I’ve had some interesting chats with the film writers and the editor of Christianity Today Movies in the wake of the publication of Lisa Cockrel’s Brokeback Mountain review.

Mark Moring, the CT Movies editor, says he’s received over 250 e-mails about the Brokeback Mountain review. Many of them have expressed hatred toward homosexuals. And some of them have expressed hatred towards Christiainity Today for even reviewing the movie.

(Some of them are posted here and more here.)

But here’s something interesting…

While many of those Christians responding felt that it was immoral for Christianity Today to say anything positive, or to say anything at all, about a movie in which Heath Ledger plays a homosexual…

there has not been one single letter raising any protest to the fact that Christianity Today Movies also reviewed Heath Ledger’s other movie currently in theaters… Casanova… in which he plays a character who happily hops into bed with one woman after another.

While Casanova does end with a nod toward the rewards of fidelity, we’re never made to consider the immorality of his promiscuity. Furthermore, who’s the villain in the film? The guy who works for the church.

So, if CT reviews a movie in Ledger gets frisky and sleeps with a bunch of WOMEN … nobody bothers to protest.

But make his indiscretions homosexual instead of heterosexual, and suddenly, it’s not just automatically a “wicked” and “abhorrent” movie, but even those Christians who write about the film thoughtfully are labeled as sinners and even “sodomites”!

It boggles the mind.

[revised question] Why are so many Christians ready to send off angry letters the moment something offends them? And why do so many respond so viciously toward their brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to engage the culture in a thoughtful, rather than condemning and judgmental, way?

This question comes back to me constantly. For my decade of publishing film reviews, I’ve received mountains of spiteful and condemning letters from Christians telling my that I’m not saved, that God will judge me, etc. … all because of my attention to various films. My attempts to engage those writers in conversations have usually been useless–they have no interest in discussing anything, they just want to deliver judgment. Movieguide’s Ted Baehr even announced to the public on live radio that, because I liked a certain film, I have clearly not read my Bible. (An interesting statement, considering what the Bible says about people who claim to be clairvoyant.) But in all of those years, I’ve only received a couple of angry notes from unbelievers… and those notes led to interesting conversations.

Anyway, in case you missed it, here’s my review of Brokeback Mountain. A few folks have asked why I prefaced the review with such a heavy clarification. But if you could see my email box, and the responses coming in to CT, you’d understand.

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