Sarah Posner has the latest on the new film set to charge up the Christian Right called (naturally) Persecuted.
...[R]eligious liberty is one issue both social conservatives and libertarians can coalesce around. It lets each camp play into the other’s concerns by invoking a fear of government strong-arming its citizens, in this case by violating their religious conscience in making them comply with secular laws. In that sense, Persecuted is perfectly pitched to bring CPAC’s dominant wings together.
Basically, this is a movie in which it's overtly asserted that in order for Christians to be "free" the government cannot endorse the idea of fairness to all religions. Indeed, it seems that liberty has now been interpreted as a requirement to officially acknowledge that America is a Christian Nation and must adhere to Christian precepts.
Daniel Lusko, the movie’s writer and director, told me he was an admirer of Alfred Hitchcock, and aimed to emulate his work. But Persecuted is more like a made-for-TV melodrama than The Man Who Knew Too Much. It is rife with ham-fisted symbolism—Luther’s name is just one example—and plot twists that range from inexplicable to implausible. Imagine House of Cards for the religious set: that’s Persecuted.
The film opens with Luther (James Remar, who played the father of a serial killer on the Showtime drama Dexter) refusing a last-ditch effort of Senate Majority Leader Donald Harrison (Bruce Davison, best known for his role as Sen. Robert Kelly in the X-Men movies) to convince him to endorse the Faith and Fairness Act, a bill that would give “equal time” to all religions. “I cannot water down the gospel to advance anyone’s political agenda,” Luther tells Harrison in one of many robotic pronouncements.
Furious, the senator dispatches what later is revealed to be a Secret Service agent to drug Luther and frame him for the rape and murder of a 16 year-old girl. Emerging from his stupor the next morning on a rural roadside, Luther discovers a massive manhunt for him is underway. He spends the remainder of the film attempting to prove his innocence and evading the government’s efforts to assassinate him.
But it’s precisely the erasure of religious differences that lies at the heart of the diabolical government plot at the center of the story. Luther, the evangelist, runs a ministry called Truth. The government seeks, through the Faith and Fairness Act, to impose “equality for all faiths,” a concept presented darkly as the mysterious acronym SUMAC, with symbols nearly identical to a Unitarian Universalist “co-exist” bumper sticker.
Equality for all faiths? The bastards...
Be sure to read the entire thing. I don't know how many people will watch this thing. But among those who did, the reviews are good!
“Given our current administration,” said Avi Davis, president of the American Freedom Alliance, a Los Angeles think tank that “promotes, defends and upholds Western values and ideals,” the film could depict realistic events, a sentiment echoed by others in the crowd.
“Government has already overtaken freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the Second Amendment,” said Teresa Frerking, a CPAC attendee from Kentucky. “I have lost total faith in the government.”
“It was very credible in this day and age,” Marlene Curry, a CPAC attendee from Virginia, said. “I grew up in a country where government was restrained and represented the people. And of course that’s no longer the case.”
This is especially amusing:
One of the film’s many duff notes involves Fred Thompson, the former senator and presidential candidate, who plays Dr. Charles Luther, John Luther’s father, a Catholic priest. Thompson’s grimly earnest Luther advises his son that he’s “just a pawn in a bigger game” and that he must “stand up against a cabal of phony politicians” who “can’t silence the truth.” How the protagonist, named for the founder of the Protestant Reformation, is the son of a Catholic priest, is never explained in the film. After Father Luther is executed by government agents, his evangelical son goes to his church, takes communion, enlists the help of one of the younger priests in his father’s parish and begins carrying a rosary.