Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Why is there such an uproar over the movie, The Da Vinci Code? The book has been out for months, if not years, and has been at the top of the Best Seller List throughout that time. Someone must be reading it, for it has sold millions of copies.

Sometimes it just seems to me that people are looking for something to be morally indignant about. Personally, I am fresh out of moral indignation. I have spent it all on deploring the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the various scandals of the Bush Administration. For me, there is a limit. After being morally indignant for a certain length of time, I become numb, immune to scandals or leaks or exposes.

But The Da Vinci Code is certainly causing a great deal of moral indignation among the Faithful of many countries. They may be faithful in different religions, but they all seem to agree that Jesus should remain a bachelor, not be pictured as a married man, with children.

The story of Jesus marrying Mary Magdalene has been around for some time. He certainly favored her...and said so! And the idea that she was a prostitute is said to have been invented by jealous people. Who knows? And the more I look at Da Vinci's Last Supper, that robed figure does look quite womanly, at that!

But people resist change and, the truth is, The Da Vinci Code, is a fictional novel, a story woven inbetween historical facts and geographical places. It is a brilliant piece of work, well-written, and must have taken months of dedicated research. Even if we disapprove of the subject matter, we should give Dan Brown his due for his writing ability.

Personally, I have never cared whether or not Jesus was married. I can't see where it makes a whit of difference. Married or single, his words carry the same weight. I don't know as marriage detracts from anyone's wisdom, especially if one is the Son of God. If Jesus loved Mary Magdalene and married her, I would applaud this as something they had chosen to do.

But this is not the way of the world these days. We are just chuck full of religious peculiarities, like the "Taking Christ out of Christmas" nonsense. I can admire dedicated beliefs and religious faith, but when you mix it with government, turn it into a political issue, and approve've lost me. Religion as politics is almost always radical.

Which makes me wonder. If the Illegal Aliens crossing the border from Mexico were all Muslims, would the Pope issue an edict to shelter them? If they were Buddhist or Mau Mau, would it be our duty to give them succor and welcome them? Sometimes it is hard not to wonder about things like that.

I heard the son of Billy Graham, whose name escapes me at the moment, say that "unless one believes in Jesus Christ and is saved, he cannot enter the Gates of Heaven!"

It occurred to me then that there is going to be a huge crowd in Hell, with all of the Muslims, Buddhists, Jewish, atheists, Wiccans, etc., crammed in there. And it is going to be mighty roomy in Heaven, with only the Christians there, flaunting their superiority and probably still praising George Bush.

Sorry, folks, but I have a little trouble accepting folks like Tom Delay as true Christians, even as I realize I do not have the right to judge others. But, on the other hand, why not do a little judging, since the Christians do it constantly? They judge Gays, for instance, and ignore Global Warming. They have a program for teens called "Battle Cry", as if teens aren't battling enough as it is. They name nuclear warheads..."Divine Slake....Divine This...Divine That!" They support people like Karl Rove, whose nickname is Turd Blossom. One thing I have learned is to never trust a person with a nickname like Turd Blossom. So I guess a little judging on my part will be a harmless pastime.

I just saw a movie directed by George Clooney, a jewel of a movie, about the days when Joe McCarthy chased down communists in government and in Hollywood and the Red Scare was causing America to turn into a punitive, angry nation chasing shadows, and one legislator....just one...was able to instill a climate of fear that is a dark blot on our history books. Many, many lives, marriages and careers were ruined in this climate....and still we do not learn!

I feel the day will come when the Christian Right movement will also be a dark blot, because they are not peddling faith. They are peddling politics and fear, and doing it with force. I am one person who will not forgive them for their crime against a little country western singer, a Dixie Chick, who simply exercised her freedom of speech and gave her opinion. She did not like the War, or the man who started it.

They ruined her career and by doing so, ruined the careers of her two co-singers. This seems to be a specialty today, ruining careers. It certainly happened to Valerie Plame. But the Dixie Chicks have a new album and the political climate has changed. One no longer has to wave flags, praise God, and approve War in order to be patriotic. It is no longer treasonous to say that Iraq was probably better off under Saddam than it is today. Perhaps tomorrow it will improve, but today, it's a total mess.

So, it seems that a married Jesus, even in a fictional novel, is enough to cause a ruckus. How dare someone suggest, even in his imagination, that this story is true? On the other hand, perhaps it is true. Perhaps Jesus had a bride and perhaps that bride took her children to France following her husband's brutal assassination.

Perhaps the Popes, back in the days when some Popes were shady characters, decided to hide this fact from the public. According to Dan Brown, the Vatican is a labyrinth of priceless art and precious artifacts, undoubtedly worth enough to feed many of the poor in today's world, and one could imagine a room...a library...filled with aging, yellowed, old documents, some dusty and forgotten, closed to the public, probably entered only by shuffling old men who count the treasures, perhaps running a dustcloth over them every ten years or so, their footsteps silent on the marble floors.

Then again, perhaps not. But it is fun to wonder about it and stretch the imagination a bit. I believe the film also reveals that people who are alive today descend from the union of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. This would be a vast improvement over the Copperheads and horsetraders in my own ancestry.

I understand the Bishops have requested that loyal churchgoers refrain from attending the film. They have probably already bought the book, but then they say a picture is worth a thousand words. This instruction alone may bring crowds to the box office, for we humans so frequently do what we are told not to do.

When you come right down to it, the only way to learn about anything is to experience it. When a person boycotts everything that doesn't adhere to his beliefs, it closes the mind and freezes the spirit. This is why high school and college students should explore every side to every story and be exposed to the various reasons behind every event. This is called "learning" and we sure aren't going to learn much if we boycott everything that displeases us.