Religious violence in Paris, 1988 edition

On October 22, 1988, Christian fundamentalists associated with the French National Front launched a Molotov cocktail attack inside the Saint Michel theatre in Paris. In the subsequent fire, thirteen people were injured, four with serious burns.

The attack was the result of the theatre’s screening of the film The Last Temptation of Christ. The Archbishop of Paris condemned the attack but also condemned the film saying, “One doesn’t have the right to shock the sensibilities of millions of people for whom Jesus is more important than their father or mother.”

The Minister of Culture at the time said, “Freedom of speech is threatened, and we must not be intimidated by such acts.”

Similar attacks in France in protest of the film included graffiti, the use of tear-gas and stink bombs, and assault.


  1. The devil is outside us, in the world all around us.
    We’ll pick up an axe and cut the devil’s throat.
    We’ll fight him wherever he is.
    In the sick…
    …in the rich…
    …even in the temple.
    I’ll lead you.
    If you have sheep, give them away. If you have a family, leave them. I believed in love. Now I believe in this.

    An amazing scene (Jesus pulls out his heart) in an incredible film. I have the same level of incredulity at those who take offence in a benign depiction of the Prophet as I do those who think Last Temptation to be blasphemous.

    The film is an assault on organised religion, but religion could sometimes do with that mirror.

  2. GodisGreat says:

    The problem with this example? Its an isolated case with a single molotov cocktail from an organization that was clearly political. The recent attack was a planned and deliberate act of war among continuous acts of war by a religion that has large swaths of people who condone and carry out violence. The “equivalency” here is a false witness to Christianity and apologia for Islamic terrorism.

  3. Who said I was implying equivalency? Maybe I agree with you.

  4. it's a series of tubes says:

    So, RJH, if in fact you agree with GodIsGreat, how would anyone be able to tease that our of your post? Not a shred of content there to support such a conclusion.

  5. Wha?!!

    The post offers *no* commentary. It simply describes the events of 1988. Conclusions can be drawn in a number of directions, I think.

    I am struck by the fact that the comments are almost identical to those we have heard this week.

    “One doesn’t have the right to shock the sensibilities of millions of people for whom [Jesus] [The Prophet] is more important than their father or mother.”


    “Freedom of speech is threatened, and we must not be intimidated by such acts.”

    I agree that assassinations and molotov cocktails are different in degree.

  6. N. W. Clerk says:

    What sentences did those responsible for the attack receive?

  7. My heart has ached over all the violence in the name of religion. My God is not such a God. It seems men have used God’s name or Jesus’s name to do anything they want since the beginning of time. Put a balance of men and women in power and we may one day find balance in our world. I think I am just feeling how many men have told me how to live my life and I believed they knew stuff, as a woman I couldn’t. Now, I am just sick, I had no voice in my own head.

  8. I am an active LDS currently serving as a bishop and I found The Last Temptation of Christ to be one of the most beautiful, poetic and profound films ever made on the grandness and majesty of His sacrifice. It’s a good one. Unlike the Mel Gibson one.

  9. Agree. I love it.

  10. Ronan, have you read the book?

  11. No. Really want to.

  12. It’s very difficult and different, but good.

  13. Ron,
    It might be my favorite Scorsese film.

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