NEW YORK (BP)–The same French brothers who filmed an award-winning documentary about Sept. 11, 2001, have put together a unique documentary with up-close and personal looks at 12 worldwide religious leaders, including Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page.
“In God’s Name” will air on CBS Sunday from 9-11 p.m. ET/PT. In addition to Page, it will take a look at Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson and the Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama, as well as Russian Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Sikh leaders.
Filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet were thrust into the national spotlight thanks to a quirk of history on Sept. 11, 2001. They were filming a documentary on firefighters that tragic morning when, only blocks away, the first plane flew into the World Trade Center. They recorded what is believed to be the only film of the first plane hitting the towers and were inside the towers when the first one collapsed. Their film, “9/11,” won an Emmy.
“I was running for my life and was quite convinced I was about to die,” Jules said in a promotional clip for their new documentary. “These questions popped into my head — Why am I here? Where am I going? What does it all mean?”
Said Gedeon, “How do you deal with having been confronted with [death] so directly, so violently? How do you make sense of it?”
Many people, Gedeon said, were asking, “Where was God that day?”
Their quest for answers led them to travel to eight countries, in addition to Illinois and South Carolina, to interview a dozen of the world’s most influential religious leaders. CBS is calling the documentary the “first time” this group of leaders has “appeared in one broadcast.”
The documentary features interviews with the leaders as well as intimate looks at their private lives, from their homes to their places of worship.
A promotional clip shows Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., baptizing a young girl.
“I believe in the reality of spiritual warfare,” he says in the documentary. “I believe God and Satan are constantly battling for the hearts and the souls of men and women.”
The 12 leaders featured on the program are: Alexei II, patriarch of Moscow and head of the Russian Orthodox Church; Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi), a Hindu spiritual leader; Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Roman Catholic Church; the Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso), spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists; Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a prominent Shi’ite Muslim leader; Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and president of the Lutheran World Federation; Michihisa Kitashirakawa, Jingu Daiguji(High Priest) of the Shinto Grand Shrine of Ise; Yona Metzger, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel; Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, Sheikh of Al-Azhar and a prominent Sunni Muslim leader; Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of the Akal Takht, the Sikhs’ highest authority; and Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury and head of the Church of England.
Compiled by Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press.