• Mel Gibson
    (Photo: AP Image / Norman Ng, File)
    American filmmaker and actor Mel Gibson shares a laugh with the audience at a panel discussion about the green challenge in businesses during the Forbes Global CEO Conference, Tuesday Sept. 11, 2007, in Singapore.
  • Mel Gibson
    (Photo: AP Images / Norman Ng, File)
    American filmmaker and actor Mel Gibson, second from left, gestures on stage with Vinod Sekhar, left, President and Group Chief Executive of Petra Group and Tulsi Tanti, Chairman and Managing Director of Suzlon Energy Ltd., right, as he shares his thoughts at a panel discussion about the green challenge in businesses during the Forbes Global CEO Conference, Tuesday Sept. 11, 2007, in Singapore.
By Elena Garcia, Christian Post Reporter
October 17, 2007|11:44 am

Mel Gibson has been named the “most powerful Christian” in Hollywood by the multi-denominational website Beliefnet.

The director of hit movie “Passion of the Christ,” who is Catholic, topped the Beliefnet Power Dozen list of Christians that “have the clout to choose their career direction, while keeping their faith and even injecting it into their work in subtle or not-so-subtle ways.”

Many attribute Gibson’s blockbuster movie, which aimed at providing an authentic portrayal of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and even featured Hebrew and Aramaic languages, as the spark that helped Hollywood re-discover the Christian and faith market.

While Gibson’s recent movie, “Apocalypto,” had an ancient Mayan setting, it was seen by many as a Christian allegory, according to Beliefnet.

Furthermore, Gibson has also financed the building of a Roman Catholic church in California.

But Gibson’s reputation as an outspoken Christian is not without controversy. He also captured media attention for a drunken-driving arrest – during the course of which he unleashed a torrent of expletives and anti-Semitic remarks – as well as for movies he’s starred in and directed that feature graphic violence, including “Passion of the Christ.”

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Trailing Gibson on Beliefnet’s list was Denzel Washington, dubbed the second most powerful Hollywood Christian, followed third by Patricia Heaton.

Washington and his wife Pauletta have lent their voices in the recently released Old Testament version of The Bible Experience, in which they narrate The Song of Songs.

Heaton, who played the wife of the character Ray Romano on the TV show “Everybody Loves Raymond” was a Catholic turned Prostant and now advocates on behalf of an anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life.

Christian producer Ralph Winter, who works regularly with FoxFaith, placed fifth on the list. He has produced blockbusters such as "X-Men" trilogy, "The Planet of the Apes," and "The Fantastic Four." His Christian-themed movies include "Left Behind," "Thr3e," and "The Visitation.”

A list of movers and shakers to look out for included: Sherri Shepherd, who recently joined “The View;” Tony Hale, who played Buster from "Arrested Development;” Miley Cyrus, star of Disney Channel show "Hannah Montana;” Jim Caviezel, who played the role of Jesus in Passion; and Zachary Levi, seen on "Less Than Perfect" and now in the new series "Chuck."

Hollywood's Most Powerful Christians:

1. Mel Gibson
2. Denzel Washington
3. Patricia Heaton
4. Tyler Perry
5. Ralph Winter
6. Angela Bassett
7. Martin Sheen
8. Martha Williamson
9. Kristen Chenoweth
10. Philip Anschutz
11. Howard Kazanjian
12. Scott Derrickson