In the wake of Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ there are a growing number of people who believe Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus. Roman authorities actually executed Jesus, but Gibson’s film includes scenes not written in the New Testament that attempt to place blame on the Jewish people.
Those who have seen the film, according to polling done by The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, are more likely to consider Jews responsible than those who have not seen the film.
Generally, there is a correlation between seeing the movie, and expressing an intention to see it, with holding the view that Jews were responsible for Christ's death. This is especially the case among younger people. Of those age 18-34 who have seen the movie, 42% believe Jews were responsible for Christ's death. Similarly, 36% of those age 35-59 who have seen "The Passion of the Christ" express that view.
This data points to a need for improved Christian education programs targeted at young people. We cannot afford to allow a generation of Christians to hold false opinions – fostered by theological conservatives like Gibson – holding Jews responsible for something they did not do.