The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


A film critic sneers at Christians — and Roger Ebert takes offense

posted by jmcgee

Evidently, Andrew O’Hehir of Salon, in reviewing (unfavorably) “Secretariat,” took a few gratuitous swipes at director Randall Wallace. And now Chicago’s legendary Roger Ebert is calling him on it:

O’Hehir mentions that Randall Wallace, who directed the film, “is one of mainstream Hollywood’s few prominent Christians, and has spoken openly about his faith and his desire to make movies that appeal to ‘people with middle-American values’.” To which I respond: I am a person with middle-American values, and the film appealed to me. This news just in: There are probably more liberals with middle-American values than conservatives, especially if your idea of middle-American values overlaps with the Beatitudes, as mine does.

When O’Hehir says Wallace is “one of mainstream Hollywood’s few prominent Christians,” what exactly does he mean by that? That one is too many? Surely the Hollywood mainstream has room for several prominent Christians? Surely it is permitted for Wallace to speak openly about his faith? Although O’Hehir finds “Secretariat” a repository of Christianity (of the wrong sort, presumably), I found it rather secular.

That’s just part of it. There’s more that Ebert didn’t like about O’Hehir’s review.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(11)
post a comment
Dana MacKenzie

posted October 8, 2010 at 10:57 am


O’Hehir’s review is a nutty piece of projection and paranoia. It’s a perfect case of an intolerant, narrow-minded and prejudiced person (who is also, apparently fixated on race (re Eddie and Pancho), misogynistic (he has a problem with big hair and strong women?) and a class warrior besides (although one supposes he would have no problem with all that wealth, were the horse owner Teresa Heinz Kerry). He is disturbed by Wallace’s overt Christianity (how dare he!) but is probably just fine with Obama’s recent Christian musings. So, O’Hehir’s review is a self-revelation that he is a provincial, rather small-minded man. Ebert, on the other hand, responds well. Good for him.



report abuse
 

Katherine

posted October 8, 2010 at 10:58 am


“This news just in: There are probably more liberals with middle-American values than conservatives, especially if your idea of middle-American values overlaps with the Beatitudes, as mine does”
And mine too! Amen!!!



report abuse
 

Scott

posted October 8, 2010 at 8:45 pm


I don’t think of myself as either liberal or conservative, since to be a Catholic christian means that you don’t fit neatly into either designation. In other words, the Beatitudes transcend and are infinitely more interesting and rich than political and social theories. Ebert’s swipe at conservatives is unfortunate and odd–are conservatives less OR more holy as a class of persons? I doubt it. Since Ebert is thumping the liberal chest, let me say that I have spent my life in academia among self-described liberals (some of whom were Catholic), and I haven’t met one who agreed with Church teaching on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, gay and pre-marital sex, divorce, the all-male priesthood, etc. Perhaps some liberals held these views and were wisely “in hiding” while at the university.



report abuse
 

Tony Layne

posted October 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm


@ Scott:

I have spent my life in academia among self-described liberals (some of whom were Catholic), and I haven’t met one who agreed with Church teaching on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, gay and pre-marital sex, divorce, the all-male priesthood, etc. Perhaps some liberals held these views and were wisely ‘in hiding’ while at the university.”

You give the explanation for this phenomenon right within your own statement: you were in academia. The university is almost designed to protect its inhabitants from real life.



report abuse
 

Jay

posted October 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm


Good for you Katherine! Thanks for letting us know. You like “blessed are the poor”, but you don’t like those pesky laws.



report abuse
 

Zebulon Dewhurst

posted October 9, 2010 at 11:22 am


I take vigorous exception to Scott’s and Tony Layne’s implicitly anti-Semitic remarks:
Grounding itself firmly on the original Hebrew text of the Bible- not the Latin Vulgate from which Church teaching derives – Judaism opposes “Church teaching on abortion, embryonic stem cell research, contraception, divorce, the all-male priesthood, etc” .



report abuse
 

Kiro

posted October 9, 2010 at 1:29 pm


Zebulon, I don’t get what is “anti-semitic”.
You seem to be saying that we must embrace your political views or else we are anti-semitic. I hope this is not what you’re saying: there ought to be room in this nation for more than just one political thought.
I was under the impression that Christianity opposes abortion because of the Golden Rule, not necessarily because of anything in the Old Testament. If you love your neighbor, you don’t puncture his skull, rip his brains out, or suction his limbs til his body tears. But that’s just me.
However it seems to me that any group that was specifically de-humanized and targeted during the Holocaust ought to be doubly appreciative of the efforts of those who try to uphold the idea that “human life is sacred” as an absolute statement – a statement that allows no exceptions, no simply arguing that “all human life is sacred/but some of us are more human than others”.



report abuse
 

Brad

posted October 10, 2010 at 8:14 pm


Zebulon: Judaism leaves a lot to be desired.



report abuse
 

George

posted October 11, 2010 at 9:43 am


@Zebulon:
Many Jews would disagree with you, Zebulon, especially the Orthodox. Do they not also read the scriptures in Hebrew?



report abuse
 

Zebulon

posted October 11, 2010 at 1:27 pm


George:
It is only Jews ignorant of their tradition and especially Jewish law (halacha) who disagree with me. (Pseudo-Jews who draw their paycheck from Evangelical Christian think-tanks- like David Klinghoffer or (mostly intermarried) members of the Republican Jewish Coalition such as Eric Cohen, don’t count.)
“Jews for Jesus” do not constitute “Orthodox” Jews. The Orthodox rabbinate is on board with my original statement. The Crazies- like Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who is gold-plated anti-Semite Pat Buchanan’s spit boy- speak for no one but themselves and FOX news.
“Love thy neighbor” refers to alive, sentient, fully- breathing on their own, independent persons. (Although perhaps Catholic “Team Roberts” on the Supreme Court would like to extend that to corporations as well.) According to the Torah, a fetus is life, even potential life, but does not have the status of a full human being until it exists the womb and can function on its own.
Analogy; A lug nut on the wheel base of a Lambourgini is not a Lambourgini, until the rest of the car is assembled around it. Would you pay $150,000 for that lug nut? Of course not- you would pay such a price only for the entire car.



report abuse
 

Pingback: Why I Won’t Be Seeing “For Greater Glory”

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.