THE MISTS OF AVALON
Turner Network Television

Directed by Uli Edel
Premieres July 15 (8 p.m. EDT)

Ted Turner once called Christianity "a religion for losers." Turner had no direct hand in The Mists of Avalon, but it takes his Christian-bashing to a level that should make the grizzled old secularist proud.

This would-be epic, based on a novel by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, tells the "true" version of the King Arthur tales, in which most of the heroes are goddess-worshiping feminists.

"Most of what you think you know about Camelot, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the evil sorceress Morgain le Fay is nothing but lies," Morgain (Julianna Margulies) announces in the voiceover narrative.

One might expect some rational explanation, from such an ambitious film, of why Christianity has prevailed over paganism for so many centuries.

Instead, Mists makes feverish assumptions about religious suppression by evil and powerful men (Christian priests). If history is written by winners, Mists is a curiosity: a story written by those who perceive themselves as victims but who also portray their supposed oppressors as spiritual losers.

Bradley died in October 1999. Although she was an Episcopalian who never joined any neopagan group, Bradley drew from a neopagan priestess named Starhawk (author of The Spiral Dance and The Fifth Sacred Thing) for her revisionist novel.

The film shows most Christians as superstitious and foolish, crossing themselves to ward off witches and fairies. We can be thankful it does not depict Starhawk's ridiculous belief that Christians killed 9 million pagans—yes, 3 million more people than perished in the Holocaust—during "the burning times." (For a discussion of Starhawk's fantastical take on religious history, ...

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