I was ten years old when Dogma came out. I didn’t know who Kevin Smith was at the time as I would not see my first film of his until I was twelve. However, as little as I actually understood what was happening, I do remember the controversy surrounding the film.
In fact, a few years later I asked my parents to watch Dogma. I was working my way through Kevin Smith’s movies and Dogma was next in line. My very Catholic stepfather was against it. He told me that I wouldn’t understand all of the Biblical references, and it would confuse me about the faith. Seeing as I was already an atheist (or as much of an atheist you can be as a tween), I wasn’t really concerned about my view of Christianity being distorted.
While Dogma isn’t my favorite Kevin Smith film, it is one that hit the spot for me as I was dealing with my own religious issues.
Controversy Surrounding The Release Of Dogma
For those who don’t know, Dogma is a film that is based on Christian lore. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon play fallen angels who are trying to get back into heaven. The opportunity arises when a church’s cardinal (played by the late George Carlin) schedules a celebration ceremony that will cleanse whoever walks into the church.
Affleck and Damon decide to use this loophole to re-enter heaven. However, since the Christian God is infallible, proving God wrong will undo all of existence. This sends multiple groups in motion to either help or stop the angels.
This plot point, along with Kevin Smith’s signature crude humor, did not sit well with many Christian groups. While our society has become less religious over the past few decades, the late 1990s was a different time. There was a lot more puritanical grandstanding by religious groups when it came to offensive media.
Kevin Smith Joining In On The Protests
After Dogma was released, a group of Christian protesters headed to Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, New Jersey to protest the film being shown at the Sony Multiplex. Among the crowd of protesters was Kevin Smith himself.
Kevin Smith and his friend Brian Johnson made their own glittery signs for the protest. One sign read “Dogma Is Dogshit”, and the other said, “To Hell With Dogma”.
This was an epic troll on Smith’s part. As most of us know by now, Kevin Smith is a nice and caring person. Peacefully joining in on the protest is a hilarious way to fight back.
What is even funnier, is that Kevin Smith was interviewed for the nightly news. He stayed in character and acted like he was one of the protesters. It would have been funny if no one realized that it was Kevin being interviewed.
Sadly, based on the news coverage, the television station realized who he was before the clip aired. Kevin Smith even confirmed that the news reporter was suspicious during the encounter. Regardless, it was still hilarious.
Kevin Smith Discusses The Event
Kevin Smith talks about this experience in his 2002 spoken word special ‘An Evening With Kevin Smith’.
Have You Seen Dogma?
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Dogma is a 1999 film created by Kevin Smith and produced by Scott Mosier. The film stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Chris Rock, and Salma Hayek. The plot surrounds two fallen angels that are trying to get into heaven, and the people trying to stop them.