The trailer of the new movie, “The Invention of Lying,” gave no indication of its atheistic-themed plot, but there was enough of a buzz about the agenda of screenwriter and director 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-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 lying doesn’t exist until the lead character realized that he can say something that is not true. After he realizes this new talent, the character spins a tale to his dying mother 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 he allows calamities such as AIDS (it’s never diabetes that Hollywood flags). In mockery, the lead character later appears looking like a fat, scrubby version of Jesus and an image of him appears on a stained-glass window holding the two tablets (resembling those of Moses) on which he wrote his version of the Ten Commandments, posing as if on a cross. In the end, he and his girl are the only two people who know that “The Man in the Sky” isn’t real.

At the Catholic League, we 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 this 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.

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