Focus on the Family ministry founder James Dobson spoke in support Thursday of Mel Gibson and his film, "The Passion of the Christ," saying Gibson's drunken tirade during a traffic stop had nothing to do with "one of the finest films of this era."
Gibson, 50, was arrested for drunken driving Aug. 1 in Malibu, Calif., and launched an anti-Semitic rant toward the arresting deputy. Gibson reportedly said, "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?"
Dobson said in a statement that "we certainly do not condone that racially insensitive outburst," but added "Mel has apologized profusely for the incident and there the matter should rest."
"Mel has also indicated his willingness to seek help to overcome his alcoholism, and has asked the Jewish community for forgiveness," Dobson said. "What more can he do?"
Gibson has had a troubled relationship with Jewish organizations since his violent 2004 blockbuster about the crucifixion, which some criticized for portraying Jews as responsible for Jesus' death. Supporters, including Dobson, say the movie followed the Gospel story.
"Our endorsement of it stands as originally stated. We did not believe it was anti-Semitic in 2004, and our views have not changed," Dobson said.