China Bans Gay-themed 'Brokeback Mountain' amid Christian Critics

The controversial Oscar Best Picture nominee 'Brokeback Mountain' featuring homosexual content is banned from screening in China.
( [email protected] ) Feb 03, 2006 08:51 PM EST

The controversial Oscar Best Picture nominee "Brokeback Mountain" featuring homosexual content is banned from screening in China.

The movie's "sensitive topic" of same-sex love meant that it could not be approved for theatrical release in the country, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Directed by the internationally popular Taiwanese director Ang Lee, the film is about two male ranch hands who fall in love and maintain an affair over several years despite their respective marriages. Conservative Chinese Christians have strongly criticized the controversial content.

Rev Thomas Wang, chairman of the Great Commission Center International, who has been leading the Chinese churches in the United States to defend traditional marriage, expressed disappointment as saying, "Director Ang Lee is very talented person, but his talent has not been used in a right way. For satisfying the fallen viewpoint of this era, he made such kind of movie that has caused great destruction."

Wang lamented that the actual number of people supporting homosexuality in the U.S. and Canada is very small, but the mass media have backed the group by saying words of sympathy, as a result, the minority has ruled over the trend. This has explained why it has been nominated for Oscars despite of its low box office sales.

The U.S. director of the Hong Kong-based Christian media corporation Media Evangelism Limited Gilbert Yip commented that the movie reflected the "social chaos" faced by Christians today. As homosexuality contradicts the teaching of the Bible, he urged Christians to distinguish the message that the movie is trying to convey with clear conscience, rather than being affected by its achievement in Oscar.

Other Conservative Christians in the U.S. call the movie "dangerous," according to Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The movie presents a distorted and unbiblical picture of human sexuality, said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, during a Jan. 17 appearance on CNN’s "Larry King Live," according to Baptist Press (BP).

The main problem with "Brokeback Mountain" is that it fails to explain why the main characters were created and how they can find fulfillment only in their Creator, Mohler said, BP reported.

"My main concern is not with the gospel of heterosexuality, even though I think that’s very important," Mohler said. "It’s with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and what I find lacking in the movie, the screenplay and in the short story, is any resolution that really brings these persons to know why they were created and how God really intends them to live and how they would find their greatest satisfaction in living just as God had intended them for His glory."

More gay-themed movies than ever were nominated for Oscars this year, according to ABC. "Capote," a movie about a gay author, was nominated for five. And "Transamerica," in which the lead character undergoes a sex change, was nominated for two.

"It's a sad day for American when a small group of very determined activists are dominating the awards ceremony," said Janice Crouse, the senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute, a think tank associated with the pro-family Christian group Concerned Women for America.

Even though China has rejected the gay-themed movie, the movie is still expected to be popular in Hong Kong. Lee suggested this month that Asian audiences were more accepting of gay subject matter than American audiences. He made the comments while promoting his film in Hong Kong, according to PlanetOut Network.

Official estimates put China's gay population at 40 million, but some human rights groups suggest the figure is nearly double that.