Thursday, September 11, 2008

Constantine's Sword DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Documentary Available on DVD Examines History of the Crusades

There was a precedent to Vice President Cheney’s remark made to Tim Russert on Meet the Press five days after September 11th that he would happily accept the head of Osama bin Laden on a platter. For over the course of several centuries, starting in about 1095, legions of Catholics had ventured from Europe to the Middle East with the intention of conquering the Holy Land in the name of Christianity, and all with the blessing of the reigning pope.
It was not unusual for soldiers participating in the Crusades to consider themselves virtuous for returning home with the head of a Muslim or a Jew on the end of a stick. Given that fanatical religious legacy, one can understand why someone might be inclined to examine America’s involvement in the region in a new light.
And just such an inquiry is the focus of Constantine's Sword, an informative look at the violent side of Christianity. The picture is narrated by James Carroll, a former Catholic cleric who abandoned the priesthood when he found himself plagued by nagging doubts about the links of his Church to ethnic cleansing.
After asking himself questions like, “How did the Cross become a rallying symbol for persecution?” and “Why are intolerance, violence and war so deeply ingrained in religion?” he no longer felt comfortable continuing to serve as a recruiter for a faith with so much blood on its hands.
In the film, Carroll tackles these thorny issues by assessing the behavior of evangelical Christians from the time of Constantine all the way up to the present. Overall, a powerful documentary which makes the case that the faith-based fanaticism which has destabilize the planet has been fueled as much by the West as by radical Islam.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 96 minutes
Studio: First Run Features
DVD Extras: An introduction by Gabriel Byrne, extended scenes, outtakes, director's notes, biographies, and trailers for three other First Run Features releases.

To see a trailer of Constantine's Sword, visit:

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