In a 1.30 piece about ways to avoid a repeat of the “Alone Yet Not Alone” slapdown (i.e., the Academy’s board of governors recently voting to rescind the Best Song Oscar nomination because of online campaigning by co-composer Bruce Broughton), Variety‘s Tim Gray has suggested something a little bit bizarre. Gray thinks the Academy should invite “Alone” singer Joni Eareckson Tada to perform on the Oscar telecast as a kind of makeup gesture (i.e., “we’re sorry for traumatizing you and your ‘Alone’ colleagues”). But considering Tada’s strongly Christian beliefs, Gray is also suggesting that inviting the quadriplegic performer would rebuff a notion that Hollywood rank-and-filers have an “anti-religious bias.”
That’s a red herring. Gray knows that religion and spirituality have been strong currents in the Hollywood community for decades. The “bias” he alludes to is not anti-religious — it’s anti-rightwing Christian. Which I think makes basic sense if you’re any kind of liberal. Or a genuine Christian, for that matter.
Hollywood has always been a lefty town, and most of us understand…okay, believe that Christianity, conservative values and rightwing political agendas have been more or less synonymous in this country for many decades. Gray knows all about this equation, and yet he’s suggesting that the film industry needs to turn the other cheek and perhaps atone on some level for not feeling a profound bond with conservative Christians. Good God! They might be nice people to chat with at a backyard barbecue in Lake Forest, but the rigid attitudes, political causes and cultural crusades of rightwing Christians have as much connection with the sermons of Yeshua of Nazareth as Edward G. Robinson‘s Golden Calf has to the stone tablets carried down from Mount Sinai by Charlton Heston.