Thank You Note for Mel Gibson as…
The Passion of the Christ Airs on UP-TV

Writer Kevin Ott At Rocking Gods HouseI’d like to write an open letter — well, more of a thank you note — to Mel Gibson. Before I do, there’s something important happening on television this weekend I’d like to mention. On Palm Sunday 9:00pm ET, UP-TV will be debuting Mel Gibson’s epic The Passion of the Christ for the first time on commercial television. It has aired on television twice before — in 2011 and 2013 — but never on commercial television. I am glad this movie is becoming something of an annual tradition in American culture.What’s handy about these events are the behind-the-scenes videos that the websites always compile. UP-TV is no exception. Before the Passion came out, I remember rushing to a friend’s house to watch Gibson’s big Diane Sawyer interview about the movie, and I was in such a hurry that I parked in an illegal spot. There was a very unhappy police officer waiting for me afterwards.

They’ve placed the interview I saw in 2004 on their site, along with other notable interviews that happened in 2004. It’s a fun trip down memory lane; or if you never got to see Gibson defend and explain his vision for his intense, jaw-dropping cinematic treatment of the last 12 hours of Christ, the videos are worth watching.

If you’ve seen him interview, you’ve seen Gibson’s earnest, humble spirit. He’d be the first to tell you that he’s made some mistakes. But I agree with this journalist, who says it’s time for Hollywood to take Gibson off their black list. She makes the excellent point that so many Hollywood darlings and kingpins who are not blacklisted have said and done far worse than Gibson. I’ve always felt that Gibson was a target — even before some of the controversies in his personal life — because he was an unabashed Christian who boldly proclaimed his beliefs about Jesus in Hollywood. And, when Passion came out, Hollywood was a devoted temple to the god of postmodernism — the era that says there are no absolute truths and claims to tolerate everyone (except for Christians who believe in a God with an absolute moral standard, of course).

That was 2004. Things are changing in Hollywood. Postmodernism is still very much alive, yes, but more Christians are finding a voice. More movies are coming out that court the massive Christian audience in America. It’s not to say that Hollywood is suddenly the Bible Belt’s best friend, but things are different. Sure, studios are in it for the money, but God can use them nonetheless like He used King Cyrus to accomplish His plans. It’s a new era in the movie industry, and I believe Christians will have a powerful voice in the years to come. In many ways, we have Mel Gibson to thank for this.

So, thank you, Mel Gibson. You blazed a new trail for Christians in film making, and I pray God blesses you in the days ahead. You were, and still are, in my book, a warrior for freedom and a warrior for Christ — perhaps not unlike a certain Scottish freedom fighter you once portrayed. I believe God has raised you up for our generation, and I am thankful for that.

Just something to think about as many of us kick off Palm Sunday and Easter Week with The Passion of the Christ.