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VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 9   |   Release date: February 16, 2004

In This Issue
Campus Crusade Sues Mel Gibson
Duet Compared to Halftime Show
Bible Study on Brink of Violence
Christian Coffee House
Survey Results
February Church Sign of the Month

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Campus Crusade for Christ Sues Mel Gibson over Passion
Ministry claims the actor's movie is "a blatant rip off" of their JESUS film
The Passion of Copyright Infringement

LOS ANGELES, CA – In a flurry of controversy that just won't blow over, Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ – which has seen a storm of criticism from Jewish groups who fear the movie will stir anti-Semitism - seems destined for a dustup with an unlikely opponent and recent ally.

Lawyers for Campus Crusade for Christ International have filed papers in US District Court alleging that The Passion of the Christ, which tells the story of the final 12 hours of the life of Jesus Christ, violates copyrights held by their JESUS film – an evangelical tool that Campus Crusade for Christ touts as the most watched movie in the world with more than 5.6 billion cumulative viewings since 1979. The JESUS film offers audiences a broader view of Jesus' ministry, death and resurrection.

The lawsuit came about after Campus Crusade for Christ President Steve Douglass attended a private, advance screening of the film at a small theater in Beverly Hills. Douglass, whose ministry has promoted The Passion of the Christ on the Web site for the JESUS film for months (information about Passion was still prominently displayed on the site at press time), was invited to the screening by Gibson himself as a gesture of thanks for the ministry's support of Passion.

Related News
Contemporary Christian thespian Kirk Cameron is miffed that Mel Gibson overlooked him for the lead role of Jesus Christ, in his upcoming movie The Passion of The Christ. In a statement released through his contemporary Christian publicist, Cameron said, "I really don't think Mr. Gibson has prayed about this. After all, the Lord put it on my heart to play Him." Cameron noted that God would naturally tap him for the Christ role as a reward for faithfully portraying Buck Williams in the comedic film series Left Behind. In the press release, Cameron also pointed to his experience on the campy 80's sitcom "Growing Pains." "If you analyze the full body of my work on Growing Pains, you will see that my character Mike Seaver was often scammed by his pal Boner. The semblance between their relationship and that of Jesus and Judas is uncanny."

Though admittedly disappointed, Cameron offered his services as the risen Christ in any sequel to Passion. "Gibson's obvious disobedience to the will of God notwithstanding, I am already blocking scenes for The Resurrection."


"I admit I was honored when I got the invitation in the mail with the word ‘Payback' in big, gold letters on the front," Douglass said. "But when I got into the theater and the film started rolling, I just could not believe what I was seeing. Right there on the screen was Mel Gibson's name emblazoned across a carbon copy of a good chunk of the movie that Campus Crusade for Christ has been working tirelessly to promote for 25 years."

Witnesses tell THO that an obviously furious Douglass stormed out of the theater after the viewing without even stopping to talk to Gibson, a devout Catholic, who was waiting to shake his hand in the lobby.

"I guess I was expecting just a little originality," Douglass said when asked what he had anticipated from Passion. "I thought Catholics were good at making things up, and this is a talented and highly experienced Catholic actor and director, and all he can do is copy us. It's unbelievable. Next time try a movie about the Apocrypha, Mel."

Gibson, who openly admits to watching the JESUS film along with countless other movies depicting the life of Christ as source material for Passion, seemed baffled by the lawsuit.

"I thought we were all in this thing together. It seemed like they were behind the project all the way," Gibson said in a brief phone conversation with THO. "I mean, sure, these people are excommunicate from the one true Church and don't adhere to the Pre-Vatican II beliefs necessary to attain eternal life with Christ, but at least their JESUS movie seemed to be moving people in the right direction."

Douglass seems confident that his lawsuit will prevail.

"When Christians see this movie, they are going to realize that it is nothing but a shot-by-shot remake of one of the most important parts of the beloved JESUS movie without permission," Douglass said. "But I want to be clear that I'm not encouraging anyone to see The Passion of the Christ. Don't bother. Just pull out your trusty copy of the JESUS film."

So why is the JESUS film's Web site still promoting Passion?

"Well, our Web guy only comes in the third Friday of each month," Douglass explained. "Besides, we've been pretty busy with this whole lawsuit thing."

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