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Gentleman’s Agreement

November 1, 2007

My wife and I finished watching this movie last night. It stars Gregory Peck as a writer who is asked to report on anti-Semitism. He decides to tell everyone he is a Jew so that he can experience the bigotry first hand. First of all, it certainly is a wake up call to the good ole day routine. I find it hard to imagine how one would live in a world so hostile to those who are different.

The second thing that struck me was a dialogue towards the end of the movie. A woman who says she is not anti-Semitic calls the Jewish friend of the writer to talk about her evening. She tells him that she doesn’t hate Jews and the friend agrees. Then she relates a story from early in the night at a dinner where a man told a joke with the Jew as the punch line.

As she finishes the friend asks her what she did. She looks confused and tells him she just felt sick. She assures him that she didn’t laugh or anything. He then pushes her to see that by doing nothing she aided those who are bigoted. He tells her that unless she says something, nothing will change. She protests that she is just one person but he tells her it has to start with one. He asks her to think of what might have happened if she had stood up to the man, would others have joined in? Would the message that this isn’t true or acceptable been stated instead of everything is okay?

It is an excellent movie, no wonder it won an Academy Award for Best Picture. What I can’t get out of my mind is the discussion between these two characters, sure you don’t agree but you said nothing.

No, I don’t plan on calling out the next person far from God who makes an off colored joke, I was thinking closer to home. I was thinking about all of the false teaching that I listened to and didn’t agree with but did nothing about.

I wondered what would happen if those that knew better followed this friend’s advice, say something.

Did you confront the false teaching? Did you force them to see or did you say nothing, nodding your head thinking I know that isn’t right. How many people in the room think the same thing but say nothing? How many children grow up confused and bigoted in a different sort of way?

I guess I wish I had watched this movie ten years ago and gotten a spine, some guts to stand up and say that isn’t right and we can’t stand for such teaching. I wasn’t much different than the woman in the movie really. I aided what I new was false all the while feeling superior, too bad for me I didn’t know better.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 5, 2007 5:18 am

    Great post brother.

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