(Mon 3rd May / 8pm / £4/3 but nobody refused entry for a lack of funds)
“Oren Jacoby's magnificent, thought-provoking essay film Constantine's Sword examines the unholy alliance between organized religion and military power” (Ronnie Scheib, Variety).
Former priest James Carroll takes a journey through the sometimes bleak history of the Christian Church examining the prejudice and violence which have been so much a part of theocratic politics. Carroll is unflinching in his examination of the Church, whose terrible legacy runs from Emperor Constantine’s vision of the cross as a sword and symbol of power, to the rise of genocidal anti-Semitism, to modern day conflicts fuelled by religious extremism.
Carroll travels across Europe and the Middle East to discover the traces left in contemporary ideology by religious intolerance and the myths of righteous persecution. Returning to America Carroll exposes the role of evangelical groups inside the armed forces and considers the devastating consequences of religious influence on American foreign policy.
Oren Jacoby’s measured, intelligent and thought provoking documentary does not forget the positive role of religious groups in challenging wars and reconciling past conflict, for instance in Vietnam war protests, but neither does it shy away from exposing the sometimes dark heart of Christianity in its alliances with political and military powers.
“Every religious person has to take responsibility for the way in which their tradition encourages intolerance, suspicion, hatred of the other” (James Carroll, writer of Constantine’s Sword)