Catholic League president Bill Donohue explains why he wants a disclaimer in “Angels & Demons”; it debuts in Rome today and opens in the U.S. on May 15:

“India’s Censor Board has asked that a disclaimer be put in ‘Angels & Demons’ saying the movie is a work of fiction. It has also asked that certain scenes be deleted from the movie. The Board explained its position by saying ‘It has its guidelines and its duty, and if it thinks a film, any film, disparages a religious community or hurts religious feelings, it should take action under its code.’

“The Catholic League would like to see the same disclaimer inserted everywhere the movie is shown. The disclaimer is needed because director Ron Howard, drawing on the book by Dan Brown, is playing both sides of the street: he, and Brown, alternate between promoting their work as fact and fiction. Thus, to set the record straight they need to come clean and do for the rest of the world what they have already agreed to do in India—insert a disclaimer indicating its fictional nature.

“The Catholic League believes that cutting scenes is an infringement on the artistic rights of those associated with the film and therefore does not endorse this approach. But a disclaimer is different: it is nothing more than a variant of truth in advertising.

“India is only two percent Christian. If Sony, the film’s producer, and Howard have no problem putting in a disclaimer in India, they surely should be prepared to do the same wherever the movie is shown. When Sony released ‘The Merchant of Venice’ it opened with a disclaimer condemning anti-Semitism. Howard opened ‘A Beautiful Mind’ with a disclaimer noting how the film contains fictional aspects not found in the book by that name. Catholics, obviously, expect the same degree of respect.

“This is where the rubber meets the road: Howard says he is not anti-Catholic. Let’s see what he says about my request.”

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