Is simply retelling the story of Jesus Christ "anti-Semitic?" That's the question that Nightline's David Wright hinted at on Monday night. Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the producers of the History Channel Bible miniseries, appeared on the program to promote their new Son of God movie adaption.
Wright described Christ's death and resurrection as a "story that everyone knows" and hinted at possible peril: "Mel Gibson went out of his way to make what he thought was the definitive movie and he got into some hot water from the Jewish community over allegations of anti-Semitism." He added, "Were you worried about that?" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Burnett shot back, noting that the production team had "consulted with rabbis" and the Anti-Defamation League "to understand the sensitivities and what could we do while keeping to the gospels, but while being sensitive to the Jewish faith."
Does making a film about Christ automatically open one up to charges of anti-Semitism?
However, during much of the rest of the interview, Wright respectfully investigated the upswing of Christian films. To Downey, who plays Mary in the Son of God, he wondered, "As a believer, what did you learn from becoming her?"
Wright also summarized the product as a "labor of love" that is "poised to be a huge commercial success."
The journalist did hit Burnett, who made his name with shows such as Survivor, by grilling, "This thing that couldn't be further from reality TV, is this redemption for you?"