A dozen protesters carrying placards tried to dissuade students at Cal State Fullerton from attending two screenings Thursday of the controversial film "The Last Temptation of Christ."
"Holy Week for Christians is one of the most sacred times of the year, and this movie paints Jesus as someone who is totally different than the biblical God we believe in," said Troy Dean, 26, adviser of the university's Campus Crusade for Christ and youth minister at Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton.
The protesters, who also opposed the use of student fees to rent the film, flooded university administrators and student governors with phone calls urging them to ban the 1988 movie, which was directed by Martin Scorsese and depicts Jesus as a mortal who accepts his role as messiah slowly and with much reluctance.
"We didn't feel that the pressure from the public was significant enough to cancel the show," said Kristina Rodgers, chairwoman of Associated Student Productions. "More people came to see the film than to protest it."
Matt Castle, assistant film series director of Associated Student Productions, said: "This is the time of year when people are interested in Christianity. . . . It's a very good movie, and we wanted people to see it and judge for themselves."
But that decision "deliberately wounded the Christian community," said student Kathy Bates, 29. "It would have been less painful had they postponed the showing to another date."