Thursday, February 02, 2006

"The End of the Spear" A Noble Project Bungled.

In 2005, Here TV! a gay and lesbian television network aired "Third Man Out", a detective story that, according to the publicity promos, was about "tough-guy detective Donald Strachey, a man who moves through the hard-boiled crime world with ease, taking care of himself, rooting out corruption, busting the bad guys, and, oh yes, making out with guys at the same time. Well, at least between arrests."

Well, that sounds like wonderful family viewing, doesn't it? Oh, and by the way, the actor who plays Donald Strachey is the same one who plays Nate and Steve Saint in the recently released "The End of the Spear." His name: Chad Allen, an openly gay man and an outspoken gay activist whose mission, according to his website, is to normalize homosexuality. He lists his favourite charity as The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and in 2003 started a production company, Mythgarden, that is designed to champion features that actively promote the message that “gay is good”.

I don't know about you, but I think I would find it hard, if not impossible, to suspend belief in a movie theatre and see Chad Allen as a missionary martyr for the Gospel. Hence, I will not go to view this movie when it finally opens in Canada, nor will I recommend it to others.

The filmmakers say they didn't know about Allen's lifestyle until after they offered him a contract in late 2003. My response is, "Come on, folks. Do your homework. Allen publicly acknowledged that he was gay in the October 9, 2001 issue of The Advocate."

Of course, executive producer Mart Green and Steve Saint are knee-deep in damage control. In an email to Christianity Today (, Steve tries to justify his decision to keep Allen on board, even after Allen offered to break the contract, based on a dream that he had where God apparently told him that it was His will that Allen play this role. I do not doubt Saint's sincerity. But I do question his suggestion that this is the kind of decision that God would not only sanction but might actually ordain. When things go south, it is so easy to try to find justification in subjective experiences that one hopes come from God.

And before I am accused of being a Pharisee or a closed minded bigot, allow me to state that my objection to casting Chad Allen is not that he is a homosexual but because he proclaims very publicly that what he does is not a sin, but actually a grace. He has become a public figure because of this, which the makers of this movie should have caught were they truly doing their job. It is hard to believe their pleas that they did not know.

Additionally, this movie has Allen cast in the role of a Christian martyr who gives up his life for the sake of the Gospel. Nate Saint was a man whose courage motivated countless young people to go to the mission field in the years following his martyrdom. Of course, I am not asking for perfection in actors who play Christian roles, any more than I would expect perfection from those whose lives are being portrayed by these imperfect actors. But is it unrealistic to hope that someone who would play a character who, together with his colleagues, had such a critical role in the history of world missions in the 20th century be someone who has responded to the grace of God? At the very least, shouldn’t it be someone who doesn’t blatantly flaunt and propagate his depravity?


Anonymous said...

So, are there no decent Christian actors, are we looking for the "big name" that can draw crowds, or what motivates Christian producers to forget about faith, testimony and lifestyle when it comes to participants in the "ministry" of film? I wonder. Perhaps there's a basic mindset adjustment.

Glenn Penner said...

Check out this site for a follow up and comments from the families of the other martyred missionaries