Sunday, January 27, 2008

In defiance of God

Good Christians. Coming to a funeral near you.

The great actor he could have been. The legend he could have become. The talent of a generation. Heath Ledger wrongfooted them all and turned out the first Hollywood obituary of 2008. But as the world revisits his extraordinary performances, here come the religious zealots of Westbone Baptist Church announcing their intention to disrupt Ledger's funeral. His sin? Well, they claim, he acted a gay man, the repressed Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee's Oscar-winning film Brokeback Mountain. "He lived in defiance of God" the Baptists pontificate in a statement following the actors' death.

Only last week Mark Steel pointed out in The Independent how the current wave of Christian bigotry has all the potential to give Islamic fundamentalism a run for its money. If you feel Steel's is the usual relativist twaddle playing down the dangers of Islamic fanaticism, then you may want to think again. According to the special brand of religious intolerance so en-vogue in parts of the United States (ask Fox News), not only do you end up in hell for being gay but now you also take fast track route to eternal misery for playing the part! Rub your eyes, but that's really what they think.

One may frown upon homosexuality, but how many brain cells does it take to register that Heath Ledger was an actor and that the job of an actor is by definition one of performing roles, however positive, negative, controversial or not they may be? So presumably those blockheads would not hesitate to tell you that Anthony Hopkins is in defiance of God for having performed beastly mass murderer Dr Lecter in Hannibal. Or that Hugh Grant should sample the flames of Hell for shagging about in Bridget Jones. How all very un-Christian.

Unlike, I suppose, the notion of disrupting a funeral.