A recent Daily Beast article notes that in the wake of Mel Gibson’s recorded rants of misogyny, violence and racism, his usual defenders, namely conservative evangelicals, have fallen silent.  Apparently, after his drunk driving and anti-Semitic tirade, Christians were quick to forgive.  But these audio recordings are so distressing, not even conservative talk radio hosts dare to defend Mel.

To many believers, Mel’s horrifying rhetoric has undermined their experience of Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.  What, to so many people, was such a deeply moving experience now seems irrevocably tainted by its creator’s malevolence. Personally, I’m sick of hypocrites like Mel Gibson hijacking my faith, and the idea that he is some sort of figurehead for Christianity in this country infuriates me to no end. Having never seen The Passion, my motivation to watch it is at an all time low.  

But what most people don’t realize is that these recent tapes are just the tip of the iceberg. They don’t even hold a candle to some of Mel’s darkest moments.  For instance:

Did you know that, while on the set of Lethal Weapon 3, Mel Gibson once hurled a spear at an intern whose sole job was to soothe the star actor between takes? Mel then proceeded to chase the poor boy across the desert, Mad Max style, all the way to Las Vegas.     

Did you know that while touring Egypt, Mel Gibson killed a local shop owner, buried him in a sand dune, then tried to walk around town for the rest of his vacation like nothing happened?

Did you know that Mel Gibson housed over one thousand wives at a massive, rural compound in Utah where together they worshiped idols and engaged in disturbing pagan rituals?   

Did you know that Mel Gibson used his connection with a prominent U.S. general to have his lover’s husband assigned to the dubious position of ‘suicide-bomb suspect tackler’?

And did you know that before his conversion, Mel Gibson organized the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds, maybe thousands, of Christians – even going so far as to stand by and watch them as they were stoned to death by mobs?

Well, okay, none of these things actually happened. But if they did, they would pretty much put Mel on the same playing field as many of the great figures of our faith. God seems to get some kind of kick out of using particularly despicable people to accomplish his purposes. I don’t know if there’s any purpose in all of this, or whether there’s a path to redemption in Mel’s future. After listening to the tapes, it’s hard for me to imagine and even harder for me to hope for. But stranger things have happened.

 
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Jon Busch

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