Christians Go On The Attack Against ‘Pagan’ Lone Ranger (VIDEO)

Hi Ho Silver... Christians swing and miss at The Lone Ranger, calling the movie 'pagan' and decrying the portrayal of Christians within.

Hi Ho Silver… Christians swing and miss at The Lone Ranger, calling the movie ‘pagan’ and decrying the portrayal of Christians within. Image courtesy of GoDisney.Com.

Disney’s “The Lone Ranger” rode into theaters this week, to generally negative reviews. However, a notable review came from The Christian Post, not normally a center of film critique excellence.

Did the post criticize the films rather long runtime? The over the top performances? Or the recycled plot methodology from director Gore Verbinski’s previous movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean?” No, the Christian Post found the movie generally bad because the bad guys were also Christian.

They interviewed Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Coalition and Editor-in-Chief of Movieguide (a Christian movie reviewer) who came out with both fists swinging, angry that The Lone Ranger dared to show white people killing Native Americans, that businessmen are ruthless, and that natives were, as he termed it, “pagans.”

Now, the native belief system is many things, but it is absolutely not “pagan.” In the movie, Tonto is portrayed as a member of the Comanche, by Comanche tribesman Johnny Depp. He is an actor known for embracing a role, and the Lone Ranger is no exception. While the portrayal is not a Christian faith, nor is it pagan.

Pagan, derived from the Latin word “paganus,” for “country-dweller,” is used to describe followers of native European faiths. A Native American tradition is no more pagan than a Buddhist or Coptic. Being that Dr. Ted Barhr’s doctorate is in religious studies (Institute of Theology at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine), this simple statement of calling a portrayal of native spirituality “pagan” instead denotes a form of bigotry on his part.

Even when the Christian Post checked with another review, Paul Asay from Focus on the Family, they inserted a note that Mr. Asay did not refer to the film as “pagan.” At that point it is clear, the Christian Post writer is seeking an issue, latched onto a word to push it, and is now clinging to it.

The elements which the article picks at as attempts to put Christianity in a bad light, turn out to be historically accurate. The US Army did slaughter Native Americans. The Presbyterians were well-known for psalm-singing during trips. And men did pray to Jesus before killing people.

What is even more disturbing is the included conclusion by Dr. Baehr:

When the values are lost and everybody capitulates to evil, then you’ve got a problem.

The point of the message within the film is lost on the very audience which needs it the most. The movie, while not a perfectly historical example, was actually quite accurate in its portrayal of white, Christian privilege which was rampant in the 19th century. It is a sad reminder of the atrocities humankind has done to itself, in the name of wealth and religion. To attack the movie for showing this is instead a reminder of the fanatical Christian Right, who would seek to restore this to the United States.

The movie held up a mirror, and the reviewers stood in fear of their own reflections. The attempt to mis-label native spirituality, the attacks on the movies inclusion of historical accuracy, denote what is truly within their hearts. They are like a child who wishes to cling to tales and not an adult who wishes to learn. This is ultimately what is wrong with the Christian Right, they are, in the end, children who wish to never grow up.

For those of us who would rather enjoy a popcorn movie this weekend, rather than sit at home and pretend that people did not do bad things while holding up good names, the Lone Ranger is not a bad choice for a few hours of entertainment. Its light-hearted fun, and excellent performances by both Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer.

Here is the trailer for the movie.