Controversy over ‘American Sniper’ ignites religious debate
The film American Sniper is now creating a religious debate.
There is an ongoing controversy regarding the Clint Eastwood film American Sniper. The movie has gotten a great deal of flack for its portrayal of Chris Kyle, a Navy Seal and the deadliest sniper in living memory. While the film was praised for its performances, several religious groups have found issue with the film for its violence, as has filmmaker Michael Moore. There has been a great deal of interesting opinions from people on all sides, from both those defending the film and those who believe its portrayal of Iraqis is mistaken.
My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren't heroes. And invaders r worse
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 18, 2015
Michael Moore: Social Commentator
Michael Moore was one of the first to explore the controversy surrounding the film in his tweets which regarded snipers as being cowardly. While he was quick to elaborate on his original comments, he was a popular target for people who celebrate the life and abilities of the titular American sniper. However, he invited more controversy when he put out a rhetorical tweet that asked “What would Jesus Do”, making a play on the common question that is supposed to make Christians think about their actions in context of their religion.
Tomorrow's Sunday School (1) What Would Jesus Do? Oh, I know what he'd do — hide on top of a roof and shoot people in the back!
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) January 24, 2015
Michael Moore answered his question by saying that Jesus would not condone the actions that the sniper took part in or the actions leading up to the war in Iraq. This caused a great deal of backlash from Christians, which deepened the controversy.
A Christian Outlook
Todd Starnes, a personality from Fox News has said that he believes that Moore has the Christian outlook on the situation all wrong. Instead, he believes that Jesus would be thankful for being a good servant and killing a threat to the faith as well as the American way of life. While he is admittedly no theologian, Starnes made no apologies for a very distinct and upsetting view of the American Sniper film.
It is clear that not all Christians think this way about the Iraqis or the efforts of Chris Kyle in this way, but is seem as though the loudest voices are the only ones that are being heard at this point in the controversy.
An American Muslim’s View
Tami Shaikh, an American Muslim, is one person who refuses to see the movie. Her refusal to give money to the box office for this movie is not one that is based on her identity as a religious person, but as a human being. She sees all of the hate and almost irrational talks that have been created as a result of American Sniper, and refuses to take part in a film that she sees as promoting hate towards Muslims. Tami Shaikh reiterated that she believes in peace above everything else, and that supporting the film and talks surrounding it only deepens the divides between people and will open the pathway for more hate.
All of these different outlooks show the continuing divide that this film has caused. However, for no other reason, it is important that films like this are discussed so that the entire nation can examine itself in light of its history and way of approaching the world today and in the future.