Monday, January 23, 2006

"The End of the Spear", gays, and Christ.

I received this email today which I am passing on along with the answer I gave:

On Friday, January 13th, I wrote an article detailing my concerns about the decision by Every Tribe Entertainment to cast an activist for the gay agenda in a leading role in the movie, "The End of the Spear." (You can access the original article here). Gauging the amount of email that I have received and the number of visitors to my blog, the issue seemed to touch a nerve. I also asked pastors who were equally concerned to add their name to a letter that I was sending to Mart Green, the CEO of ETE. The letter expressed disappointment over the decision and asked them to somehow rectify the situation. I sent the letter on Wednesday, January 18th, with the names of over one hundred pastors attached.

On Friday I received a call from Mart Green and Jim Hanon, the director of the film. We had a cordial conversation. I brought up my two primary concerns with the movie: the casting of a gay activist and the lack of the Gospel message in the movie. (I will hold off on reporting what they said about the Gospel message until I publish an article on Wednesday regarding that entire topic.)

On the casting issue, I asked them several key questions. My first question was directed to Mart Green. "Do you feel that what you did in casting a gay activist in this role was wrong?" I received a quick "no." I moved on.

I wanted to clear up a discrepancy between Chad Allen's and ETE's versions of the casting decision. The public perception has been that ETE was unaware of Allen's homosexuality until after he was already on board. This is an important point to many. A representative from a large, pro-family organization even called me on Friday afternoon to make sure that I was aware of this. WorldNetDaily interviewed ETE President Bill Ewing, who said that "he was not even aware of Allen's homosexuality, let alone his activism, when the actor was chosen for the part." Baptist Press reported in an article last Thursday that "the producers have said they were not aware of Chad Allen's homosexuality when they gave him the role of Steve Saint in the film but decided to stick with him once they were told of his sexual practices." It's obvious that ETE would like people to know that they were unaware of Allen's homosexuality and his activism. This is significant, because if they were truly unaware, then perhaps, the reasoning goes, they should be forgiven for not doing their homework and we should all move on.

Mart Green and Jim Hanon clarified the process for me. According to them, they had offered him the role but had not signed the contract with him when they learned of his gay lifestyle. In spite of that, they still proceeded with the signing of the contract. Now, you may be thinking, "To not offer him the job at that point would amount to discrimination." You're probably right.

But it doesn't matter.

They would do it all again even with prior knowledge of Allen's activist agenda.

I asked the question to Mart, "If you knew before the casting process began what you know now, would you still have hired Chad Allen?" I rephrased it just so they knew what I was getting at. If you were to do another movie just like 'The End of the Spear' and you were fully aware of Allen's activism, would you hire him?" Mart responded that he would like both Jim Hanon and himself to answer the question. Jim Hanon said, "Yes." And then I heard him say something like "We are going to open up the door to anyone who wants to act unlike you, Jason, who wants to be exclusive." I asked Mart Green what he would do. He responded, "I would stand behind my director."

That's it. We no longer have a company who was sloppy with their research and made an error in judgment. We have a film-making company that presents itself as Christian who sees absolutely nothing wrong with casting one of Hollywood's most popular gay activists in the role of an evangelical missionary martyr.

I told him that I believed he would lose the support of much of the evangelical community if they knew this. He disagreed. He mentioned that Jerry Falwell and Ted Haggard are behind the movie, as well as many others.

I mentioned this conversation to the man who called me from the pro-family organization. His words summed up my thoughts, "That's not good."

Would you do the following?
  1. Email this information to as many Christians as you know.
  2. Email Mart Green and let him know how you feel -- mgreen@everytribe.com.
  3. Contact pro-family organizations and church leaders and ask them to contact Mart Green and express their concerns. Perhaps they can talk to him. From all I have read, Mart is a good Christian man with a desire to please the Lord.
Some people have questioned my motivations in writing on this and continuing to write on it. I am doing so because I believe it is important. The loss of discernment is evident in all corners of evangelicalism, and there comes a time when people need to say something.

Jason Janz
And my response
Brother,

Actually, I will not. I will link my position on
homosexuality just to show you I am not totally "apostate" on this issue (that was sarcasm). Frankly, I think the conservative Christian community makes far too much of the sin of homosexuality; and gay marriage. It is not the worst sin, or the even the worst sexual sin; nor is gay marriage the worst threat to God's institution of marriage. I will go with pride; adultery; and men, particularly, not loving our spouses as Christ loved us for those awards.

We live in a secular society where some people simply do not believe what we believe. Christians being so adamant over a negative issue, rather than, say, being fired up over doing something for the "least of these" only makes us appear moralistic and legalistic - neither of which Christ was. He probably would have eaten with tax collectors, sinners, and gays were He here today. Would you be asking Him why He did so?

In homosexuality, we are talking about people who from their earliest sexual memory were generally attracted to the same sex. I agree with you that this is not God's design. However, whatever "nurture" got them to this point from their earliest sexual memory is not going to be counteracted by our ostracism and persecution. It is going to be counteracted by Christ's love; and Christ living in them - which as His representatives we are too show and bring them too.

Or in this case not show and drive them from. Would we be equally concerned if the actor had been divorced once; and it was he that had committed the adultery that ended the first marriage. I sincerely doubt it.

I will end with Romans 1:28 - 2:3, right after the strongest denunciation of homosexuality in the New Testament:
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
I think the laundry list of sins attached right after homosexuality (notice where "haters of God" is. Think the list is in order of importance?) and Paul's admonition not to judge because we have all done these things is something those who believe homosexuality is sin should keep well in mind

In Christ,
John Howell

7 comments:

  1. John, thank you for this reply. I don't share your view of homosexuality, but I respect your insistence that opinions be expressed without cruelty, ostracism, or hostility. I'll link to this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. John,

    I'll stick it in but I think you're wrong. We are called to love the sinner and hate the sin, and by being so nice we have now assured that the vast majority of Christians have pre-martial sex. There needs to be balance and I think you are going to far the other way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Techno,

    I may indeed have - but I think Christians are paying way too much attention to "gay activist agendas" and not nearly enough to a flat-out Christian love agenda.

    I clearly stand with homosexuality as sin. No one can be confused. I also clearly stand with us all being sinners - every bit as vile to God.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Techno,

    I agree with you that there is tremendous pressure on my 12 year old daughter to have pre-marital sex. Huge.

    It will her parents, her church, and her God that give her the strength and morals to stand firm. I think whether this movie hires a gay actor, activist or not, will not matter one iota in her decision- her friends are all the influence she will need.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "A flat-out Christian love agenda." I love that phrase. Wow - what would the world be like if we all rallied and sent emails about that?!
    It seems to me that we as Christians are unable to separate "being gay" from the person who Jesus loves and died for. We just see the person IS gay and we cannot get beyond it. Would anyone else like to be identified solely as what your perceived sin is? We clearly respond differently to homosexuality than any other sin. And all Christ really requires of us is to love them. And all those other kinds of sinners, too.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We have a film-making company that presents itself as Christian who sees absolutely nothing wrong with casting one of Hollywood's most popular gay activists in the role of an evangelical missionary martyr.


    Is the problem that Chad was believable in the role? That he was believable as a Christian? (and perhaps he is)?

    The post reflects a feeling of betrayal, but I'm wondering of just what exactly?

    Is it because that the character of a clean-cut virtuous "soldier for Christ" turned out to be in fact the bogeyman under the collective Christian bed? There are a lot more nasty ugly things under the bed than that. Trust me I know.

    Boo.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't address the actor issue at Bloggin' Outloud, but I did write a positive review of the movie: http://blogginoutloud.blogspot.com/2006/01/daily-brew-060123.html
    Thanks for your post, lgp

    ReplyDelete

How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly