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Radical Rev. Bates
RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses (March 12, 2006)      

        John 15:17These things I command you, that ye love one another.  18If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. - words attributed to the Radical Rabbi Jesus

In 1967, race riots occurred in Detroit, New York City, Rochester NY, Birmingham Alabama and New Britain Connecticut ... Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice ... and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave the Oscar for Best Picture to "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" ... a movie in which Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn play a couple whose attitudes are challenged when their daughter brings home a fiancé who is black.

    In the past few years, voters in many states in the U.S. voted to ban same-sex marriage ... and in many regions of the country, previous civil rights that had been granted to gay and lesbian peoples were taken away.  The Religious Right and Political Conservatives continue to use the "gay" issue to create fear and divisiveness in the voting public.  And they are miserable in their ignorance seeking to take more and more away from the currently most oppressed in our society.  "Brokeback Mountain," the most ground-breaking movie of the past decade was released in 2005, won award after award up to the time of the Academy Awards and became an Oscar contender with the brilliant Ang Lee as the Director ... but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave the Oscar for Best Picture to "Crash."

        In the beginning of the broadcast of the Academy Awards, George Clooney made reference to the fact that the Academy Award was given to Hattie McDaniel [1939] at a time when black people still had to sit in the back of theatres ... but George's confidence in the enlightenment and understanding of the Academy was premature.  The consciousness of the Academy members in 1939 and 1967 had shifted.  The courage to take a stand for what is right and just even in the face of strident criticism is obviously no longer strong within the voting members of the Academy.  

     The Oscar went to "Crash" ... and so I watched this movie on DVD.  It is a film that supposedly deals with racial tolerance.  One scene shows a white policeman sexually molesting a black woman and then in an unbelievably contrived scene later in the movie he saves her life.  If "Crash" addresses racism ... anything useful to this end was lost in the language and images within the first fifteen minutes of this movie.  And worst of all, now that it has won the Academy Award for Best Picture ... this film will be distributed again in theatres in the United States and Europe ... giving those outside of the United States another reason to perceive this country as racist and violent ... but homophobia is no less repugnant than racism.  Had it not received the award for Best Picture, I would never have watched it.

     Ang Lee won Best Director from the Academy ... and most often the Best Picture Award would follow the Best Director award ... but the Academy, many will say ... wasn't ready to honor a movie that gave an honest look into the lives of gay people. "For me, "Brokeback" isn't rebellious at all. It's a very ordinary movie.  People call it groundbreaking or what not.  It puts a lot of pressure on me. But I didn't feel this way when I was making the movie.  This is the way gays are.  It's just that they have been distorted.  When two people are in love and are scared, that's the way they are," Lee told reporters. 

    The motion picture industry prides itself on being able to influence the culture in a positive, progressive way.  But they missed the mark this year.  Due to the political and religious climate in America today, it was important that they not do so.  And when we consider the numbers of gay and lesbian people employed by the movie studios and whose contributions to the movie industry have been tremendous, it is sheer hypocrisy that the Academy would reject a movie that gives respect, compassion and understanding to these people.  But they have learned hypocrisy from the religious and political leaders that get the media attention in America.  But ... anything that is learned can be released through enlightenment.  All it takes is the right choice.  I choose to support this movie, "Brokeback Mountain" ... and the courage and determination of its director, Ang Lee.  Choosing to take a stand for what is right and just ... and for that which extends the compassion, love, and understanding for all people ... aligns all of us with the Infinite impulse toward the Principle that must be given expression in order to live in a world of peace and harmony, "love one another, as I [Infinite Presence] have loved you."

And So It Is!  

Letting Love Use Me In Its Own Good Way,
Rev. Bates

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