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Hannity

Culture War At Home?

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", March 4, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Reporting from Colorado Springs tonight. And I'm coming to you live from the Focus on the Family studios, and joining me is the founder of Focus on the Family, our good friend, author of the best-selling book "Bringing Up Boys," Dr. James Dobson.

Good to see you, Dr. Dobson. By the way, thank you for letting us come in here and see these great facilities.

DR. JAMES DOBSON, FOUNDER, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: Sean, you've been here all day. We really enjoyed it. We did our radio program, our Focus on the Family radio program this morning and...

HANNITY: It was a lot of fun, and we had a great crowd here.

DOBSON: Turn about is fair play.

HANNITY: Thank you very much.

You know, now that the numbers have come in on "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's over $153 million in just a short time since it's been released.

You think of the criticisms about not only Mel Gibson, but the comments that have been made even prior to people seeing the movie. They were irrelevant, immature, bombastic and frankly, I think, simplistic.

What do you think of the critics that were so vicious towards Mel in this movie?

DOBSON: Well, they were very angry at the message, the message of "The Passion." They just did not want it showed. And if you just look at the violent pictures that have been out there, you don't hear that kind of reaction.

The things that they complained about just aren't validated, and then what is validated is all the American people that have come out to see this movie. I'm really excited about it.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Dr. Dobson, it's Alan in New York. Good to have you with us, sir.

DOBSON: Hello, Alan.

COLMES: Is that to say that any big bucks movie -- I mean, "Lethal Weapon" was criticized for being violent. Just because a movie does well at the box office, regardless of how violent it is, that means the American people have spoken and it should -- Is it then immune to criticism?

DOBSON: Certainly not, Alan. My goodness. I've never recommended an R-rated movie before in my life.

The reason I did this one is I saw it three times, and it moved me deeply. I appreciated its message. It was consistent with the four gospels, and I felt it was a message that should be seen. That's why I supported it.

COLMES: Why is the violence in this movie not as easily criticized in your view as the violence in some other movies that are equally violent, perhaps?

DOBSON: Alan, I don't know how in the world you would show a crucifixion without it being violent. I don't know how to do that. I mean, the word excruciate comes from the word "the cross." And there was simply no way to do that.

If you are going to be consistent with the scriptures and you're going to present what actually happened and what Jesus did, why he died and how he died, you had to depict the crucifixion the way it was.

COLMES: Let me show you what The New Republic, the cultural editor of The New Republic, who's been cultural editor there for quite awhile, has said about this.

He said, "The Passion of the Christ" is without any doubt an anti- Semitic movie, and anybody who says otherwise knows nothing, or chooses to know nothing, about the visual history of anti-Semitism, in art and in film. What is so shocking about Gibson's Jews is how unreconstructed they are in their stereotypical appearances and actions. These are not merely anti-Semitic images; these are classically anti-Semitic images."

Do you see any validity in that?

DOBSON: Absolutely none. He would say the same things about the four gospels, because that's where this information came from. That's where the story came from.

I wonder if he has been quite that vitriolic with movies that attack Christians.

Now, I haven't seen many of the media elite take on Hollywood when it has vilified and made fun of those of us who have strong commitments to Christ.

COLMES: Can you...

DOBSON: There's a double standard here.

COLMES: Can you understand the sensitivity at all to this film and why it is so controversial to so many people?

DOBSON: I don't understand it. Having watched it three times, I don't see evidence of it. I don't see anti-Semitism.

And I think that, again, there is another concern. I think it has to do with the message. I think people who do not appreciate the Christian message use this opportunity to attack, not the film but the truth that's behind it.

COLMES: If this stirs up even more controversy about who killed Christ, is that good for Christians?

DOBSON: Well, this film is certainly good for Christians. I can tell you, again, having seen it three times, that when the movie ended, that people were stunned. I mean, they sat there. They were deeply moved by what had taken place there.

And those that I've -- many of them had tears in their eyes and understood for the first time who Christ was.

COLMES: Dr. Dobson, I'm saying my point is you know not everybody sees the movie as you see it. It is probably the most controversial film I can ever remember.

And is that controversy, I'd like to ask again -- if it brings up some of the old controversies that played out historically when passion plays have been shown, is that good for Christianity?

DOBSON: Alan, who made the film controversial? People like you and those in the media elite made it controversial. People like Frank Rich of The New York Times begin attacking it before it was even seen, before it was out. And they made it controversial.

But the people who are watching it are not the ones complaining about this.

HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, I saw this film and there is not a single, solitary hint of anti-Semitism.

DOBSON: None.

HANNITY: You cannot construe it in any way. And I'm going to tell you something. I am beginning to think, because these attacks against Mel Gibson and this film won't stop, I'm beginning to think there's an anti- Christian sentiment out there that is driving these false attacks against this movie and against Mel himself.

DOBSON: Sean, what else is new? There has been that bias against Christianity from the beginning.

I mean, "The Last Temptation of Christ" made Christ out to be a hypocrite and a liar and all those other things. Twenty-five thousand Christians protested that.

I was in Los Angeles at that time. They went to Universal and protested. They were never taken seriously by the media at all, because the bias is there. There is a double standard.

HANNITY: You know, until I spoke with you earlier today, I thought I was the only one that was recommending that young 13-, 14-year-old kids, I think, after their parents have the opportunity to view it only -- I would take my children to go see this movie.

In large part because that is the moment when they're about to step out in life and make moral decisions about their future. And that is the time you want them to have that strength and moral guidance and conscience.

And if you're a Christian, you believe that that's where those guiding principles come from. Then that's a good start.

DOBSON: Well, as a Ph.D. in child development, I care a lot about children and about the influences that are on them. And I recommended that no child under 12 -- 12 or under -- see that movie.

HANNITY: But 13 and older.

DOBSON: And 13 and over if the parent knows the child. There are some very sensitive kids, you know, some, maybe girls, maybe boys, that cry easily, that have nightmares over things that they see. I wouldn't take them to see it.

But I'll tell you, for my children I would have loved to have had them see this when they were in junior high school, because that's when their own value systems and their own theology was being formed.

HANNITY: You know, one of the things that -- I know we have differing religious philosophies and views. And I'm a big believer in comparison religion studies.

And I think it's a good movie for people that aren't even Christian, because I think they learn about what the Christian experience is about and what it means and what people, you know, are feeling.

Do you agree?

DOBSON: Well, I do. That's the beautiful thing about this movie. It's going to go around the world. It's going to be seen by, I don't know, I hope a billion people.

And if it is, there will be people drawn to the Christian message who have not understood it at all what happened.

HANNITY: I got a chance to go to dinner with Mel Gibson. You had a chance to meet with him when you saw a screening of this film.

I found that really this is his passion. I love the fact that he put everything on the line -- money, reputation, everything -- and found him to be a creative genius in many ways. What were your observations?

DOBSON: Now they're complaining because he's making a lot of money. In the beginning, they said he's throwing his money away.

HANNITY: He couldn't get a distributor.

DOBSON: He couldn't get a distributor, and everybody thought it was a lost cause. You know that no one else would have touched this subject.

HANNITY: The issue of gay marriage is obviously something you're concerned about. When you look at the -- what's going on, this is now spreading all the way around the country, Oregon and Detroit and New York, and New Paltz and Houston, and it started in Massachusetts and San Francisco.

What do you assess is going on here?

DOBSON: Oh, Sean, I am deeply concerned about the institution of marriage. Everything depends on it.

And what is occurring now is a tsunami. I mean, there's an attempt to stampede the country. It doesn't matter about the laws. It doesn't matter about convention or about history or theology or anything else.

And it doesn't matter what the people want. You know, 64 percent in the poll I saw just today are opposed to gay marriage, but they're gong to have it and they're going to have it legally or illegally.

HANNITY: What should be the reaction? Beyond people that just disagree that they don't want to change what is the definition of marriage. Marriage is defined as the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife.

DOBSON: That's right. And has been for 5,000 years.

HANNITY: What -- basically people now want to redefine that. So I've been asking the question on this program, well, if you want to redefine it, well, what's your new definition? And we don't get a direct answer to that question.

But specifically, what should the reaction be for people like James Dobson and Sean Hannity that don't agree with what's going on? Just support the amendment? Is that the only thing you recommend?

DOBSON: We do everything we can. I mean, you use your influence every way you can. My greatest concern is what we call judicial tyranny.

Don't tell me that the Founding Fathers intended that all of the significant issues, especially the moral issues, would be made by an unelected and unaccountable judiciary, and that the Congress would only deal with relatively minor stuff.

That wasn't the way they intended it. There were the checks and balances.

And the court has just grabbed the authority to do things that people don't want. Their elected legislators in most cases would not be able to stay in office if they did those things.

COLMES: Dr. Dobson, we have a moment left here. You know, I know you're concerned about rule of law and you've alluded in what you just answered right here to the disobedience of law.

But that also applied -- Are you equally concerned with law disobeyed by people like the chief justice of Alabama -- former chief justice Roy Moore, who disobeyed the law and disobeyed judges who tried to enforce it?

DOBSON: Well, it all depends on the way you look at that. If you talk to Judge Moore, he was attempting to carry out his oath of office. That was the rule of law.

And here again you have an unelected judge who came in there and decreed that you could not acknowledge God in Alabama.

Judge Moore ran on a platform saying he was going to put that monument where it was, and he told the American -- I mean, the people of Alabama that. And they elected him by a 70 percent majority. That is the rule of law.

COLMES: But the rule of law also, isn't it the court's rule of law when judge after judge said remove the statue and he refused to do that, doesn't he have an obligation as a judge to obey the law and listen to judges who issued decrees on this?

DOBSON: I think when a judge is in violation of the Constitution and in violation of the law of the land, it has to be opposed.

I mean, if you just look in the Supreme Court, you find those same Ten Commandments in three places right there in that building. So what this judge was doing was in contradiction to the way the law has read and been implemented for all those years.

COLMES: What threatens America more: the terrorism war or the culture war?

DOBSON: I would be hard-pressed to say. I mean, you're forcing a choice here. They're both dangerous. The judicial activism really worries me more than anything else, because that has the ability to absolutely destroy us from within.

HANNITY: Dr. Dobson, thank you for hosting us at your facilities here.

DOBSON: Sean, it's always good to have you here.

HANNITY: My friend, thank you very much for...

DOBSON: Come back and see us again. Thank you, Alan.

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