Tucson Fundamentalism

I'll admit: I am sick of hearing about Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. I haven't seen it, and I have no opinion about the flick either way, but it's been talked about ad nauseum. So forgive me for talking about it again in this space.

Ever since the film came out, and the Weekly wrote a couple of pieces about it--James DiGiovanna's review, "The Gore of the Christ" (March 4), and Connie Tuttle's column last week--we've been overwhelmed with mail ripping us apart for, basically, being heathens.

I'll share several of the more notable examples with you.

First, someone wrote a letter to the editor that we can't publish in Mailbag--the writer didn't leave contact information and isn't in the phone book, so it can't be confirmed--saying that there is no way that I could be a Christian, as I said I was in this space two weeks ago. "You claim to be a Christian," this person wrote, "but you produce garbage like this?" The writer then goes on to chastise us for criticizing the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, accuse us of slander and say that there is "nothing of value or interest in the paper." Then don't pick it up!

Second, someone wrote a 1,000-word letter complaining about last week's "The Saga of Three Points," by Leo W. Banks. The man, a Three Points-area resident, feels the article "bashed" his community. I disagree, but fair enough. He writes: "Yes, I am one of those religious fanatics that you and the devil despise, to counter act this article you have written."

Finally, my favorite piece of mail came in the form of a package containing Connie's column, some other papers and a note: "I am an 80-year-old Christian. I picked up your paper and I will not ever pick it up again. Thank you. Love. I would sign my name, but I am afraid of (being) harmed."

Goodness. And some people wonder why religion and spirituality get a bad name...

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