Jeff Field, policy analyst and editor of the Catholic League’s monthly journal, Catalyst, provided Bill Donohue with a review of “The Invention of Lying”; Field saw the movie today in New York City. Here are Donohue’s thoughts on it:
The trailer to the movie gave no indication of its atheistic-themed plot, but there was enough of a buzz about the agenda of screenwriter Ricky Gervais that we decided to check it out. We’re glad we did. “The Invention of Lying” is not the kind of in-your-face assault that Hollywood often serves up, but therein lies its perniciousness: because this anti-religion—make that anti-Christian—film is laced with some romance and humor, the message it sends is all the more sinister.
The movie centers on a world where no one lies. But that changes when the lead character’s mother is dying and the dutiful son finds utility in spinning a tale about a place that resembles heaven, thus saving her from being consigned to an “Eternity of Nothingness.” He subsequently floats the idea that there is a God-like “Man in the Sky,” a belief accepted by most, though some cynics wonder why AIDS exists (it’s never diabetes that Hollywood flags). In mockery, the lead character later shows up looking like a fat Jesus, and an image of him appears on a stained-glass window holding the Two Tablets (of Moses), posing as if on the Cross. In the end, he and his girl are the only two people who haven’t drunk all the moonshine about “The Man in the Sky.”
We at the Catholic League prefer our bigotry straight-up. We don’t like bigotry-lite, which this is not. But we also don’t like it slipped into our drink. It is not for nothing that the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the bishops’ conference slammed the movie as “morally offensive.” But we are pleased to note that the atheists still use our religion as the model, and still portray God as male. There is hope for them yet.