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The Mexican government, the Vatican and the United States worked out an agreement and by 1929 the fighting ceased, the repressions halted, and Catholics were again free to worship in peace. So this epic story has a happy ending of sorts. Whatever one thinks of religious people, including priests, taking up arms against the government – it was okay under the Marxist “liberation theology” of the 1980s as long as the government was pro-American – any settlement would have been unlikely without the armed rebellion.
For Greater Glory may make a profit and win some awards but its greatest achievement could be to make the commercial cinema safe for subjects such as religious persecution and religious liberty. Filmmakers can now feel free to show persecution of religious believers in Cuba, the USSR, Albania, China, North Korea, Cambodia and other Communist nations. But the effort should not stop there.
Islamic nations are not exactly strong on religious freedom, consigning Christians, Jews and others to the second-class citizenship of dhimmitude, and much worse. In some regimes, such as Indonesia, Islamic reformers themselves bear the brunt of government persecution. And Islamic regimes do not exactly welcome the equivalent of Mexico’s religious freedom league.
All this should be fair game for commercial films with the dramatic flair and verisimilitude of For Greater Glory. The presence of Peter O’Toole, Eva Longoria and Andy Garcia confirms that major stars will participate in such projects. So far audiences and critics seem receptive, so let the filming begin, with the courageous Mexicans of the 1920s providing inspiration. They were not about to accept dhimmitude lying down, and neither should anybody else.
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