Freaked-out fundamentalists fear "The Da Vinci Code" for its fierce feminism
By Harvey Wasserman
Journal Guest Writer
May 18, 2006, 10:41
Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? Did they have a
Questions about Christ's love life will dominate debate over
the release of the "The Da Vinci Code" this weekend.
The answers do matter. But what really counts is the story's
pagan/feminist core, and its role in the Culture War.
The spin has begun. As freaked-out fundamentalists focus on
Jesus' sexuality, and on petty documentary talking points, they'll try to
obscure "The Da Vinci Code's" lethal assault on the Church's
reactionary male theocracy.
What's at stake is not the fine points of documentation and
detail. Rather it's the contention that male-dominated Christian/Catholic
fundamentalism is a repressive dictatorship that has thrown human life and
sexuality dangerously out of balance.
Fiction it may be. But with 45 million copies in print, Dan
Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" is a force of nature. How Ron Howard's
upcoming feature film deals with its core content will have significant impact.
Opening amidst the catastrophic failure of the macho neo-con
Bush putsch and its moral, spiritual and fiscal bankruptcy, it's no wonder the
Church hierarchy is mobilizing Rove-style against "The Da Vinci
Code's" profoundly subversive truths.
The dramatic vehicle on which "The Da Vinci Code"
rides is a gimmicky Paris-London-Scotland murder mystery filled with riddles
and gadgets. It is saturated with Church intrigue and the usual greed. The
documentation around which it's constructed is as inventive as it is
For the book's spiritual core -- and popular appeal -- rests
on its invocation and adoration of feminist spirituality and pagan naturalism.
With wild invention and literary flair worthy of its namesake, "The Da
Vinci Code" flaunts the heretical, anti-clerical homosexuality of western
civilization's leading intellectual superstar. Leonardo's Mona Lisa plays as a
coy, cutting smirk, exalting female power and the demand for gender balance.
In its most crucial exposition, "The Da Vinci
Code" cuts to the heart of today's culture war, in which the
"tradition of perpetuating goddess worship is based on a belief that
powerful men in the early Christian church 'conned' the world by propagating lies
that devalued the female and tipped the scales in favor of the masculine."
The Priory of Sion is "The Da Vinci Code's" heroic
secret society. It worships Mary Magdalene as "the Goddess, the Holy
Grail, the Rose, and the Divine Mother." It is dedicated to sexual
liberation and a vital balance of the global spirit. It "believes that
Constantine and his male successors successfully converted the world from
matriarchal paganism to patriarchal Christianity by waging a campaign of
propaganda that demonized the sacred feminine, obliterating the goddess from
modern religion forever."
In the words of "The Da Vinci Code"'s protagonist,
a Harvard professor, the Grail "is literally the ancient symbol for
womanhood, and the HOLY Grail represents the sacred feminine and the goddess,
which of course has now been lost, virtually eliminated by the Church."
These are the ultimate fighting words to a rigid, eco-hating
fundamentalist movement that preaches sexual repression and violent male
domination, whose prelates "claim to speak the truth about Christ and yet
lie to cover up the sexual abuse of children by their own priests."
"The power of the female and her ability to produce
life was once very sacred," says "The Da Vinci Code", "but
it posed a threat to the rise of the predominantly male church, and so the
sacred feminine was demonized and called unclean. It was MAN, not God, who
created the concept of 'original sin,' whereby Eve tasted of the apple and
caused the downfall of the human race. Woman, once the sacred giver of life,
was now the enemy."
For today's right wing, She still is. As it mobilizes to
fight this story, that will be the core complaint, no matter how carefully
"This concept of woman as life-bringer was the
foundation of ancient religion," adds another "The Da Vinci
"Childbirth was mystical and powerful. Sadly, Christian
philosophy decided to embezzle the female's creative power by ignoring the
biological truth and making MAN the Creator. Genesis tells us that Eve was
created from Adam's rib. Woman became an offshoot of man. And a sinful one at
that. Genesis was the beginning of the end for the goddess."
Darwin may have marked the beginning of the end for Genesis.
But pagan naturalism has never ceased its struggle against the Church of
When the film comes out, the talk/gossip circuit will focus
on Jesus' sex life. Best would be for Mel Brooks to counter with a sequel
showing mother Mary, the sainted virgin (aren't they all?), nagging poor Jesus
(oy! a carpenter!) to get hitched, already. And, of course, he will.
For "Jesus was a Jew," says "The Da Vinci
Code", "and the social decorum during that time virtually forbid a
Jewish man to be unmarried. According to Jewish custom, celibacy was
If so, then what have all these Catholic priests and popes
been doing -- or NOT doing -- for centuries, suffering in what "The Da
Vinci Code" calls the "unnatural state of bachelorhood"?
"The Da Vinci Code" says Mary Magdalene was
pregnant at the Crucifixion, and that she mothered "the royal bloodline of
Jesus Christ." But "a child of Jesus would undermine the critical
notion of Christ's divinity, and therefore the Christian Church, which declared
itself the sole vessel through which humanity could access the divine." So
the hate-nature anti-feminists have waged a never-ending Crusade to cover it
Thus the Grail story "is everywhere but it is
hidden," something an effective rendering of "The Da Vinci Code"
in a block-buster film could end. Count on the bloviators to blab endlessly
about this detail and that document while avoiding like a plague "The Da
Vinci Code's" searing feminist critique.
The fundamentalist right has already gone to war over THE
LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, which dared portray Jesus as being profoundly human
(not to mention speaking with a Brooklyn accent).
With "The Da Vinci Code", the stakes are far
higher. Jesus' sex life is one thing, and the documentation surrounding the
plotline yet another.
But it is the pagan gender war that poses the ultimate
threat to the hard-right theocracy of today's neo-con nightmare. Small wonder
the fundamentalist fanatics are arming for battle.
If "The Da Vinci Code" the movie gets beyond the
petty gossip and Rovian spin, and into the heart of Magdalene's Grail and her
liberationist followers, watch for the blood of the patriarchy to warmly flow.
Wasserman's "History of the US" is available at harveywasserman.com, as is "A
Glimpse of the Big Light" and clues to the whereabouts of
the Holy Grail.
Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor