Is the passion movie obscene?

RJLipkin at RJLipkin at
Mon Mar 1 08:19:43 PST 2004

            This discussion tracks discussions about tolerance we've had on 
this List, though more abundantly on the Religion & Law List. Just who is 
intolerant the person committed to a religion that denigrates or is otherwise 
hostile to another person's religion. Can the former justifiably insist that the 
latter should be tolerant or as Rabbi Marc Gellman and Michael Medved have said 
Jews need to allow Christians to tell their story?

           Please understand I have not seen the Passion nor am I 
sufficiently familiar with the theological and philosophical foundations of Christianity 
to claim that Christianity is hostile to Judaism.  My point is simply a 
conceptual one, namely: if Christianity is hostile to Judaism (please let me 
emphasize the "if"), then I disagree vehemently with Rabbi Gellman (who, I cannot 
resist revealing, wrote his dissertation on abortion under my supervision at 
Northwestern University) and others who insist that Jews let Christians tell their 

        This issue is a difficult one for those who examine and write about 
tolerance. What does tolerance dictate as the appropriate attitude of 
minorities especially, but also majorities, concerning the stories of others when these 
stories denigrate (truthfully or not) the stories, roles and, even in some 
cases,  the existence of the individuals in question? 


Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
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