How many times has the country watched the downward spiral of a celebrity -- from Britney Spears shaving her head to Chris Brown’s violent assault to Lindsay Lohan’s descent from child star to prison inmate.
Now, add Mel Gibson to the list. The first time he was caught spewing a drunken racist tirade, the media took it in stride and eventually the public forgave the star. Next, after nearly 30 years of marriage, he left his wife, mother of his seven children, for a Russian model. And the public didn’t blink.
But will they forgive him this time around? Recordings are coming out on a daily basis that force the listener to cringe in disgust at the vile and angry lashings that Gibson is throwing at his then-girlfriend and mother of his newborn daughter.
Where’s the threshold of public outrage when celebrities push the envelope? Is there a threshold?
The case of Mel Gibson is especially troubling however. On screen, Mel was every woman’s dream man -- passionate, masculine and good-looking -- that's how he appeared in the hit film "Braveheart." Of course, movies aren’t real life, but we can dream, can’t we?
And Mel Gibson produced perhaps one of the greatest movies of our time about Jesus Christ, in "The Passion of the Christ." For many Americans, especially Christians, he was revered for bringing our faith to the big screen.
We cannot overlook what has been made public about this man, great actor and exceptional film producer or not. How is it possible a man who could so clearly show the world the love of Jesus Christ and then soon after spew horrific profanity-laced threats and violence at a woman holding his child?
It comes down to the fact that no one is perfect. Not Mel, not Lindsay, not Britney or Chris Brown, nor you or I. Even so, it does not give anyone the right to indulge the brokenness of humanity. Christians give those indulgences a name: sin.
Mel’s atrocities aren’t something that the public will forget easily. I am not suggesting they should. But I do hope for redemption for him and for all of us. The crowning achievement of Mel Gibson’s career was "The Passion of the Christ." Maybe he should watch it again.
The message of the movie is one of hope because the protagonist paid the price for all of our guilt and sin, even the most vile.
The public may or not forgive Mel Gibson but he should realize redemption is available. That’s the real remedy for the evil and pain that lurks within all of humanity. Unfortunately, Mel’s is just more visible.
Penny Nance is CEO of Concerned Women for America.
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