Ticket sales record:


  • Jesus Christ movie star | Mel Gibson's 'The Passion' defies expectations and opens to a flood of tears—and ticket sales. That may not stop it from being the most divisive movie in history (Newsweek)

  • An act of 'Passion' | A local woman with psychological problems purposely drove her car into the water at A.W. Stanley Quarter Park in an attempt to re-enact a scene from the blockbuster film, "The Passion of The Christ," police said (New Britain Herald, Conn.)

  • Spielberg dodges 'Passion' controversy | Says he's "too smart to answer a question like that" (The Hollywood Reporter)

  • 'Passion' spurs a spike in sales of crucifixion memorabilia | Thanks to Gibson, nails are newest fashion icon (The Beacon Journal, Akron, Oh.)

  • `The Passion' shows a feminine side | In all the controversy and debate surrounding Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ," few are discussing how the film handles gender (Chicago Tribune)

  • Is the power of `Passion' tied to Jesus' race? | What if another man had been chosen to play Jesus, say a man with a darker, more olive complexion—perhaps one with hair like lamb's wool and feet the color of burned brass? (Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune)

  • Peter, Paul, Mary . . . and God | A lost proto-feminist text, "Gospel of Mary of Magdala," offers a more provocative look at early Christianity than even "The Passion" (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

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  • The Jesuit scholar who translated 'The Passion' | The task of achieving linguistic authenticity fell to Rev. William Fulco, a Jesuit priest and professor of ancient Mediterranean studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles (Chicago Tribune)

  • 666 appears on some 'Passion' tickets | The machine that prints tickets assigned the number 666 as a prefix on all the tickets for the film (Associated Press)

  • Two men, two different 'Passions' | When the Jews shout "crucify him!" over and over to Pontius Pilate, their voices overlapping in a frenzy, the effect is dizzying, as if some well-ordered world were about to be overturned. And I'm not referring to the "Passion" according to Mel Gibson; I'm referring to the "St. Matthew Passion" by Johann Sebastian Bach (Edward Rothstein, The New York Times)

  • Passion without perspective | Director's cut of 'The Passion' leaves some questioning his intent (The Washington Post)

  • The gospel according to Mel, drawing a crowd on 'Tonight' | Mel Gibson's appearance on Leno's "Tonight Show" to talk about his controversial flick "The Passion of The Christ" clocked the late-night talk show's biggest overnight ratings in four years (The Washington Post)

The sequel?:

  • 'The Passion' could be a hard act to follow | Industry observers and players say the movie's windfall — some experts predict it will earn $350 million in North American theaters alone — will make studio chiefs take notice, if perhaps not action (USA Today)

  • One-hit wonder | Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" may be rewriting winter box-office records, but don't bank on a big-budget "X-ploitation" movie genre just yet (New York Post)

Passion viewers:

  • The power of 'The Passion' reverberates for believers | Folks can't talk after seeing film (The Washington Post)

  • American pious | Mel Gibson's 'act of faith', his film The Passion of The Christ, opened in the US last week and caused an ungodly row amid claims of anti-Semitism. But the Christian right loved it … and bought the T-shirt (Sunday Herald, Glasgow)

Religious film:

  • The uproar wrought by 'religious' films | An article from 1966 (Malcolm Boyd, The Washington Post)

  • The man who brought Judas to life | It seems to me a strange thing, mystifying (to quote the show), that singer and actor Carl Anderson, whom audiences knew from the stage and screen versions of the 1970s rock opera "Jesus Christ Superstar," died the same week Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" splayed itself into movie theaters (The Washington Post)

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  • More than a movie, this is sacred art | Some may see a good deal of "Payback" or "Braveheart" in the graphic violence of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ," but a close look shows that this film is in many ways a dramatic return to a very old religious tradition (David Morgan, Newsday)

  • Scourging and buzz | Christian movies rarely inspire the word of mouth to launch a blockbuster (US News & World Report)

Passion violence:

  • Movie misgivings | That Mel Gibson has depicted the brutal torture and execution of Jesus at length and in graphic, relentless detail is perhaps the only point on which all the friends and all the foes of his film agree (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)

  • In the eyes of children | many parents nationwide who treasure the Christian message in Mel Gibson's film and want to share it with their children wonder whether their youngsters are mature enough to withstand the graphic scenes of Jesus Christ's Crucifixion and to absorb its meaning (The Washington Times)

  • 6th-graders are shown excerpts of 'Passion' | Teacher on leave over R-rated film (The Washington Post)

  • Parental approval for an R-rated film | For many Christians, the violence of 'Passion' serves a purpose (The Washington Post)

Passion in France:

Controversies and critiques:

  • 'Passion' tells free speech story of Crucifixion, Us versus Them | They say the movie is about love and sacrifice. I think it's about free speech (Laura Berman, The Detroit News)

  • Gibson's Passion forced to find sanctuary | Today, the Easter People, the dancers in sanctuaries, those who claim They Are Church and all the assorted Lollards and Fifth Monarchy Men who have converted Catholicism into a crankfest regard the Passion with as much alienation as any atheist (Gerald Warner, The Scotsman)

  • `Passion's' controversy is getting people talking | As a pluralistic society it is our ability to share experiences that has kept this country from sinking into the relentless interethnic bloodbaths that Europe and some other continents have known (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune)

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  • Arousing passion and interest in Jesus' death | Censorship is too blunt an instrument to be effective in a globalised era. It is, in any case, unclear why a society that has hitherto tolerated numerous dramatisations of the life of Jesus, some of them intended to be offensive to Christians, should now suppress one that may be unintentionally offensive to Jews (Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Agreed: All the publicity is a triumph for 'Passion' | The experts who gathered for a public discussion of Mel Gibson's film agreed he had succeeded, at least, in creating a frenzy (The New York Times)

  • Defending the audience's Passion | What's actually at issue here is the aesthetic, that the director depicts uncomplicated brutality without inspiring pity and fear (Suzanne Fields, The Washington Times)

Criticism of Passion criticism:

  • Scared boring: Hollywood's timid streak | The Gibson phenomenon makes Hollywood denizens nervous because it brings home the scary power of what they fear most: Bush country (Tina Brown, The Washington Post)

  • The passion of Abe Foxman | Was the ADL leader's aggressive criticism of Mel Gibson's film a major misstep? (Gary Rosenblatt, The Jewish Week)

  • The misreading of Mel Gibson | Dowd and Cohen are faking it (Mark Steyn, The Jerusalem Post)

  • Portrait of Pilate | Critics miss the point in Gibson's portrayal of Pontius Pilate (John O'Sullivan, National Review Online)


  • Seeded images | Mel Gibson has seeded his film with images of Jewish guilt and perfidy that will fall on fertile anti-Semitic soil around the world (Mona Charen, The Washington Times)

  • For Gibson, devil is in the details | I loved "The Passion," but I wanted to love it even more (Charlotte Allen, Los Angeles Times)

  • Not peace, but a sword | Mel Gibson's reactionary version of the suffering of Jesus, which provokes outrage and casts blame, fails Christian and Jew (William Safire, The New York Times)

  • Drenched in the blood of Christ | Mel Gibson's Passion is the ultimate horror movie, steeped in guts and gore. Our reviewer, a regular churchgoer, found it shocking … but utterly compelling (The Observer, London)

  • Review: Gibson's The Passion of The Christ | The anti-Semitic charges laid at the door of Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ threaten to distort a powerful and challenging piece of cinema (BBC)

  • A passion for hatred that mocks Christ's message | What I fear is hatred spawned of religious fundamentalism, the same type that tore apart the world of my childhood and continues to be an enormous producer of pain, warfare and division (Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times)

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Catholic/Protestant response:

  • Passion paradoxes | While many prominent evangelicals have praised The Passion lavishly, the official Catholic response has been more muted (The Miami Herald)

  • Rowland sees 'explosion of faith' in country | Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland said Sunday that the country is witnessing an "explosion of faith," and praised Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of The Christ." (Newsday)

  • So much irony in this Passion | There's been an aesthetic flip: Hard-core, clean-cross Protestants would once have been appalled, en masse, by the Counter-Reformation style and its message. Now many lap it up (Paul Richard, The Washington Post)

  • For one Catholic, 'Passion' skews the meaning of the crucifixion | My problem with "The Passion of The Christ" is that I felt as if I were being continually hit over the head with a two-by-four (Mary Gordon, The New York Times)


  • Hollywood holy land | Can anyone know the facts about the death of Jesus? (Archaeology)

  • The personal Jesus | Why are evangelical Protestants embracing Mel Gibson's ultra-Catholic version of the Savior? (Stephen Prothero, The New York Times Magazine)

  • The real Jesus | How a Jewish reformer lost his Jewish identity (US News & World Report)


  • Pseudo-history sells | We have so lost the habit in this country of reading history and teaching it to our children that we simply have no context in which to place the "realistic" epics of Gibson or Spielberg (Anne Applebaum, The Washington Post)

  • Pop goes the Saviour | Forget what all the experts say about spending too much time watching TV, or losing yourself at the movies (John Pungente, The Toronto Star)

  • On religion, 'Passion' is literal, 'Rings' is liberal | For all their common elements, the two movie experiences could not be further apart (The Boston Globe)

  • Misplaced piety | There is no conflict of interest here. All Ted Baehr tries to do through his work is to clean up Hollywood (Joseph Farah, WorldNetDaily)

Passion and gay marriage:

  • What would Jesus do? Lots of folks think they know | It's a good season for the Holy Trinity, which is to say God, Jesus and Mel Gibson. All three are on everyone's mind these days due to the fuss over gay marriages and Gibson's blockbuster adventure movie "The Passion of The Christ" (Al Martinez, Los Angeles Times)

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  • At the left hand of God | From same-sex marriage to Mel Gibson's gory take on the Crucifixion, the new wedge issue is religiosity, not to be confused with faith (Anna Quindlen, Newsweek)

  • The culture wars, part II | From Janet Jackson to Mel Gibson to marriage for same-sex couples, the nation's cultural divisions seem to be widening (The New York Times)

  • Hate nation | The culture wars are back on, with a vengeance (Gersh Kuntzman, Newsweek)

Gay marriage in Oregon:

Gay marriage in New York:

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Marriage amendments:

  • Marriage battle begins on Hill | Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said yesterday that Congress "must act and act soon" to prevent a few judges and local officials from redefining marriage for everyone, as lawmakers held the first day of hearings on a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a male-female union (The Washington Times)

  • Gay-marriage ban faces many obstacles | While some legislators in conservative states say there's passionate support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, others say that altering one of the nation's founding documents raises troubling questions (Associated Press)

  • Senate majority leader blames S.F. for setting a same-sex 'wildfire' | Frist wants 'wildfire' of marriages stopped (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Gay marriages proliferate, as do arguments | Constitutional amendment runs into doubts in Senate (The Washington Post)

  • Debate over same-sex marriage spreading across country | Constitutional amendments to ban homosexual marriage have been filed in 22 state legislatures, and at least eight are debating the issue (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • A battle, joined | Marriage and the constitution (Editorial, National Review)

  • Gay marriage amendment: A loser | The Democrats will not shrink from this fight (Al Hunt, The Wall Street Journal)

  • McAuliffe's strict constructionism | The Dems suddenly fall in love with the Founders (Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online)

  • Marrying and amending | For those of us looking to keep the definition of marriage from being hijacked by renegade judges and law-flouting couples storming the steps of whatever friendly courthouses they can find, this is constitutional crunch time (Mark Davis, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

  • How the judges forced the president's hand | George W. Bush is not a culture warrior by inclination. And he clearly did not seek this fight over gay marriage (Lisa Schiffren, The New York Times)

Gay marriage and politics:

  • Kerry backs benefits for legally united gays | Candiate, under fire from gay Democrats for opposing same-sex marriage, has promised that if elected president he would grant state-sanctioned gay couples the same 1,049 federal benefits married heterosexuals enjoy (The Washington Post)

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More on gay marriage:

  • Gay marriage debate erupts across U.S. | The contentious debate over gay marriage intensified from coast to coast as officials in liberal pockets of the nation vowed to issue licenses for same-sex couples in defiance of critics and long-accepted laws (Associated Press)

  • Pope: Same-sex unions 'degrade' marriage | It was the second time in a week the pontiff has raised the issue (Associated Press)

  • Outside polls, a pitch for gay marriage | In the battle over same-sex marriage, those who oppose a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage solely as the union of one man and one woman say they have been at an organizational disadvantage (The Boston Globe)

  • Both sides court black churches in the debate over gay marriage | Each side seeks the perceived moral authority and the sheen of civil rights that black religious leaders could provide (The New York Times)

  • A perfect union? Marriage has seen many makeovers | The push to allow gays to wed is just the latest of many social forces that have reshaped matrimony (Chicago Tribune)

  • Mutilated debate | Homosexuality shouldn't be compared to incest (Austin Bramwell, National Review Online)

  • Courts vs. the people | Who will define marriage? (Stanley Kurtz, National Review Online)

  • Fundamental issue | The problem with the "gay marriage" issue is that the more fundamental issue is not "gay marriage." The real issue is who should decide such issues — that is, what kind of country and what kind of government do we have or want to have? (Thomas Sowell, The Washington Times)

  • One man, one woman: One of many traditions | All in all, Christianity has shown itself open to marital possibilities other than opposite-sex monogamy. And when it comes to the sanctity of marriage, that too is a variable thing (Mark Silk, The Hartford Courant, Conn.)

  • State to church: I want a divorce | By the power vested in us: civil unions for all—gay or straight. Blessings optional (Alisa Solomon, The Village Voice)

Baylor's student paper endorses gay marriage:

  • Student stand on gay unions roils Baylor | In what was widely seen as another clash between faith and academics at Baylor University, the school's president on Tuesday condemned an editorial in the student newspaper supporting gay marriage, and made clear that the administration would exert tighter control over the paper's content (Los Angeles Times)

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More on Baylor:

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  • Get busy, Baylor regents tell Sloan | Report calls on president to heal divisions, build trust at university (Houston Chronicle)

  • Committee okays faculty role in hiring | Lack of faculty input was one of the major concerns members of the Faculty Senate expressed in their document released in September following their 26-6 vote of no confidence in Sloan (The Baylor Lariat, student newspaper)

  • Baylor regents press Sloan to mend fences with faculty | Acknowledging divisions on campus, a committee of Baylor University regents called for President Robert B. Sloan Jr. Friday to reach out to faculty members while another recommended revising the economic model behind Sloan's 10-year vision (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

  • Healing Baylor's rift | The polarization and alienation among faculty, students, and alumni at Baylor University reached a critical level sometime ago (H. Rhea Gray, Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex., Feb. 21)

Baylor athletics:


  • Graduation in church issue | Some say Spring Grove rain plan violates state-religion separation (The York Dispatch, Pa.)

  • Schools consider limiting fliers given to pupils | Montgomery County school officials seeking to limit the distribution of religious organizations' pamphlets are considering whether to restrict nonprofit sports leagues and other groups not associated with the schools or county from advertising activities through fliers sent home in student backpacks (The Washington Post)

  • Emotions high over gay flag | A petition with 209 signatures, and counting, requests that a "Gay Pride" rainbow flag hanging in Bedford's John Glenn Middle School be removed (Bedford Minuteman, Mass.)

  • Montana creationism bid evolves into unusual fight | Partly because of the contentious dynamics of an election year, partly because of the coast-to-coast influence of the Discovery Institute, local disputes on the teaching of evolution are simmering in states from Alabama to Ohio to California (The New York Times)

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  • Teacher in scarf issue resigns post | Lancaster instructor had ordered Muslim student to remove her hijab or leave his class (Los Angeles Times)

  • A clash over values in Australia | When Prime Minister John Howard recently said that parents were moving children out of the public school system because it was "too politically correct and too values-neutral," he stirred up a hornet's nest of controversy - not unlike a similar debate that has long brewed in the United States (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Also: Labor backs Catholic schools boost | Catholic schools have won a $362 million boost under a federal funding overhaul in which they will be paid in the same way as other non-government schools (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

French religious garb ban progresses:

Life ethics:

  • New embryonic stem cells made available | Harvard researchers said yesterday they had created 17 new colonies of human embryonic stem cells to be shared freely with scientists around the globe, more than doubling the world's available supply of the medically promising but ethically contentious cells (The Washington Post)

  • Bush policy on human stem cells faces new challenges | The White House's policy on research with human embryonic stem cells has been put under new pressure by the development of new stem cell lines by a Harvard researcher (The New York Times)

  • Doctors know best, not the HFEA | From today, it will be an offence for any clinic to implant more than two embryos into a woman under 40, or to implant more than two donated eggs regardless of the woman's age Every infant death is a tragedy, but the HFEA's draconian ruling surely risks throwing the baby out with the bathwater (Neil Collins, The Telegraph, London)

  • On high-tech reproduction, Italy will practice abstinence | Advances in reproductive technology seem always to take one step forward and two steps back (Robin Marantz Henig, The New York Times)

  • Antiabortion forces finally get ticketed by police | Waco police on Wednesday issued citations to anti-abortion activists demonstrating in front of the Planned Parenthood of Central Texas clinic on Columbus Avenue after two weeks of warning protesters they were violating city law (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

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Replacements on bioethics panel:

  • We don't play politics with science | This President's Council on Bioethics is easily the most intellectually and ethically diverse of the bioethics commissions to date (Leon Kass, The Washington Post)

  • Kerry criticizes Bush for bioethics panel | Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry criticized President Bush's replacement of two dissenting members of a bioethics panel that advises him on such issues as cloning and stem cell research (Associated Press)

  • Bush replaces advisers on cloning, medical issues | President Bush reshuffled his advisory council on cloning and related medical issues on Friday, adding a prominent neurosurgeon known for his work on conjoined twins and two conservatives who have spoken out strongly against cloning (Reuters)

Clergy abuse:

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  • Gay priests cited in abuse of boys | Eighty-one percent of sex crimes committed against children by Roman Catholic priests during the past 52 years were homosexual men preying on boys, according to a comprehensive study released on the church's sex abuse crisis (The Washington Times)

  • Hedonism | Blaming things on "the culture" won't help. Accepting responsibility might (Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Catholic abuse report:

  • Watchdog says minors safer with church | The head of a lay watchdog panel formed by Catholic bishops to investigate clerical sex abuse said Wednesday that young people are safer as a result of the panel's study that chronicled abuse claims made nationwide since 1950 (Associated Press)

  • Four percent of priests were accused of sex abuse | Report says epidemic in church peaked in '70s (The Washington Post)

  • Harsh words for bishops praised | Conservative and liberal Catholics applaud tone of review board report (The Washington Post)

  • Church's day of reckoning | Report blames bishops, seminaries in `shameful' abuse (Chicago Tribune)

  • The right direction | George Weigel on the Catholic bishops' review board report (National Review Online)

  • Priestly abuse: Report unsettling for what it doesn't say | You could pick out a number of telling details from the National Review Board's final sex-abuse report to the U.S. Catholic bishops, but to us, one stands out: Investigators looking at church files in nearly every diocese found not one scrap of paper on which a supervising bishop recorded his outrage over a priest's molestation of a child. (Editorial, The Dallas Morning News)

  • Fix the church in the name of hope | In the face of these statistics, we are right to ask whether reform of the Catholic Church is still possible or whether it is a lost cause? (James E. Post, The Boston Globe)

  • A chastened church | Given the nature and breadth of unlawful behavior, there are more questions that need to be answered (Editorial, The Washington Post)


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  • Also: Banner quarter for Thomas Nelson | After losing money the first part of the decade, Thomas Nelson, Inc., is on its way to its most profitable year ever, company Chairman and Chief Executive Sam Moore announced Wednesday (Nashville City Paper)

  • 'The Passion' spurs religious book sales | As theology, The Da Vinci Code and The Passion of The Christ are far, far apart. But as phenomena, they have had a common affect, driving sales for a wave of Christian-themed books, some of them highly controversial (Associated Press)

  • LifeWay set to unveil Holman Bible | The Holman Christian Standard Bible will be released April 15 (Nashville Business Journal)

  • Priceless Bible goes on display | One of the world's rarest texts is going on public display in Oxford as part of World Book Day (BBC)

  • I want my congregation to look outside itself | Everywhere I turn these days, I hear about "The Purpose-Driven Life," the mega-best-selling book by a California minister named Rick Warren (Henry G. Brinton, The Washington Post)

  • Pope poems top one million copies | More than one million copies of a poetry anthology by Pope John Paul II have been published in 20 languages, the Vatican has announced (BBC)

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