Hypatia Biopic Upsets Spanish Catholic Organisation

From the Catholic News Agency:

Madrid, Spain, Oct 7, 2009 / 10:34 pm (CNA).- Just days before the release of the new movie “Agora” by Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar, civil rights organizations are denouncing the film for promoting hatred of Christians and reinforcing false clichés about the Catholic Church.

The president of the Religious Anti-Defamation Observatory, Antonio Alonso Marcos, has sent an open letter to Amenabar, also know for his pro-euthanasia film “The Sea Inside,” denouncing the film’s anti-Christian bias.

…”your film is going to awaken hatred against Christians in today’s society…”

The film is a biopic of Hypatia, the Alexandrian neo-Platonic philosopher who was famously scraped to death with shells by a Christian mob in the Fifth Century. Judging from the film’s trailer, Agora also takes in the destruction of pagan libraries (a loss later conflated with the earlier destruction of the Library of Alexandria and incorrectly ascribed to the Arab Muslim invaders of a later date).

The “Observatorio Antidifamación Religiosa” (OADIR) has a Spanish-language website here, with categories such as “Denuncias” and “Insultos” – the letter to Amenabar can be seen here. We’re told that the organisation was formed in 2007 by some university professors who are unhappy that the authorities do not enforce laws against offence to religious feeling:

El 9 de mayo de 2007 nos reunimos un grupo de profesores universitarios con el fin de poner freno a tanto escarnio y tanta mofa que padecemos los católicos en este país cuando se hace ofensa gratuita de los sentimientos religiosos.

Esa ofensa está contemplada en el art. 525 del Código Penal, pero los poderes públicos, por motivos que no logramos entender, nunca han intervenido.

Ante la inacción del Estado, la sociedad civil ha tomado la iniciativa y se ha puesto al frente de esta lucha por el respeto a nuestros sentimientos religiosos, que sin duda redundará en una convivencia más pacífica y un mayor logro del bien común.

Además de los miembros fundadores, forman parte de esta Asociación toda aquella persona que vea que esta es una causa justa y necesaria.

Antonio Alonso Marcos’ profile can be seen here; he is a political scientist based at San Pablo-CEU University, and a specialist on Hizb ut Tahrir in Central Asia.

Back in January, Marcos denounced the atheist bus advertisement campaign as illegal – then as now, he complained that the adverts would incite hatred.

In July, as I blogged here, a film which depicts Christians destroying pagan sculpture on the Parthenon provoked the ire of the Greek Orthodox Church.

(Hat tip: The Wild Hunt)