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Will 'The Da Vinci Code' Movie Be Anti-Christian?
July 5, 2005

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to
James Hirsen,
Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Execs at Sony must be elated that they've got the film rights to Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code."

Theoretically, the flick has a good shot at blockbuster status, since it's based on a work that's been on the best-seller list for 117 weeks and sold over 25 million books in 44 different languages.

Inconveniently for Hollywood PR, though, Brown's novel makes the following claims:

  • Jesus is not God; he was only a man.
  • Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene.
  • Mary Magdalene is a goddess and should be worshipped.
  • Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a daughter.
  • The Bible was put together by a pagan Roman emperor.
  • The Gospels have been altered to support the claims of Christians.
  • Mary Magdalene was directed to establish the Church.
  • The Catholic Church is aware of all of these things and, in order to keep it secret, has resorted to murder.

Apparently not content with having readers take the novel as mere fiction, Brown has sought to make it appear as though it is based on history. The book starts with a page entitled "Facts," falsely claiming that the Priory of Sion "is a real organization," "a European secret society founded in 1099." He also informs readers that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate.

It has now come to light that many of the ideas in Brown's book are also contained in a 1982 nonfiction treatise called "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, which Brown cited. Baigent and Leigh have filed a lawsuit against Brown in the U.K., alleging a misappropriated copyright.

Christians have voiced their displeasure with Brown's book. Although the Louvre, home of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, gave permission to director Ron Howard to film there, Westminster Abbey gave Howard a firm rejection, referring to Brown's book as "theologically unsound."

Some high-level voices of the Catholic Church's hierarchy have weighed in, with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Archbishop of Genoa, in unequivocal terms telling Roman Catholics not to read the book.

The blatant anti-Christian content hasn't stopped celebs from seeking a part in Howard's film adaptation of the book, which is slated for release in May 2006.

During the publicity tour for "Cinderella Man," Howard revealed that he'd had an enormous amount of interest from big-name actors who wanted to star in the movie. He ultimately picked Tom Hanks for the lead role.

Hollywood has been known to alter the content of a book when bringing it to the big screen, so the question remains: Will Sony and Ron Howard attempt to alleviate the anti-Christian overtones of Brown's book before it hits the theaters?

Actually, the New York Daily News reports that screenwriter Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind," "Cinderella Man") is busy mitigating some of the anti-Catholic themes.

One of the mitigations purportedly involves reducing the role of the Catholic organization Opus Dei.

Apparently, Sony and Howard are distancing themselves from Brown's conspiracy theory, which claims that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and their child fostered a line of French kings.

I'm thinking that Brown really believes a secret sect left clues within famous works of art so that boorish novelists could find them, write about them and sell lots and lots of books.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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