There has been a lot of discussion in party politics these days about R.I.N.O.s which stand for Republicans In Name Only. Sure, they are part of the Republican Party but for all intents and purposes are undeclared Democrats. R.I.N.O is an apt description. It was also helpful in titling this week’s blog.
Joy and I had the opportunity last week to watch the latest rendition of the old classic, Robin Hood. The film had a cast which included some of my favorite actors, Russell Crow, Max von Sydow, John Hurt and Cate Blanchett. I have loved the tale of Robin Hood in book, television series and various films, even the satire Robin Hood: Men in Tights. There was no pretense that this was the retelling of the story in updated form but even the title demonstrated it was satire.
I have to admit I was little prepared for the sheer revisionism and blatant politically correctness integrated into this film which for all intents and purposes renders this as Robin Hood In Name Only. The familiar character names are present but bear no resemblance to the original characters. Robin Hood is not really Robin Hood but instead Robin Longstride who borrows the identity (identity theft?) of a never before heard of Robert of Loxley. The Sherriff of Nottingham makes a couple of appearances for no apparent purpose but not in cahoots with King Richard the Lion Hearted’s evil brother John. In fact, they don’t even know one another although the sheriff would like to be on John’s guest list. Early on in the film we find out that Richard the Lion Hearted is not the good brave king who is out defending his loyal subjects who are on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Muslims were busy conquering lands, enslaving and/or killing Christians, tearing down churches and Christian and Jewish holy sites and erecting victory mosques on those sites. In this retelling of the classic tale, King Richard is a compassionless evil king who is going about the countryside killing and conquering and taking whatever he wants to the embarrassment and sadness of his troops. He asks for his troop’s honest opinion of his leadership and Robin Longstride (Russell Crow) tells him that he recalls a battle where he was looking at a young Muslim girl, awaiting the King’s orders and she knew that Robin would have no compassion on her once the king issued his order to kill. So, we have peaceful Muslims, unfairly attacked by a blood thirty Richard the Lion Hearted for no apparent reason without mercy or compassion. Richard’s response was to put Robin and his friends in stocks awaiting further punishment for their honesty.
Why the rewrite and 180 degree reversal in the telling of the story? I am not sure but there are a couple of possibilities based in a growing anti-Christian sentiment. More and more Islam is being portrayed as a belief that is and has over the centuries simply tried to defend itself from Christian Imperialism. There is a nearly militant refusal to recognize that for centuries Christians, Jews and, yes, early Muslims co-existed in relative peace. As Islam grew it became more aggressive and militant in its converting by the sword. I am not saying the Church (the Holy Catholic Church) did not use force or shed innocent blood in its history but for some reason the politically correct crowd is more than willing to white wash Islam’s past and greatly exaggerate the Church’s past. Could the motivation be fear? I think so. But fear of what? I think fear of at least two things. First, fear of being viewed as “intolerant.” It is okay to be intolerant of Christians but not of Islam. They don’t want Muslims to feel bad. But why is that. I think if is the second fear, the fear of violent reprisal. If Muslims were cast as aggressors who were enslaving and killing Christians (as they are even today), conquering lands and erecting victory mosques (as they are even today), they may blow up the studios or issue Fatwas on the actors and actresses in such films. In other words, those in the film industry are well aware that there is no danger from Christians if they misrepresent or outright lie about them or their history but there is a clear and present danger if they should tell the truth about the history and even current beliefs of Islam. Sure, there are some Muslims who desire a peaceful co-existence. They may even be the majority but they have little voice because the group which perpetrates the violence is big enough, well enough funded and have substantial power and has a result dominate the discussion.
As much as the U.S. government wants to say that we are not in a religious war with Islam, they do so at the detriment and security of the nation. Although the government may not be at war with Islam, Islam is at war with the United States. The current outworking of films like Robin Hood and news coverage simply demonstrates how much conquering of at least our national thinking has occurred over the last 15 years or so. Islam nearly became the predominant worldview in the 10th and 11th centuries. It was Christian apologetics which won the day at that time. Will we see a repeat of that or will the church continue giving in to the politically correct culture of the day to the point that Islam becomes the one world religion of the future? Only time will tell.