Monday, January 23, 2006

To Cast or Not To Cast

There is some controversy about End of the Spear, a movie about some missionaries in South America who were killed by the natives they were trying to reach with the Gospel. This incidence happened about fifty years ago, and it was recounted by the widow of one of the missionaries, Elisabeth Elliot, in her book Through Gates of Splendor.

The controversy surrounds the casting of one of the characters. Nate Saint was one of the missionaries who lost his life, and the producers of the movie (Every Tribe Entertainment) chose to cast an openly homosexual actor and activist, Chad Allen, to portray Saint. Some Christians are opposed to the movie on the grounds that the decision to cast Chad Allen in the role of one of the missionaries was a poor and/or thoughtless decision. Others don’t have a problem with the casting.

I must admit that I am one of those who has a problem with the casting. It is not because I think that a “Christian” movie should only have “Christian” actors – I recognize that as long as we’re in this world, we’re going to rub shoulders with unbelievers. As far as that goes, none of us is free from sin, so the level of sanctification of the actors involved is not what should be a casting determinant. My problem is with the very apparent incongruity of the casting decision. Even those who see nothing wrong with casting Allen to play the part of Saint would have to admit that such a casting decision is perhaps at least a wee bit incongruous. Why is this? Because Allen, as an openly homosexual activist, stands in opposition to what Nate Saint lived and died for – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Homosexuality is fundamentally at odds with Scripture, and Allen, as an unrepentant homosexual, cannot reconcile his lifestyle choice with Scripture. It would be akin to casting Madonna in the role of the real Mary – just a wee bit incongruous, because Madonna is at odds with the Mary of Scripture.

I’ll stick to reading the book, I think.

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