Constantine's Sword

Based on the book by former priest James Carroll, this fascinating documentary combines the personal, the political, and the historical as it ponders the crusader tradition in Christianity and the malign influence of that tradition in modern America. Carroll's father, a devout Catholic, was an air force intelligence officer, and as a boy Carroll aspired to the military before he was ordained. His narrative begins in Colorado Springs, where the proximity of the Air Force Academy to the New Life megachurch has reportedly led to widespread Christian evangelism at the academy. From there Carroll reaches back to the 4th century, when the Roman emperor Constantine embraced Christianity and launched a program of Jewish persecution, then forward to the 20th, when Pope Pius XI's concordat with Hitler helped facilitate the Holocaust. The breadth of Carroll's scholarship and the depth of his religious understanding strengthen his assertion that our misadventure in Iraq is the beginning of a new holy war. Director Oren Jacoby wrote the script with Carroll. 93 min.

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