Jesus' Words Used vs. Stem-Cell Initiative

Article excerpt

Byline: Christina Bellantoni, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The actor who played Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ" is drawing on his knowledge of that film's Aramaic language and his image as Christ for his latest role using Jesus' words to ask Missouri voters to oppose a stem-cell research measure on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Actor Jim Caviezel opens the political ad with a brief statement in Aramaic, the common tongue of biblical-era Palestine and the language of Mel Gibson's blockbuster movie, saying: "Le-bar nash be-neshak."

Bill Fulco, the Loyola Marymount professor who translated Mr. Gibson's script for "Passion" and coached the actors on the ancient language, told The Washington Times yesterday the phrase means: "You betray the Son of Man with a kiss," a reference to Judas' betraying Christ and a phrase used in the Greek of Luke's Gospel.

Cathy Cleaver Ruse, a spokeswoman for Missourians Against Human Cloning, which produced the ad, said the group had Mr. Caviezel say the Aramaic phrase in a contemporary setting but without subtitles "to make the ad a little more intriguing."

When presented with Mr. Fulco's translation, which was confirmed by several other Aramaic scholars, the group agreed to release the exact translation exclusively to The Times.

"It means 'You betray me with a kiss,' which means Amendment Two is a betrayal because it is deceptive," Ms. Ruse said. "It promises one thing and delivers another."

Tom Schreiner, a professor of New Testament interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said yesterday Mr. Caviezel is implying the amendment may seem "loving and kind" to its supporters, but when read closely, it is "actually a betrayal."

Nathan Jastram, a biblical scholar from Concordia University in Wisconsin, agreed, saying it implies "murder is being planned under the guise of compassion."

"Just as Judas betrayed Jesus to death while testifying with a kiss that he was his friend, so stem-cell researchers are causing the death of embryos while testifying to the public that they are searching for ways to promote life," he said.

The 60-second ad, scheduled for airing during the World Series game between the St. …