Actor Matthew McConaughey, who stars in the new historical epic Free State of Jones, says that the film’s main character was inspired by the Bible. Speaking with The Daily Beast, McConaughey says that the real-life character Newton Knight led a rebellion against the Confederacy because he believed that the Bible taught people to stand against injustice. He said,
Knight had a moral code rooted in the Bible and the Declaration of Independence: love thy neighbor as thyself, and all men are created equal. So he had a very radical relationship with his own independence, and interdependence—which is very American. Extremely American …
All of this, the abolition of slavery in the Civil War at this time, they were almost all led by religious movements—Christian movements—that were trumping the ideals that everyone else had. They went further into it and said, ‘No, this is not right—because of the Bible'
He also added that the character was “not a ‘turn the other cheek’ New Testament guy,” saying, "One of the things I noticed about him was if he saw something that was wrong or unjust, he really had no way to ignore it.” As The Daily Beast notes, the real Newton was "a fierce man" who even snuck into the home of a Confederate official that was charged with finding local deserters and "shot him dead, right in the back."
McConaughey also said that he doesn’t think people today do a good job of using religion to bring people together. Instead, he said, that too often, it’s used to build walls. He explained,
Religion actually means, if you look up the Latin root, ‘re’ which means again, and ‘ligare,’ which means to bind together. It means exactly the opposite of what and how we are often practicing it these days!
The movie tells the true story of a Mississippi farmer who led a rebellion against Confederate forces during the Civil War, eventually establishing a new community based on racial equality in Jones County. Discuss