The Only Acceptable Bigotry

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER

Thomas Doherty, a professor of Film Studies at Brandeis University, sees Hollywood's defense of the movie Dogma as another instance of the only acceptable bigotry in American-bigotry against Catholics.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, Oct 12 - Thomas Doherty, a professor of Film Studies at Brandeis University, sees Hollywood's defense of the movie Dogma as another instance of the only acceptable bigotry in American—bigotry against Catholics. The following is taken from a column he wrote in the Los Angeles daily.

“Dogma, the religious satire by writer-director Kevin Smith, has inspired a predictable wave of protest from defenders of the faith. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, already has published newspaper advertisements condemning the film's `Catholic bashing' under the not unreasonable suspicion that comedy featuring George Carlin as a cardinal and Nanis Morissette as God will never share a double bill with The Bells of St. Mary's,” Doherty wrote, adding, “Yet whether the sins committed by Dogma turn out to be moral or merely venial, the battle between Smith and Donohue highlights the once happy, now hostile relationship between Catholicism and Hollywood. Not so long ago, the church and the studio system enjoyed a warmly symbiotic association. Doherty went on to note the difference between the Hollywood of yesterday and the Hollywood of today, where clerics are treated as foolish at best or perverse at worst. “Today, for at least some filmmakers, Catholicism is less a religion that a ready-made sound stage for horror-films; and conspiracy thrillers, a creepy cult devoted to blood-soaked rituals, child sexual abuse and the greatest perversion of all in contemporary American culture, celibacy. A clerical collar, once the sign of protection and reassurance, is now more likely the mark of the scoundrel. “It is difficult to imagine another religion whose iconography, rituals and priesthood could be so casually demonized on screen. If Hollywood routinely portrayed African American, Ministers as lustful con artists or Orthodox rabbis as sordid agents of Israel, editorial pages across the nation would launch cruise missiles at the offenders,” Doherty said.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

“The Only Acceptable Bigotry.” National Catholic Register. (Oct. 24-30, 1999).

Reprinted by permission of the National Catholic Register. To subscribe to the National Catholic Register call 1-800-421-3230.

Copyright © 1999 National Catholic Register


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