Are audiences and critics more accepting of Christian films if the Christians in them are black?

It’s an interesting question, in view of the fact that Mel Gibson (The Passion) and Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) have taken beatings in the press for their religion-oriented films… The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is under near-hysterical scrutiny from the mainstream press as some kind of Christian stealth bomb (and the evangelicals zealously mounting Bible-thumping missionary campaigns in connection with the film are throwing fuel on their fire.)

But Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Woman Thou Art Loosed, and now The Gospel are making their way through theaters with relatively little fuss. Is that just because they’re lower-profile projects? Heck, The Gospel made it into the Top Five at the box office this week, and Diary of a Mad Black Woman went to #1! Is there some kind of prevailing attitude that, among African Americans, Christianity is just a cultural thing and not the same religion that seems to threaten reactionaries in the mainstream press?

What gives?

Discuss.

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