Freethought Almanac

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February 25: “The Passion of the Christ” released (2004)

It was on this date, February 25, is the 7th anniversary of the US release of the 2004 Mel Gibson film, The Passion of the Christ. Although nominated but passed over at the Oscars, for its $30 million budget, the film made almost a quarter million dollars on over 950 screens its opening weekend. As of 2010, The Passion of the Christ is the highest-grossing R-rated film in US box office history, earning $370 million. Latest figures show US DVD rentals at over $203 million. Christians rated The Passion of the Christ highly, while mainstream critics were mixed. In The Passion of the Christ much of the “passion” – a word which in the original Latin means suffering and pain – is the based on the visions and imaginings of an early 19th century mystic and religious fanatic named Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). Neither Emmerich, nor her 1833 book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, were credited in the film, but Gibson made heavy use of her extra-biblical and anti-Semitic material...

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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

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May 11: Irving Berlin

In her biography of her father, Mary Ellin Barrett refers to her father's "agnosticism," and describes him as a "nonbeliever."

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