In the midst of mixed messages coming from all angles about The Da Vinci Code, it is hard to know what stems from legitimate concern and what stems from fundamentalist hysteria over a vehicle of fictional entertainment. Somewhere between the political infighting, many religious leaders seem to have lost their common sense.
First and foremost, it is vitally important to note that both the book and film version of The DaVinci Code is sold as fiction. You will not see Dan Brown’s FICTIONAL NOVEL in the nonfiction section and Barnes & Noble. It is a story with no factual basis whatsoever that portrays Jesus as a womanizer and a mortal being. Brown exaggerates the conservatism of a service-dedicated Catholic prelature called Opus Dei. When the Catholic Church is attacked daily by the liberal media about much more serious things, a movie should be able to roll off the backs of the faithful. Pick your battles.
I consider myself a conservative Catholic. I attend Mass weekly, and go daily when I am in Washington at the Catholic University of America. I am strong enough in my faith to be able to see a FICTIONAL MOVIE without being swayed by its falsifications and exaggerations. Then again, many people don’t read the Bible because the ACLU has banned its relevance. I sincerely doubt those who subscribe to anti-Christian bigotry and the rules of the ACLU are going to believe the religious leaders over Dan Brown, however ludicrous his story is.
But alas, the Catholic Church, and leaders in the evangelical Protestant churches seem to be afraid of losing their congregations to Hollywood make-believe. If a parishioner is pliable enough to be convinced that Jesus, the Son of God, was mortal and had conjugal relations with Mary Magdalene, then the churches of the Western world have done a bang-up job of teaching their flocks. I for one would question whether an individual with that level of gullibility was truly a believer in the Christian faith to begin with. To reiterate, if parishioners are willing to buy The Da Vinci Code as fact, religious leaders worldwide have some problem-solving to do.
While the Vatican and conservative Protestant groups are right to discourage belief in The Da Vinci Code, they are misguided in that their well-intentioned efforts to downplay the movie only serves to motivate people to drive to a theatre and see the film. I call it the prohibition effect — when booze is outlawed, your Bible-thumping grandmother suddenly becomes an alcoholic. It is no accident that the Betty Ford clinic opened after prohibition was repealed.
Instead of worrying about those who are gullible enough to believe that reindeer fly and that Jesus was a father, perhaps the Vatican should instead worry about how the parishes of the innocent can be saved from the auction block to pay for the crimes of a perverted few. The world would be better off if the leaders of the Christian faith focused their energies on real-world issues such as immigration, instead of a FICTIONAL MOVIE.