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Hollywood, Oct 3, 2008 / 03:48 pm (CNA).- Steve McEveety, producer of "The Passion of the Christ," has written a letter encouraging people to see the new movie "An American Carol," comparing buying tickets for the movie to casting a vote in the “emerging culture war.” American Carol producer John Shepherd explained to CNA that the movie is meant to make Hollywood question its animosity towards conservatives.
“In the coming weeks your vote is going to play a crucial role in the battle for the hearts and minds of all Americans -- and it is not your vote in the Presidential election,” he writes.
Claiming Hollywood is “holding an election” in which a vote is the price of a movie ticket, he tells readers “your participation is key to the emerging culture war.”
He says the conflict presently centers on two films released on Friday, October 3.
McEveety describes the first movie, comedian Bill Maher’s “Religulous,” as a “militant pro-atheism documentary.”
He also cites Maher’s own anti-religious words: “We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I do believe that -- I think religion stops people from thinking. I think it justifies crazies.”
McEveety contrasts the film with David Zucker's “An American Carol,” calling the latter a “pro-America, pro-faith comedy.”
He describes Zucker’s movie as “a film that celebrates America as a country founded on the principles of faith. If you are one of the so-called ‘religious’ crazies who wants to be heard LOUD and CLEAR by Hollywood -- come out to the theater on October 3rd and buy a ticket for An American Carol.”
Movie producer David Zucker, who is Jewish, described his motives for making the film to the Chicago Tribune.
Saying he was tired of Christian-bashing in pop culture, and Catholic-bashing in particular, he described one satirical scene inspired by celebrity Rosie O’Donnell’s comments that radical evangelicals were as dangerous as Islamic terrorists.
"We do a whole routine where Rosie shows a documentary to Bill O'Reilly about 'the truth about radical Christians,' where they're going on planes, hitting the pilots with their crosses and Bibles, and we have a nun blowing up a bus – all these crazy things.
"I loved doing that scene," Zucker told the Chicago Tribune.
In an email to CNA on Friday afternoon, American Carol producer John Shepherd Zucker described the O’Donnell scene as a use of “hyperbole, exaggeration and satiric humor to illustrate a point.”
“Yes sometimes the comedy is shocking and embarrassing. But so was the little boy who blurted out "the Emperor's not wearing any clothes!" Shepherd said.
For Shepherd, “An American Carol” is an attempt to prod Hollywood into seeing how intolerant it has become. "It used to be that Hollywood was a two party town, a ‘tolerant’ town... and one could have a heated debate about politics or religion and still part company as friends. Anymore I find that if you are a person of faith, or a conservative, or God forbid, both (!), you are dismissed as a fanatic or irrelevant,” he told CNA.
The Hollywood producer related how reading the script for Zucker's satire was a relief from the caustic environment he has come to find himself in lately. “I found myself laughing at the extreme views to which we all hold. And I found his point of view refreshing, and ideologically cathartic!”
Shepherd hopes that the film will go beyond just a good laugh though. In the end, he hopes that “An American Carol” will allow Americans to “engage one another once again in a heated and spirited debate about the things that are really important in life – God, family, country.”
“After all,” commented Shepherd, “in the end, we're still one Nation, under God — with liberty and laughter for all!"