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There is a growing effort in America to malign the gospel of Christ and assail those who embrace that gospel.

At the forefront of this blatant endeavor is the attack against actor/director Mel Gibson, whose film “The Passion” – an unambiguous recounting of the final hours in the life of Christ – is being reproved by leftist Jewish organizations that accuse the film of being anti-Semitic.

Gibson has attempted to painstakingly recreate the crucifixion of Christ not to assail Jews, but to arouse in people a desire to understand the price paid for their salvation.

Leftist religious leaders concerned about “tolerance,” “interfaith relationships” and “religious goodwill,” will not suffer this wondrous story that defies political correctness and calls people to follow the resurrected Christ.

This week Bill Maher, host of the old “Politically Incorrect” talk show, got down and dirty with the anti-Semitism charges against Gibson and Christians in general.

“I do think Mel Gibson is anti-Semitic,” he told radio host Don Imus. “So, by the way, is [Senate Majority Leader] Tom DeLay. So, by the way, are all these Christian right people who pretend to be friends of Israel.”

You can bet your last buck that not one person from the Hollywood left will denounce Maher’s disgraceful and irresponsible charges. That’s because Christians are today legal targets.

The distinguished author and educator, Dr. Ergun Caner, who joined the faculty at Liberty University this year, said in our Wednesday convocation, “The church has been shoved into the closet from which the gays came.” Dr. Caner’s point is that it is socially acceptable to intentionally mock and malign conservative Christians in a way similar to how homosexuals were treated before their uprising. We are, in fact, the only group in America that is habitually slandered by Hollywood, the mainstream media and radical politicians, who experience no hint of repercussion.

And there is a trickle-down effect to this anti-Christian sentiment.

Because popular culture has such an aggressive abhorrence of Judeo-Christian values, the notion has taken root in real America. This is why Ten Commandments replicas across the nation are in the crosshairs of the ACLU; it’s why a library worker in Bowling Green, Ky., had to go to court to win her right to wear a small cross around her neck to work; it’s why a woman in Taylor, Mich., had to go to court to win the right to display a small sign in her housing project that reads, “24 Hour Prayer Station”; it’s why the steel cross from the rubble of the World Trade Center has been targeted for removal by “offended” atheists; it’s why high school students in Windsor, Va., were prohibited from singing a secular song simply because of its title: “The Prayer.”

I could write for hours about similar cases all across America where Christians face persecution and bullying solely because they choose to walk with the Living God.

And now Mel Gibson is learning the fact that if you are going to extol the Christ of the Bible, there is going to be a price to pay.

This is not the case, though, when filmmakers make movies blaspheming and mocking Jesus Christ.

Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, pointed to “The Last Temptation of Christ” – the 1988 film depicting Jesus as a man believing himself to be possessed and having sexual feelings about Mary Magdalene – as a case in point. That movie was “the toast of the town among critics,” Bozell recalled. In addition, he noted that critics also acclaimed “Terrence McNally’s play ‘Corpus Christi,’ which presented Jesus as a gay man.” What’s more, ministers and conservative Christians are frequently depicted as mean-spirited and corrupt in many contemporary movies.

But Hollywood’s mainstream, adrift in their own hypocrisy, cannot bear the thought of the Bible being clearly presented in a movie that will surely impact millions of people who will be moved by the story and drawn to the gospel.

I am praying that Mel Gibson’s movie will have a powerful impact on our culture and that it will appeal to millions of movie lovers who are starving for a glimmer of honesty regarding the miraculous and life-changing story of the One who died for everyone, no matter their religious heritage, station in life, sexual preference or skin color.

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