Beliefnet
Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

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Tackling Christianity’s history of anti-Semitism. Kevin Sorbo plays the role of French theologian John Calvin in Let the Lion Roar, a new docudrama that takes on the unfortunate history of anti-Semitism among some of Christianity’s greatest thinkers. The film purports to shine a light on a centuries-old conspiracy that, in the words of the film’s press release, reveals “a true supernatural conspiracy that wove false beliefs into the very fabric of the Church – lies that keep the Church today from fulfilling God’s purpose.” 

I don’t know about all that (I haven’t actually seen the film) but I do know that Kevin Sorbo (who I’ve interviewed before) is always interesting to talk to since he tells you exactly what he believes without regard to whether it pleases critics to his left or his right. I like and respect that. Let the Lion Roar, with an all-star cast that includes Eric Roberts, Stephen Baldwin, John Schneider, Brad Stine and Jamie Grace, among others has just recently been released on DVD and Blu-ray.  

JWK: What attracted you to Let the Lion Roar?

KEVIN SORBO: I thought it was interesting. It was actually pretty educational for me because I play John Calvin in it. I knew of Calvin. I knew of Luther. I knew Calvin…loved Luther’s teachings. These guys did great work with the church (but) the one big flaw that they had was they sort of rearranged the Bible, in a way. They rewrote it and took out everything about Israel (being) the chosen land. (They) just replaced all of that stuff dealing with the Jewish homeland and put in the word “church.” This whole thing is really uncovering one of the greatest deceptions that has been out there for a long time that most people don’t even know about — this big conspiracy to cover-up the church’s true identity.

That’s kind of what it does. It sort of pops around from century to century. It starts with the birth of Christ and goes through the Roman Empire, Martin Luther, World War II. It tries to get people that watch it to sort of remember what the true history or the true roots of Christianity are.

JWK: Though I haven’t actually seen Let the Lion Roar, it  strikes me as different from a lot of faith-based films in that it is  actually, in a way, critical of how Christianity has sometimes been practiced by Christians –particularly with regard to a very unfortunate streak of anti-Semitism.

KS: It’s more of a documentary than anything else. It’s really trying to get people to realize that the whole religion (of Christianity) has sort of gone down the wrong road (with regard to) what the intentions of God were. People can form their own opinions. That’s what everything’s for, right? Everybody’s got their own opinions. But, you know, it’s interesting. It really educated me because I didn’t realize that Luther and Calvin were such big anti-Semites — and they were. It was sort of shocking to me because I grew up in Lutheran churches and when I got to college I just pretty much became non-denominational. I have my belief and that’s my belief that isn’t really tied into one church.

JWK: Growing up in the modern Lutheran Church though, I take it that you didn’t see a lot out-and-out anti-Semitism.

K S: I didn’t notice growing up any bashing of the Jewish community at all. I never saw that but, again, (the Lutheran Church) wasn’t really being a champion for Israel in any kind of vocal way either. I mean I always knew Jesus was Jewish (and) that the Pharisees of Israel turned Jesus over to the Romans but I mean all that was supposed to be part of God’s plan anyway…I remember my pastor being very fire and brimstone. I’m kidding but (it was) like breathing is a sin. I just remember telling my parents that I didn’t think God was that angry.

JWK: Now, I know you’re a big supporter of Israel today. 

KS: I always have been. Between you and me and the rest of the world, we’re hopefully trying to put together a sequel to God’s Not Dead (that) we’ll shoot in Israel for a couple of weeks…if they get past the problems that they got going there right now…(They’re)  causing production problems for a lot of people who want to shoot there now. If God’s Not Dead II does come out, it won’t be shot for another year anyway.  They still have a script to write.

JWK: Turning to politics for a moment, who do you like in 2016?

KS: My biggest thing right now (regarding) politics is I want term limits. I don’t understand why we can’t get rid of these guys on both sides of the aisle after like six years in Congress. Why do we give these guys 40 or 60 year careers because there are so many things not getting done? They’re so stagnant. There’s so much hate on both sides. Why? If a president gets eight years max, why do these guys get 40 year careers? Get rid of them every six years — boom! Let’s get new teams in there.

JWK: You’ve also been a big supporter of the crowd-funded Gosnell movie that deals with the under-reported mass murder case involving late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Andrew Klavan has just come on board as the screenwriter of that. Any chance you’ll be playing a role in the film?

KS: I hope so…We’ll see. Those guys are friends…I think it’s an amazing story to tell. I’ve always said even the most hardened pro-choice people would be just devastated to watch an actual birth and then watch a baby be killed before their eyes. That’s what this guy was doing. It’s just horrific what he got away with (until he was, finally, stopped).

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JWK: You’re one of Hollywood’s busiest actors with tons of projects in the pipeline. Is there any particular one that you’d like to draw our attention to?

KS: I’d like to see The Secret Handshake get out there. It’s a wonderful family comedy. Howie Klausner is a great writer. He was up for an Academy Award for Space Cowboys a few years ago…I’ve got a western I’m shooting. That’s going to be a little darker. I don’t know where that’s going to go. Unfortunately, westerns do very well in America but they don’t do well overseas anymore and that’s where a lot of the money is made for these movies. But I love doing westerns. I just think it’s just such a great time and a great era. It probably has to do with my dad. You know, growing up as a kid with him and watching Bonanza…and The Big Valley.

JWK: You also have two TV pilots in the works. How are they going?

KS: We’ve got two of them going…We’ve been pitching (a faith-based project) everywhere — Showtime, USA, A&E. Everyone loves it. Nobody’s jumped on board. It’s like now is the time. There has not been a faith-based series on the air since Touched by an Angel and that’s been gone 10, 12 years.  So, this is the perfect time for it.

Then I have another pilot…Can’t Get Arrested for Hallmark. It looks like we’re going to shoot the pilot in January but I don’t know what’s going to happen. Obviously, it’s gotta do well in the two-hour time slot before they say “Give it a green light.” I’m quite positive the pilot will be shot in January up in Vancouver.

JWK: That one, I believe you told me, is a romantic mystery.

KS: Yeah…It’s in the vein of Moonlighting, that old Bruce Willis-Cybill Shepherd show. It’s comedy, it’s action, it’s drama, it’s a nice little mixture of stuff. And, it’s gonna be Hallmark so you know they’ll keep it family friendly as well.

JWK: Getting back to the faith-based pilot, you and your wife (actress Sam Jenkins) actually created that one, correct?

KS: She actually did the creation. I put in my two cents but then the old team from Hercules — Sam Raimi and Bob Tapert — hopped aboard along with my manager Sherry Marsh who is executive producer on Vikings — which I think is a great show on the History Channel. We’ve been out there. We’ve been out pitching it.

JWK: What’s the premise of that one?

KS: They don’t want me talking about it too much right now.

JWK: To come full circle here, what do you hope people take from Let the Lion Roar?

KS: Well, like anything that goes out there, it’s always going to create pros and cons and people that don’t really care. So, if anything, I just hope it creates a little conversation. Maybe some people might be interested to enough to know to…learn why the churches have done what they’ve done over the last few centuries in terms of (taking) the Bible on a different road. Maybe it will create enough of a stir that people want to go back to the way the Bible was originally written.

JWK: It seems to me that the film argues in favor of a natural union between Christians and Jews — that there should be no separation between them.

KS: There shouldn’t be a separation. There shouldn’t be a separation of any religion in any way. Unfortunately, through the centuries there have been problems from the “My God is better than your God” mentality. To me it’s like, well, guys, isn’t it all the same God? Do we honestly think there’s a bunch of different guys up there pulling strings? It’s unfortunate that we have so much anger in the world. I mean look at the terrorists of today. It’s all that there God is the right one and their guy tells them to kill everybody who doesn’t believe their way. It’s pretty sick, you know?

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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