The release of the Da Vinci Code did not cause much of an uproar in the U.S. or Europe, but the reaction and protests among Christians in the developing world were much stronger. The New York Times (May 21) reports that in the U.S., “many churches regarded the [film] as a threat, but chose to try to educate the wayward,” through websites, books (46 different titles) and podcasts.
In developing countries where Christianity is a minority (if rapidly growing) faith, the reaction was far more confrontational. In India, hunger strikes were staged, while the movie was banned in the Philippines and Pakistan and given a disclaimer in Thailand. Historian Phillip Jenkins says that the different attitude toward the Bible in the developing world may explain the more intense protests. “In this country, even if you’re a fundamentalist, reading a book is just reading a book, whether it’s John Grisham or the Bible.
If you’re reading a book in India, you’re probably the first generation to read, and the book has more of a sacred quality, the message carries more weight.”