Kevin Sorbo is most famous for playing an ancient Greek demigod on a cheesy TV show during the 1990s, but lately he’s been playing a hero for the Christian god, making the rounds of religious right radio shows to promote his new film God’s Not Dead by saying really dumb things about atheists, and now apparently about Jews too.
Referring to Mel Gibson on Jerry Newcombe’s Vocal Point radio program a few weeks ago, Sorbo told the host that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus.
Sorbo: He got attacked when he was shooting ‘The Passion’ from the Jewish community, saying ‘look at the way you’re portraying us.’ News bulletin: you did kill Jesus!
Newcombe: Well, they delivered him over to the Romans, right.
Sorbo: Exactly, they did deliver him over, so they had a hand in it. Um, and of course, what did it do? A thirty million dollar movie made five hundred million dollars, so Mel sort of had the last laugh there.
Literally every pogrom ever carried out against a Jewish population has included this accusation. It has been used as an excuse to attack, oppress, and murder Jews ever since the gospels were written. Despite decades of efforts by Christian leaders to dispel this belief in the wake of the Holocaust, Sorbo happens to share it with about a quarter of Americans today.
Of course, there’s a big problem here: the gospels were written by people with an interest in blaming Jews, which is why there are clear scriptural statements that support the narrative. It’s a great example of how religious leaders in a pluralistic society are sometimes required to look objectively at their own text, and even edit its plain-language meanings, in order to avoid social disorder and violence — which in turn leaves fundamentalists dissatisfied, and agnostics emboldened.
Since this interview was recorded before Sorbo’s infamous Facebook rant in which he referred to Ferguson, Missouri protesters as “animals,” we can only conclude that Sorbo has revealed a more general set of attitudes in recent weeks. Whether or not he understands just what kind of potential evils lie right beyond them is an open question.
Video: Kevin Sorbo drinking beer and being interviewed about his man-on-man kiss in the movie Meet The Spartans