HOW THEY SEE IT \ 'The Passion' Elites display hypocrisy in criticism

I just saw "The Passion of the Christ. "
As millions know by now, all the advanced, hysterical hype about the brutal, unrelenting violence portrayed in the film is true.
"Jesus Christ Superstar" this is not. Plus, there's no zippy soundtrack.
The advance hype about the anti-Semitism, however, doesn't ring true.
That's because the movie recounts the Gospels in which, as producer/director Mel Gibson has repeatedly said in talking about the movie, it's clear "we all killed Christ by our sin."
Even more to the point, Christians believe Christ died because it was God's will that he should be killed, and resurrected, to redeem his people.
This is, thankfully, made clear in the film, though I myself would like to have seen this truth, and the resurrection scene itself, given even more emphasis.
Interestingly, the Gospels do not emphasize the physical suffering of Christ.
As reviewer Andrew Coffin described it for World magazine, the far greater weight of God's just wrath over the sins of his people being put on Christ's willing shoulders is the focus of the Gospels.
As Coffin, who liked the movie, puts it, Christ "was no mere martyr."
Still, it could certainly be argued that first-century people knew exactly what "scourging" and "crucifixion" meant -- no elaboration needed. In any event, it seems likely that the events as depicted in gruesome detail in Gibson's film are historically accurate.
Of course, this portrayal of a Christ brutalized for the sins of his people is not a message one hears much today. In fact, speaking as a Presbyterian, I can tell you there are a lot of feel-good and mainstream churches out there whose members may be "shocked, shocked" to learn that Christ actually, um, suffered for -- um, sin? "Ewwwww."
In any event, what's amazing about this incredibly powerful and well-acted film is, most of all, the hysteria surrounding it.
As "Entertainment Tonight" put it, "'The Passion of the Christ' opened Ash Wednesday amid a storm of controversy due to its incendiary subject matter." I don't remember the TV show referring to the blasphemous "Last Temptation of Christ" or the true but necessarily horrifying "Schindler's List" as having "incendiary" subject matter.
Andy Rooney went so far as to call Mel Gibson a "wacko " and to say that God spoke to Rooney and told him that, well, Gibson was "as crazy as a bedbug" and, regarding God's creation of Gibson, God "told" Rooney, "we all make mistakes."
Sure, I know satire when I hear it. But, imagine if Rooney said God told him that Jesse Jackson, and by extension his backers, were "as crazy as bedbugs " and that he, God, had made a mistake in creating Jackson?
Do you think Rooney would still have a job at CBS?
Score one for elite hypocrisy.
In very recent days, the shift in the criticism of the film has switched from the anti-Semitic charge to the charge of excessive violence. As Newsweek magazine put it, the movie will "inspire more nightmares than devotion."
Suddenly our elites are concerned with what we're seeing on the big screen, and how that might impact our delicate psyches?
I mean, "Passion " is more violent than the Oscar-winning movies "Gladiator " and "Saving Private Ryan " in its early scenes -- but not by much.
Why the hysteria? In our popular culture, there is one group it is perfectly safe, even expected, that the elites will denigrate. Christians.
While Islam is a religion of peace, well, those wacky, intolerant Christians -- you've got to keep your eyes on them every minute.
X Betsy Hart is a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel.