Veteran CBS correspondent and “60 Minutes” curmudgeon Andy Rooney says he received 30,000 pieces of mail and e-mail after calling “The Passion of the Christ” filmmaker Mel Gibson a “wacko.”

Andy Rooney

A spokesman for the CBS news magazine said the response to the Feb. 22 segment was the biggest by viewers since the program began in 1968.

“I think the mail was a good indication of how bitterly divided our country is right now,” Rooney said in his commentary Sunday night. “I hope I’m not contributing to that – even though I’m right and everyone else is wrong.”

In his Feb. 22 monologue Rooney used a satirical “conversation with God” to assert actor and filmmaker Mel Gibson is a “nut case” and “wacko” seeking to enrich himself off the crucifixion of Christ.

Playing off of how television evangelist Pat Robertson “heard from God” about the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, Rooney said he had heard from the Almighty recently as well.

Rooney said the divine “conversation” went like this:

“‘Andrew, you have the eyes and ears of a lot of people. I wish you’d tell your viewers that both Pat Robertson and Mel Gibson strike me as wackos. I believe that’s one of your current words. They’re crazy as bedbugs, another earthly expression. I created bedbugs. I’ll tell you, they’re no crazier than people,’ said God.”

Sunday night, Rooney read some of the mail he received in response, including a letter calling him an “asinine, bottom-dwelling, numb-skulled, low-life, slimy, sickening, gutless, spineless, ignorant, pot-licking, cowardly pathetic little weasel.”

He pointed out not many people had noticed he also called Robertson a “wacko.”

Gibson’s film, focused on the last 12 hours of the life of Jesus, has grossed more than $264 million in domestic ticket sales after many pundits wrote it off as a sure box-office loser.

In his Feb. 22 commentary, Rooney concluded with something to ask the filmmaker: “My question to Mel Gibson is: ‘How many million dollars does it look as if you’re going to make off the crucifixion of Christ?'”

Editor’s note: Coinciding with the release of Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ,” WorldNetDaily has issued one of the most extraordinary editions of its monthly Whistleblower magazine ever produced, titled “THE DAY JESUS DIED.”

Read WorldNetDaily’s extensive coverage of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ.”

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