For the first time, Mel Gibson is speaking out in defense of his controversial film The Passion, which depicts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ. Some groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, have accused the pic of being anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic. "To be certain, neither I nor my film is anti-Semitic," Gibson tells Variety. "My intention in bringing [The Passion] to the screen is to create a lasting work of art and engender serious thought among audiences of diverse faith backgrounds." And if it makes him richer, even better!