The Culture War Is Really a Culture Circus

I went to see The Passion Of The Christ last Wednesday afternoon in a working-class neighborhood of the Bronx, with an audience--a full house--composed mostly of blacks and Latinos. It was a stunning experience in a way that I didn't expect. The first scene of scourging, in which giddy, leering Roman guards torture Jesus with canes, cudgels and whips studded with glass shards, evoked a powerful reaction from the audience. There were gasps and audible sobbing, which continued for some time. But as the torture went on, and on, as Jesus staggered through the Stations of the Cross, punched and kicked...

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