Valenti's statement applies the rhetoric of raw power, that is, his ability to act on his belief in defiance of those who oppose him and the industry he defends. (Riley 72)
For religious conservatives, the Last Tempation represented a potential loss of position within the social heirarchy, and more important, a loss of the power to control how society appropriates meaning to the Jesus figure... Thus their arguments often revolved around limiting a certain type of speech--what could be said about Jesus. (Riley 73)
Both religious conservatives, and Uiniversal and its supporters changed their posture toward one another in June and July 1988. For religious conservatives the threat involved the loss of ownership and control over their most sacred figure. For Universal the threat involved a perceived loss of control over the arena of popular film and the domain of free speech. These perceived threats to underlying assumptions about sacred matters motivated escalation in conflict. (Riley 72)
Riley really hits the nail on the head with these summaries: this battle was a matter of control, of power, the conservatives outraged at the apparent challenge to their most central icon of their faith, Jesus, his character and life and divinity, and the Liberals very secular but none the less religious faith in the societal tenants set down by their own saviors, the founding fathers. This is a battle of Beings: the Conservatives defending their being, the Jesus Christ of the Bible, the liberals defending their Being, a strong, tolerant, and free society.