However one assesses Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, the film has drawn attention to the death of Jesus in a way that preachers and teachers, who annually labor to place Good Friday before their people, can only envy. One could scarcely have imagined that the crucifixion would become a topic for movie reviewers and talk show hosts.
In 1976 Jerry Falwell got a phone call from Jody Powell, special assistant to Jimmy Carter—a call that launched the Religious Right. Powell asked Falwell to tone down his criticism of Carter’s interview with Playboy magazine.
"I heard that when the tribulation comes, China will be one of the few countries with a big enough army to take over the United States.” My parishioner looked at me earnestly, awaiting confirmation of her theological and political obs