<%image(20060213-luther.jpg|125|125|luther)%> Protestants throughout the United States are foaming with rage and signing petitions faster than you can click “forward” in light of the latest acting scandal. As if it wasn’t bad enough that missionaries Steve and Nate Saint were portrayed by a gay actor in “The End of The Spear,” it has now surfaced that Joseph Fiennes, the actor who portrayed Martin Luther in the hit movie “Luther” (2003), is Catholic.
“If you’re making a movie about the prophet Muhammad, you wouldn’t hire a Christian actor. If you’re making a movie about Jesus you wouldn’t hire an atheist actor. I don’t see how this is any different,” commented Jimmy Jones, director of the Institute for the Preservation of Christianity in America. “This is a blatant attack on Protestants everywhere and a sin against God. Believe me; He will judge the filmmakers and Catholics all over the world for this.”
Luther portrays the journey of Martin Luther from the monastery to his role as reformer of the church, eventually breaking from the Catholic institution and founding Protestantism. Centuries of squabbles, killing, and bad blood have ensued since the time of Martin Luther in the 1500’s. Catholics burned Protestant heretics throughout Europe, Protestants executing one another, and then Catholics and Protestants in England took turns massacring one another.
With all of this as background, not to mention the multitude of theological controversies that still rage, Catholics and Protestants have been on shaky ground up to the present.
“Joseph was simply the best actor for the part,” claimed Jasper Jacobs, the director of Luther. “We felt that we could not do justice to the pivotal role of Martin Luther in history without hiring an actor who was qualified based on nothing more than his ability to play the part. Theology did not even enter into the equation for us, nor should it ever.”
Jones replied, “Fiennes simply pollutes the character and memory of Martin Luther with his papism. How can we take him seriously when he says, ‘Here I stand, I can do no other,’ when we know he secretly reviles the very words coming off his lips?”
Members of Conservative Lutherans For Petitions and Fussing have also criticized so-called “liberal” groups who provided partial funding for the movie. “The entire message of the movie has been lost since a Catholic, who knows nothing of salvation by faith, plays the role of Martin Luther,” said spokeswoman Jane Sandberg. Conservative Lutherans For Petitions and Fussing have begun circulating a petition for boycotting Luther, purging all copies of the DVD from local churches, and committing to make a fuss about this issue for six months.
While the makers of the film disregarded this criticism as uninformed and ignorant, they also secretly delight in all of the free publicity for Luther. “I think the film will speak for itself. Joseph is a professional and he portrays Martin Luther with integrity. He knows that his personal faith convictions should not change the integrity of his part in a movie.”
Jones was dismissive of this perspective. “We are quickly going down a slippery moral slope. We cannot let Catholicism infiltrate the Protestant faith that we work so hard to protect. Pretty soon there will be ecumenical dialogues, shifts in theology, full-blown heresy, mass defection from the Protestant church, the secularization of American society, and then a fire ball of flaming judgment from God. We fear this real possibility and are working hard to head it off now.”
Sandberg ads, “Our petitions are circulating as fast as we can pass them out. The gravity of the situation has also led to mass-production of e-mail forwards with extra capital letters and exclamation points. Perhaps we can still save the Protestant faith if each of us can forward these petitions to at least 10 friends.”
Though actor Joseph Fiennes could not be reached for comment, his publicist issued the following statement, “My Catholic faith did not interfere with my portrayal of Martin Luther. I respect a man who gave his life up to follow his convictions. I approached the part of Martin Luther in the same way as my role depicting William Shakespeare. If you know anything about the English, you should respect that.”
Editor’s Note: There is virtually no factual information in this article beyond the name Joseph Fiennes and the facts that there was a movie called Luther and there was a historical figure known as Martin Luther. Every other name and organization was made up for the purpose of fictional satire. Also, I have no clue if Fiennes is a Catholic.