. So one who sincerely has a relationship cannot lie to themselves about their doubt because they accept the fact that God can see through their deceit.

        I think the instinct to defend "our God" against those who do not share "our God" is a tacit admission of lack of faith in that God. These people have the cultural construct of their God but they have doubt, which they cannot escape, so they harbor it in secret and try to avoid confronting it. So any "threat" to their "faith" that reminds them of their doubt creates a visceral response of fear and loathing. They externalize that and project it onto the "other" whoever that might be.
        That's why I think you find people who "really do" have a "personal relationship" with their God and "really do"
        have an inward honesty that acknowledges their doubt.
        They don't get caught up in a great deal of investment in this "cultural construct" called "God" "Allah" or whatever.
        To cut to the chase, I think that all of these folks who are vulnerable to being politically manipulated over religion are the insecure, the fearful, and the doubtful.
        They aren't the "true believers".

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:33:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mohammed is their Profit, and not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      omnipotent. Mohammed is Islam's Jesus.

      •  Prophet. God is "Allah" in Arabic. Apparently (0+ / 0-)

        Mohammed gets his sanctified status from "Allah" otherwise he would be "just a guy" that they followed into battle a long time ago.
        So an insult against Mohammed is a big deal because it's an implied insult against "Allah".

        My question was just a generic one directed at everyone who believes that God "Alla" "whatever" wants or needs  to be defended.

        I think it's a tacit admission of a lack of faith to go off on someone like that.
        The early Christians didn't do that.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 01:09:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Except Jesus is God for Christians, not just a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        prophet.  Look up the Trinity in Christian Dogma.

    •  A simple question with a simple answer. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego, JDsg

      Because defending him (or his prophets) is an act of trust and true confidence.

      Nobody goes out on a limb for something they are uncertain about.

      Also, like hell and stuff if people denigrate the lord.  If you just stand around watching it happen, his majesty will judge you guilty by inaction.

  •  Morton Downey, Jr. had a TV show in the 1980s. (10+ / 0-)

       It was a panel/audience/ hot topic sort of thing. He was fromerly a radio shock jock, and is now deceased.
         Anyway, he had a show one evening with a couple of people "for" Last Temptation and a couple "against". He absolutely pilloried the "for" people, harrassing them for the entire show. A couple of days later, he did something amazing. At the very start of his show, on another topic, he spoke to the audience. He said something like this,
         "Last week I had a show about the new movie "The Last Temptation Of Christ". I really leaned on the "for" side of the panel. I clobbered them on the fact that they were horrible people defending this type of blasphemy. I based my ranting on articles that I'd read about the movie. At the time, I hadn't seen the movie. Last night, I saw it. It wasn't blasphemous or tasteless at all. In fact, it was a fairly good movie. I apologize to the people I attacked last week."
          Since that night 20+ years ago, I often wonder about whether vehement critics of books, movies, articles, legislation (i.e. HCR 2009), etc. have actually read or seen the object of their hatred.  
          After all, it's a lot easier to read the Classic Comics version of Moby Dick than the novel.

    The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

    by Hillbilly Dem on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:30:53 AM PDT

    •  I still see people ranting about the Virgin Mary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hillbilly Dem

      painting made with elephant poop. They tunnel vision on the fact that it has poop in it, and completely IGNORE the symbolism that Elephant Poop has in some African Cultures, and how that ties into the theme of the painting.

      This awful home made low budget hack job would have probably died of obscurity had it not been used to rile people up in other countries for some agenda, unknown to us, other than to make others afraid.

      In fact, it is so bad, I don't doubt that non Muslims would have reported it to youtube as abusive content as in hate speech.

      No one had even heard of this, until this week, because it was so poorly done and so inaccurate, no one was interested in loosing minutes of their lives to watch the trailer.

      •  Sorry no (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, JDsg

        Scorsese put his own name to it, as did Andre serrano with his Piss Christ.

        Nakoula pout a fake Jewish name on the film.

        He intended it to cause trouble and he was too much of a coward to stand behind his own work.

        He tried to dump the trouble on Israel.

        And he had Terry Jones promote it for him.

        Whatever the outcome, these people intended to create outrage and to put the blame on someone else.

        Two more questions then arise.

        1. Who paid for it?
        2. Why now?

        Once you make it clear that this was intended to be the cause of violence and uproar, the rest of your motives are on the table.

        Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

        by Deep Dark on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:28:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It takes two to Tango (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paul Rogers

          It might have intended to incite violence, but why give this looser a rise when that energy could be spent on other, more productive enterprises?

          I agree the film maker had an agenda, I was just pointing out that it was so bad, no one was interested in even screening it when it was released.

          So to add to your laundry list of excellent questions:

          I am sure it was also meant to be a feint towards President Obama and his status as a "sekret Muslim".

          The people so hung up on that don't seem to understand that it would be a non issue to many others. Obama ran on a platform of actual policy and not instead on talking points taken from Extremist memos.

          •  Take your point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But the same applies to Atlas Shrugged or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or any other piss-poor "creations" that have been used to incite violence and create havoc.

            These thugs knew that those invested in their religion were not going to look at this POS and declare that its artistic merit, production valaues and direectorial chops were beneath contempt and can safely be ignored.

            After seeing the chaos created by the Danish cartoons, they knew what they had to do to provioke outrage and violence and the quality of the story-telling or the film-making would be irrelevant.

            As they have been quoted in this excellent diary, they were sure of a great return on investment. The cost of a hit job on a US Ambassador would be huge, for $100k they can get it as collateral damage.

            Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

            by Deep Dark on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:21:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Paul Rogers

              However, I don't care for any of this being used as an excuse by the belligerent, to deprive us openly or surreptitiously, of our civil rights.

              We have worked long and hard in this country to get rid of Blasphemy Laws.

              Extremists in other countries should never be allowed to dictate the laws or law enforcement in another country.

              •  Again, agreed (0+ / 0-)

                But those rights do not permit hate speech nor speech designed specifically to incite violence.

                If they had made this film in ignorance it would be bad enough, but they specifically stated that they would get a good return on the investment of the cost of making the film.

                Nobody on any jury will believe that it is designed to gain converts from Islam, it is not some kind of flirty fishing, its sole purpose was to engender violence and, very possibly according to the Guardian, to roil the waters around the election.

                So we have
                1. Hate speech
                2. Incitement to violence against Jews (Racism)/ The US and its representatives (wanna try treason here?)
                3. Intent to interfere with the electoral process by precipitating some kind of international event that damages the US. (or maybe here)
                4. Conspiracy to to achieve all or any of the above.

                The attempt both to hide their identity and to blame a Jew speaks to mens rea, these fuckers should answer for their actions.

                Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

                by Deep Dark on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 05:06:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  It appears that the Lybian government has (0+ / 0-)

              stated that 50 people [thus far] have been arrested for the violence, and that there were intentions and plans to attack along. Suggesting to me, that this was an opportunity to act sooner rather than later.

    •  Not knowing anything makes it easier to hate. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hillbilly Dem

      It's easier to hate something if you don't know anything about it.  Then you can imagine anything you want for how awful it is.

      Think of how much easier it was to be anti-gay back when gay people were beaten, harassed and killed for coming out.  Then you could say anything you wanted about them, because nobody knew a gay person.

      These days, anti-gay people are crying, whining and complaining that gays are oppressing them because the situation has changed.  Their lies don't work, because we know what gay people really are.


      I imagine that one day, we'll understand what muslim people are as well.

  •  I did not know that. (0+ / 0-)

    Did the producer have to go into hiding though, after the fact? Were the actors threatened and also have to go into hiding?

    Normally when I think of Christian Extremists, I focus mostly on Christian Identity type movements and abortion clinic snipers and bombers. I know we have those here, they just usually focus on other things.

    And if they are caught, they go to jail. And the people who justify their violent acts, have little or no fear speaking out against such violent agendas.

  •  hahaha (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AaronInSanDiego, Anak

    someone had a similarish diary the other day about the kerfuffle that ensued upon the release of Life of Brian.


    Die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

    by Cedwyn on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:52:51 AM PDT

  •  How non-controversial is this movie now? (0+ / 0-)

    It is available right now, in the free movies section if you have Comcast On Demand.

  •  One of the people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rogers

    where I worked at the time (a conservative Catholic) was trying to get people to write letters or sign a petition or something similar, wanting it banned.
    My reaction was 'if it's that bad, let it go: it will sink on its own.'
    No one was making them see it, or protest it, or anything else. It offended them just by existing, AFAICT.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 11:49:53 AM PDT

  •  I don't recall the argument against burning ambas- (0+ / 0-)

    sadors being "Christians don't do that."

  •  They're all nuts, just a different kind of nut. (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder what would happen if someone made a movie about the roman emperor Constantine fabricating the christian(catholic) religion in order to more easily control a dumb population.

    Essentially, if an unflattering account of christianity were presented as a movie.  Christian extremists go out of their way to do things like this all the time and want to show it to as many people as possible to provoke anger.  But they so rarely seem to get the same treatment from others.

    In truth, their ultimate desires are identical to the radical muslim goals they so fervently denounce, they're just sad that they don't get to act the same way.

    Well, apart from the occasional nationally sanctioned murdering sprees in the middle east.

  •  When I read your title, I immediately thought (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rogers

    of Last Temptation.
    Normally, I would not have seen the film....I don't particularly lie religious films with overt messages and, I'm an Athiest.
    But I decided to see it and read the book.
    Actually. it was pretty good and I am surprised that it is not shown more often. I think it was way better than The Robe or Mel Gibson's Passion which I could not watch. (My friend had a pirated copy and could not get past the whipping scene. I did the dishes by hand instead and gave up on the whole mess) Just too awful for words.

    I remember all the brouhaha about Last Temptation when it came out...and I'm sure if another "Christ" movie were to appear making him more man than God... there'd probably be a terrific uproar among so-called Christians in this country.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 02:49:48 PM PDT

  •  But, what to do? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rogers, Pandoras Box

    "The Life of Brian" was not well received among Christians either, even banned in some "free" countries, reportedly.
    So, what to learn from all this?
    Should we go down on our knees before religious fundamentalists of any kind and abstain from producing, watching or mentioning anything that might be considered blasphemous by anybody?
    Or should we insist that free speech is free speech, even if it is not funny, not well made, and angeres many?

    Freedom is not just a word. 'Freedom' is a noun.

    by intruder from Old Europe on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 08:51:59 PM PDT

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