Channel 4 does of course have a history of being ‘thought provoking’ in its programming, and for ‘thought provoking’, one can often read, ‘controversial.’
So if their aim was to create controversy, then Channel 4 could do far worse than putting a terrorist and the Bible in close proximity and asking the former to answer to the latter for his actions.
Conveniently, Adams pointed out that he picks and chooses which bits of Christianity to follow, but he firmly expects to be forgiven any sin he may – though he didn’t admit to any – have committed.
What also became clear rapidly was that he believes himself to be more sinned against than sinner.
And in a worrying segment of this film, Adams compared the political backdrop and history of Northern Ireland – in its construct – to be comparable to the creation of Jesus’s cross.
In so doing, he obliquely made himself a Jesus-esque character, which frankly smacks of severe personality disorder. That he has psychological issues is a given, but what I wasn’t aware of before watching this documentary was the man’s narcissism.
Adams is of course most famously known as being the mouthpiece of the IRA via Sinn Féin, and much of this programme was about political point scoring rather than the advertised exploration of a holy document.
For example, when discussing the story of Barabbas with an historian, Barabbas was described as a “terrorist” and Adam hastily interjected, “Or a freedom fighter.” And as further self-justification, throughout the film, Adams refused to acknowledge any religious motivation for his or the IRA’s actions, thereby neatly letting himself out of the sin malarkey.
How very handy for him.
“The one thing I have always liked about Jesus is his lack of condemnation” said Adams, with an entirely straight face.
He also expounded on how Jesus had always been a part of his life, but it was obvious that Jesus – who asked that we love each other and forgive our enemies – didn’t act as a Jiminy Cricket for Adams. Enter selective faith again.
I wonder how close to Adams and his cohorts Jesus was when one of them stuck a gun in a father’s face or planted a box of Semtex in a shopping mall?
So, if controversy was what Channel 4 wanted by getting Adams to front this film, then they’ve got it, but for me, anger would be the word I’d apply to this effort ahead of controversy.