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The Trashing Of The Christ

Contrasts In Media Treatment of The DaVinci Code and The Passion

3. In their push to promote The DaVinci Code, the networks routinely failed to address the aspect of the book that most offended Christian sensitivities: the claim that Christianity itself is a lie.

The networks showed their lack of belief or interest in religion as they almost always failed to examine Brown’s most contentious charge: that Jesus was not the Son of God. While many noted the scandalous claim of a sexual relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, only six stories explained the Code’s denial of the divinity of Jesus.

It’s right there, on page 233, the claim that the divinity of Jesus was not established in the Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection, but cynically manufactured at the early church’s Council of Nicaea in 325:

"My dear," Teabing declared, "until that moment in history, Jesus was viewed by His followers as a mortal prophet...a great and powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal." (Italics Brown’s.)

Without the divinity of Christ, where is Christianity? The DaVinci Code posits that it’s a massive conspiracy, a fraud, a crude invention ("nothing in Christianity is original") with an unreliable Bible ("The Bible is a product of man, my dear, not of God").

CBS never noticed that crucial issue in its coverage. ABC and NBC explained it three times each. ABC’s Jake Tapper also noted the Jesus-as-mortal line last August. ABC carried two explanations in the last few days before the movie’s premiere, with evangelical expert Darrell Bock elaborating on Good Morning America and Nightline on May 16: "Well, the premise is, if Jesus had married, this would have shown He’s not divine, so we need to have some coverup so we can protect His divinity." Network reporters regularly failed to connect the dots as Bock simply did here. They routinely described Brown’s Mary-Magdalene-marriage line without noting it had any effect on the divinity of Jesus, as if Christians were merely disturbed by the savior having sex.

2006-05-18-NBCTSApparcelOn NBC, Michael Medved made the divinity point in an August 10, 2005 interview. NBC also examined the point when Father Thomas Williams debated Michael Baigent on Today March 28, and when Father Greg Apparcel was interviewed in front of the Vatican on May 18: "But if you look at the idea of perhaps no resurrection, no divinity, if you look at the Mary Magdalene issue that you brought up. And to be quite honest with you, Father, I feel almost awkward bringing this up here in St. Peter's Square, but the possibility that Jesus had a physical relationship with Mary Magdalene. Is that particular element the nuclear button when it comes to this book?" Even in front of the Vatican, Lauer was still pushing that "nuclear button."