Origin of the story:

Nikos Kazanizakis wrote a fictional novel, The Last Temptation of

Christ, for which he was reportedly excommunicated from the Greek

Orthodox Church.

The history of the film version:

Paramount Studios dropped the project in 1983 due, in part, to

pressure from Christians. Director Martin Scorcese sold the idea to

Universal Studios and produced a 10 million dollar version, The

Passion, which was finished in June 1988.

Basis for evaluation the film's content:

The original novel, two versions of the script by Paul Schrader

(one of which was represented by Universal as the "shooting script"),

and an eyewitness account of the film as shown to Universal "insiders"

provide the basis for evaluation.

Content of the film that is offensive to Christians:

(1) Mary declares that her son, Jesus, is "crazy" and "not well in the


(2) Jesus is depicted as having "brain fever," "struggling over his

sins, "lust driven (especially for Mary Magdalene), confused,

bedeviled by "nightmares and hallucinations," not able to answer basic

questions about His identity, and shocked by His own magical powers.

(3) There are clear references to a youthful sexual encounter between

Jesus and Mary Magdalene in which Jesus did not lose his virginity.

(4) Jesus is shown waiting in line at Mary Magdalene's brothel and

entering the darkened room where she lies naked.

(5) One scene shows copulating snakes, one of which speaks to Jesus in

Mary Magdalene's voice.

(6) In a dream sequence Jesus marries Mary Magdalene and has sex with

her, kissing her on or near her breasts, as an angel is invited by

Jesus to watch.

(7) Jesus convinces Judas to betray Him.

(8) Jesus declares to Mary Magdalene, "...Woman is God's greatest

work. And I worship you. God sleeps between your legs."

Efforts to work with Universal to alter the film:

Before the contents of the film were really known, Universal

hired a film producer and film marketing expert, Mr. Tim Penland, a

believing Christian, to "build bridges to the Christian community."

Mr. Penland was joined by a "secret consultant," Dr. Larry Poland,

with expertise in the dynamics and structure of the evangelical

Christian community. Universal promised to invite Christian leaders

to a mid-June screening "far in advance of the release date" and sent

invitation letters confirming this. Martin Scorcese assured

questioners that he was making a "faith affirming" film and that Jesus

would be depicted "as sinless, as diety, and as the savior of the

world." Based on these assurances, Christian leaders agreed to "hold

their fire" on the film until its contents could be more clearly


Breakdown of relations with Universal:

As the date of the screening for Christian leaders drew near,

Universal "waffled" on its commitment. A "bootleg script" was

spirited out of Universal by a studio employee and fell into the hands

of Christian leaders. Universal execs then declared that "the

Christians can't stop us from releasing this film." Mr. Penland, true

to his original statement to Universal that he would terminate his

relationship "the minute it was determined that the film was

blasphemous to Christ or it was viewed as destructive to the cause of

Christ," resigned effective June 12, 1988.

Indications that Universal hopes to profit from 

the Christian controversy:

The executives at Universal decided to make prints of the film in

70 millimeter, instead of the usual 35 millimeter, so it could be

shown in the biggest theaters in America. They screened the finished

script in early June for their distribution people with indications

that they expected a box office bonanza. They are adjusting the

timing of the release apparently to capitalize on the height of the


Present state of protest by Christians:

Christian leaders have refused to attend any screening by

Universal based on the disclosures of the content. They are mounting

a nationwide effort involving hundreds of Christian groups and costing

millions of dollars to mobilize national pressure to stop the release

of the film. They don't want impressionable viewers to receive a

twisted view of Christ that will keep them from faith in the historic




1. Pray!

* For the key figures at MCA - Universal listed below, that God will

show Himself to them in a powerful way, convincing them to kill the


* For Christians employed by various divisions of MCA - Universal that

they will have the boldness to stand against this release at every


* For judgement on those perpetrating blasphemy against our Lord.

* For protection of those who might have their faith stolen by this


* Thanking God for turning this situation into a great victory for the


2. Create pressure on key figures to stop the release -- lovingly but

firmly. Call or write more than once:

* MCA-Universal, 100 Universal City Plaza Blvd., Universal City, CA


* MCA-Universal headquarters phone: 818-777-1000

* Lew Wasserman, MCA Chairman of the Board (at Universal City)

* Sidney Sheinberg, MCA President (at Universal City)

* Tom Pollack, Chairman of the Board, Universal Pictures (at Universal


* Eugene Giaquinto, head of the home video division

* Felix G. Rohatyn, Investment Banker, MCA Director

* Robert S. Strauss, Former Chairman, National Democratic Party, MCA


* Donald Trump, New York developer, major MCA shareholder and possible

MCA buyer

3. Contact heads of local divisions of MCA owned businesses indicating

that you will not patronize their businesses if Universal releases a

film defaming your Lord. Ask the local managers to protest the

release to the heads of MCA.

* Universal Studios Tour, restaurants, gifts shops, and hotels (at

Universal City)

* Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

* Cineplex Odeon theaters nationwide

* Universal distribution centers in major cities (consult white pages)

* WWOR-TV Secaucaus, NJ

* LJN Toys

* Spencer Gifts - located in many shopping malls and retail centers


* Intrigue retail jewelry stores and kiosks

* A2Z-Best of Everything Shops

4. If the film is released, organize a prayer vigil at the theater,

witness to those attending and share materials that give the true

picture of Christ.

5. If you are an employee of MCA-Universal, protest to your superiors

about this film and, if led to do so, threaten resignation if the film

is released.

This fact sheet is provided by Mastermedia International, 2102 Palm

Ave., Highland, CA 92346, 714-864-5250. Duplicate and distribute this


Computers For Christ #14 - The Living Water BBS - Charlotte, NC


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