The Film at the Center of the Middle East Protests Was Produced by American Christians

I just watched the 14 min trailer for the film at the center of the violent protests which claimed the life of Ambassador Stevens. I’m not a film critic, but I think it’s safe to say that this is terrible stuff. It reminds me of the Monty Python Life of Brian stuff in that it’s low budget with elements like obvious fake beards & low-tech effects – but it’s not meant to be funny. What’s even more disturbing is that it seems as though the origins of the film have their roots in American Christianity. The NYTimes is reporting on the origins of the film:

“The film that set off violence across North Africa was made in obscurity somewhere in the sprawl of Southern California, and promoted by a network of right-wing Christians with a history of animosity directed toward Muslims. When a 14-minute trailer of it — all that may actually exist — was posted on YouTube in June, it was barely noticed.

But when the video, with its almost comically amateurish production values, was translated into Arabic and reposted twice on YouTube in the days before Sept. 11, and promoted by leaders of the Coptic diaspora in the United States, it drew nearly one million views and set off bloody demonstrations.

The history of the film — who financed it; how it was made; and perhaps most important, how it was translated into Arabic and posted on YouTube to Muslim viewers — was shrouded Wednesday in tales of a secret Hollywood screening; a director who may or may not exist, and used a false name if he did; and actors who appeared, thanks to computer technology, to be traipsing through Middle Eastern cities. One of its main producers, Steve Klein, a Vietnam veteran whose son was severely wounded in Iraq, is notorious across California for his involvement with anti-Muslim actions, from the courts to schoolyards to a weekly show broadcast on Christian radio in the Middle East.”

What do you think of this?

It seems to me that of all of the things that Christians could be spending our time, resources, and creativity on – this is a huge waste. Here’s the trailer, you can see for yourself.

YouTube Preview Image

About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Scott Wagner

    Awful. Maybe they were just mad because it was so terrible.

    • Tim Suttle

      they were certainly mad. hope you are well, Scotty!!
      ts

  • scott stone

    I’m not really sure how I feel about this whole mess. There really is quite a bit to reflect on. First and foremost I think the motivation and the film itself is disgusting. Hard to believe the film had a $5M budget as was reported.
    I think the producers, backers, and primary individuals involved in this film are some seriously flawed human beings. I take issue with statement the project has its roots in American Christianity. Just because these individuals claim to be Christians doesn’t make it so. I was listening to the CBC this morning and they claimed the makers of this film were part of the “American militant Christian movement”. God bless our friends to the north.
    I am concerned a bit about the hyper-sensitivity we are engaging in when it comes to Islam though. This is a growing trend here in the states and I think we need to be a bit careful. We shouldn’t engage in being disrespectful to anyone but at the same time our fear of potentially offending someone should not paralyze us.

    • Tim Suttle

      I know right? I know that I think that it’s healthy to be able poke fun at your own religiosity. So, I enjoy stuff like the Life of Brian and the Lutheran Satire folks because they help me not to take myself too seriously. But you can’t poke fun at those who do not have a sense of humor. And it gets a little dicey when it’s not merely poking fun but actually incendiary and offensive. That film is wrong on so many levels. Still, you can’t kill an ambassador because some other people who he has never met and has no real association with have no tact. I know that I hope this doesn’t escalate.

    • http://towardfatherhood.com j oliver

      Well said! I appreciate your thoughtful articulation, Scott.

  • Chuck

    The problem here is the Muslim faith teaches to kill the infidel! If you are not Muslim… You are an Infidel! It’s in the Koran. This film means nothing, if it did not exist, we are all still infidel. Pull our people and our aid out of the mid east and let’s put our time where it will make a difference, in our selves. Someone who might actually appreciate our help and not take our money and then try to kill us. Wake up, and forget about being politically correct.

    • http://dennisbarr.blogspot.com Dennis Barr

      Never let facts get in the way of personal beliefs…
      Here’s an article that addresses this point in detail: http://www.muslimaccess.com/articles/jihad/kill_the_infidels.asp
      I think it’s worth remembering that as Christians, we’re supposed to follow the example of that Christ Jesus guy. He said this: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This could be construed to say that Jesus wasn’t in favor of the original advice, which kinda parallels what you assert is the Islamic view. Hmmm.

      • http://dennisbarr.blogspot.com Dennis Barr

        This citation, by the way, is from the NIV translation of Matthew 5:43-48.

  • scott stone
  • Pingback: Freedom of Speech = Freedom to Insult, to Criticize, and to Apologize

  • http://dennisbarr.blogspot.com Dennis Barr

    This whole damnable episode is another piece of evidence that there are freelance “agents provocateur” at work in a lot of the crises that seem to consume us now. The “American Christians” – who may actually be Coptic Christian extremists – are essentially loose cannons doing things under the guise of “freedom of speech” that get a reaction for which they hold themselves totally innocent. Those loose cannons in Libya and elsewhere, on the other hand, use this provocation to destabilize a situation that they want to turn to their own advantage. And the rest of us, sitting at home at our computers and TVs, get a chance to feel self-righteous and indignant while those mobs torch the flag and do other insane things, let alone kill our ambassador and other Americans.
    Our foreign policy is being determined to an unknown degree by non-governmental elements that have no agenda but their own. They owe no loyalty to this government, or any other. It’s this random element that’s causing a lot of what agitates all of us. The intersection of our reactions to the free agents, and to actions by the established governments, is where we are now. Drone attacks against the Taliban in Pakistan gets the Pakistanis bent out of shape when some of their own troops get killed in the process – understandably. Thanks to 9/11 and similar events, we live in a much more unstable world than we used to.


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