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Newsweek reports that Jonathan Bock, “head of Grace Hill Media, a PR firm that markets to Christians, . . . calls ‘The Passion’ an ‘Ellen moment’-Ellen DeGeneres, he means-in which a group of outsiders is embraced by Hollywood. ‘Christian is the new gay,’ he says, laughing.” I guess this will enrage Ellen-haters-of whom I am emphatically not one; I think she’s pretty funny-but Bock is really on to something. I was in Greenwich Village last week and overheard one guy asking another, “So why did Jesus have to die?” I suspect The Passion will reach even many people who don’t see the actual movie; the discussion of the film has put the question of Christ and Christianity at the forefront of national attention, and Mel Gibson deserves credit for creating this nationwide “teachable moment.” (P.S. to e-mail correspondents: Yes, I know gays aren’t exactly “outsiders” in Hollywood the same way open Christians are.)



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