'Persecuted' Shows CPAC Crowd Religious Freedom Under Assault

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland--Imagine legislation that while promoted as a boon to spiritual diversity actually cripples one of the core freedoms Americans cherish--freedom of religion.

So goes Persecuted, a new political thriller screened this weekend at CPAC. Writer/director Daniel Lusko's film stars James Remar as an evangelist framed for murder when he won't promote the Faith and Fairness Act to his flock. The political measure is purported to level the religious playing field, but Remar's character sees it as an existential threat to unfettered expression.

The film won't hit theaters until May 9, but conservatives at the annual gathering got two separate chances to catch it.

Persecuted is clearly aimed at faith-based audiences as well as those concerned with the government encroaching on religious freedom. The project began roughly five years ago, long before fears that ObamaCare might impact contraception issues or Arizona attempted to pass new laws regarding religious freedom.

Co-star Brad Stine, who plays the lead character's right hand man, told the CPAC crowd that many conservatives have become downright pessimistic about events in the Age of Obama.

"There's almost a sense of despair ... we're too late," Stine said. "It's not too late."

Stine, a right-leaning stand-up as well as an actor, says movies like Persecuted are one way conservatives can have a say in the culture wars. And that war needs to be fought on and off the big screen.

"I wanna watch political correctness die in my lifetime. First, I wanna watch it suffer," he said to hearty laughter.


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