Surprise: Media Mock New Film ‘Persecuted’ About Big Government and Religious Freedom

Movie explores a possible government assault on faith.

“This is no longer a Christian nation. In fact, it never has been,” says the Democrat senator. That’s the backdrop for the Christian indie film “Persecuted,” opening in theatres July 18. It attempts to address the question of what the U.S. would look like if religious pluralism would have its way forced in by the federal government.

Sen. Harrison (played by Bruce Davidson) was explaining to televangelist John Luther (James Remar) as to why a religious equality bill should be passed. The movie is quite timely, fresh on the heels of the Hobby Lobby ruling.

“Persecuted” is about Luther, a televangelist preacher targeted by the government for his public refusal to adhere to a new religious inclusivity bill called the “Faith and Fairness Act.” “I’m giving you the opportunity to be on the right side of history,” Sen. Harrison tells Luther, using an expression common to liberals.

The bill would require public figures, such as preachers, to not preach the exclusivity of the gospels. If this sounds far-fetched, it’s not. According to  American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) this fictional law is similar to a real life resolution passed by the United Nations.

But that factoid is lost on the liberal media, who instead choose to deride the indie film as “comical” and “unintentionally silly,” wrote The Salt Lake Tribune. Scott Weinberg, a prominent online movie critic called the film “hilarious-looking right-wing propaganda” and The Washington Post mainly criticized the artistic merits of the film but still called it “political paranoia.”

Though strangely enough, Larry King seemed to enjoy the movie.


The New York Times had the harshest words of all. Reviewer Neil Genzlinger mocked it under the headline, “They’re out to get him, whoever they are,” and it only went downhill from there.

Genzlinger opens with: “The title - ‘Persecuted’- and the presence of the Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson in the cast are really all you need to know. This terrible attempt at a political thriller for the religious right is aimed not at Christians in general but at a certain breed of them, the kind who feel as if the rest of the world were engaged in a giant conspiracy against their interpretation of good and truth.” Genzlinger complains the movie is “an overwrought mess” and the “plot degenerates into incomprehensibility.”

Where the movie may fail in explaining some plot details, the reviews of the film clearly are not objecting to the delivery but to the message and conservative stance against big government.

After all, the media usually love indie films, despite their flaws. The more perverse the content, the better the review. Take for example the 95% thumbs up rating by top critics who lauded “Blue is the Warmest Color” as “exceptional” “warm” “compassionate” “ravishing” “elegant” and “remarkable.” Even though the film was essentially porn about two under-age girls who engage in all kinds of sexual acts for the camera, in close-up detail.

Or maybe the 87% rating by critics for Obvious Child, an “abortion comedy” which the media hailed as “honest” look at the non-emotional, “inconvenient, often necessary and occasionally funny” decision to get an abortion.

But a film from a conservative filmmaker about big government and religious discrimination is hardly the landscape liberals want to acknowledge.

But not every media personality is immune to the plight of religious discrimination.

Fox News anchor Carlson appears in a minor cameo as a reporter in the film and told The Christian Post, “These are issues I have talked a lot about on Fox News and they're central in my life too. I'm a Christian and oftentimes felt the negativity of speaking openly about that.”

From the media reaction to this Christian film, it’s not hard to see why she feels that way.


— Kristine Marsh is Staff Writer for MRC Culture at the Media Research Center. Follow Kristine Marsh on Twitter.