Activist priest Reverend Michael Pfleger, pastor of the south side’s Saint Sabina Church, will defend Mel Gibson’s divisive The Passion of the Christ, still the most successful independent film of all time with $600 million worldwide box office, in Columbia College’s Cinema Slapdown series Friday. Columbia film professor Dan Rybicky argues for the prosecution in this free screening and debate curated by fellow Columbia prof Ron Falzone.  Screening at 7 PM, debate at 9:15, at Columbia’s Film Row Cinema, 1104 S. Wabash, 4th Floor.

The Smackdown promo poster asks: “Deeply felt and reverent look at the final hours of Christ’s life or a cynical and exploitative piece of torture porn? . . . Is it an expression of love aimed at Christians or a diatribe of hate spewed at Jews, gays and liberals?”

You be the judge: