- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2006

“The Da Vinci Code,” opening today, is the latest test of restraint for Christian culture-watchers. In a strategic pivot, traditional-values groups are cooling to the idea of boycotting movies they deem offensive or blasphemous. The homosexual-themed “Brokeback Mountain” largely escaped official protest from social conservatives. “It seems that boycotts are becoming less and less effective,” Focus on the Family’s Bob Waliszewski told Reuters news agency. Decades ago, however, the threat of boycotts was far more potent.

The Last Temptation of Christ Dan Brown wasn’t the first novelist to suggest that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers. Nikos Kazantzakis made the same assertion, although in a mystical context, in his 1955 novel “The Last Temptation of Christ,” which was banned by the Catholic Church. Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of the book sparked outrage among Christians in 1988.

—Monty Python’s Life of Brian With its scenes of mass rucifixion and bluntly satirical views on Jewish and Roman tension in first-century Palestine, this 1979 British comedy was banned in Ireland and Norway and didn’t see official release in Italy until 1990.

—The Miracle — Italian irector Roberto Rossellini’s 1949 film, in which a peasant girl believes she’s bearing the child of St. Joseph, was called “sacrilegious” and a “mockery” of Christian faith. Its exhibition license was revoked in New York, a decision that was appealed and ultimately overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Moon Is Blue— Director Otto Preminger’s bawdy romantic comedy ran afoul of the Catholic Church’s Legion of Decency in 1953 when it was banned for its use of words such as “virgin,” “seduce” and “mistress.”

—Baby Doll— — Director Elia Kazan and writer Tennessee Williams combined efforts for this 1956 black comedy whose subject matter a pair of sexual rivals duel for the affections of a teenage girl in the Deep South earned it a “condemned” rating from the Legion of Decency.

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