Despite films packed with steamy love scenes and graphic violence along with a very public battle with substance abuse, Mel Gibson ranked first on a list of Hollywood's top Christians published by the spiritual Web site Beliefnet.com.
The list, "Hollywood's Most Powerful Christians," names 12 movers and shakers within the entertainment industry, including Patricia Heaton, Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Tyler Perry and Martin Sheen, who "are at the top of their game in movies or TV and are unabashed about proclaiming their Christian beliefs."
Those who made the Beliefnet.com "power dozen" were selected from a large pool of candidates because "they have the clout to choose their career direction, while keeping their faith and even injecting it into their work in subtle or not-so-subtle ways," according to the Web site.
That is certainly true for Gibson, who has financed the building of a Roman Catholic church in California and has never shied from speaking publicly about his religious beliefs. The blockbuster success of his film, "The Passion of the Christ," revolutionized the way Hollywood regarded religious fare, and off-set turbulance in his personal life, which included a drunken driving arrest and charges of anti-semitism.
Third on the list, Heaton, according to the Web site, has proven that a Hollywood actress can be publicly pro-life without hurting her career. The Emmy-winning former star of "Everybody Loves Raymond" is an evangelical Protestant and is a spokeswoman for the anti-abortion group, Feminists for Life.
Hollywood's Most Powerful Christians:
1. Mel Gibson
2. Denzel Washington
3. Patricia Heaton
4. Tyler Perry
5. Ralph Winter
6. Angela Bassett
7. Martin Sheen
8. Martha Williamson
9. Kristen Chenoweth
10. Philip Anschutz
11. Howard Kazanjian
12. Scott Derrickson