Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
More readers are learning that “Bill Maher Makes an Adolescent Case Against Religion in Religulous.” That’s because the review by Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman is being picked up by many alternative papers. The Houston Press, for instance.
Hoberman judges the movie “Initially quite funny in its head-on engagement with star-spangled, self-righteous platitudes.” But the movie takes a turn for the worse when Maher visits a small North Carolina chapel and harangues congregants. Such unplanned confrontations favored the challenger. Especially since the challenger then got to heavily edit the results.
“Such one-sided encounters are more depressing than fun,” writes Hoberman. Much of the movie has Maher debating “straw men” he says. “It’s far less enjoyable to watch him bait an anti-Zionist Hasid, a barely coherent Scottish Muslim, a guy who claims to be a descendant of Jesus, the proprietor of a creationist museum of natural history or a Dutch pothead who runs a ‘cannabis ministry.’”
In this week’s issue of the Register, you’ll find our very own Steven D. Greydanus’ even better review of the movie.
And at the Catholic League, Bill Donohue, who has chronicled anti-Catholic statements by Bill Maher for years, scores some points as well, judging the movie “More Absurd Than Hateful.”
— Tom Hoopes