Monday, May 16, 2005

With the release of Kingdom of Heaven, there have been complaints about Hollywood's anti-Christian bias. I haven't seen this movie, but last night we saw King Arthur with Clive Owen and I was staggered by its blatant anti-Christian and specifically anti-Catholic stance. It was actually quite grotesque at times even if the film's battle scenes were a redeeming feature.

In King Arthur, set around 420AD, we learn that Arthur is a friend and follower of one Pelagius, a heretic who we later hear was executed by the Pope. It is the Pope and not the Emperor who is running the show in Rome and all the Christians in the film (except Arthur, who is a heretic as well) are evil beyond belief. We see monks deliberately walling pagans into caves to starve to death, a bishop who is a double crossing scumbag and a Christian aristocrat trying to murder a child. No good Catholic features in the movie at all.

Of course, historically this is codswallop. The Emperor and not the Pope was not in charge at Rome even if the former enjoyed a good deal of influence. Pelagius was a religious fundamentalist who said only the most pious ascetics could get to heaven. He had no time for the grace that the rest of us sinners need to know God, because he thought he was so perfect so as not to need it. Nor was he executed, although he left Rome after his teachings were condemned.

I have to wonder how a movie that portrayed Moslems as entirely made up of unreconstructed psychos would fair in the media. King Arthur proves that anti-Catholicism is still the acceptable bigotry of some of the liberal elite (witness the rantings in the Guardian from the likes of Polly Toynbee). Frankly, it is becoming rather tiresome.

One other thing about King Arthur is that the Saxons (that is, the English) are also portrayed as racist barbarians. But a negative portrayal of the English is something else that Hollywood has long been guilty of.

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