“How did we end up with a religion that doesn’t even recognize us?”
I asked a woman in the audience, as she tried to decide whether I should go see “The Dark Knight Rises.”
I didn’t even know that I was attending an all-faith film festival, let alone that it was happening in the capital.
I was so confused.
What the hell is this?
What’s this all about?
Why, this is an annual festival of faith-based films.
There’s the Christian Bale-directed “Crazy Heart,” which was directed by and starring a Christian woman; the Christian-themed “The Great Gatsby”; the atheist-themed film “Hail Mary”; and “The Book of Mormon.”
But the festival is most famous for its Christian-driven “A Christmas Story,” a tale of love, loss and redemption.
I had never heard of it.
What the hell?
Why would anyone even want to watch such a story?
What does it mean for me, to see “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and hear a Christian Christmas song on the soundtrack?
The festival has a mission: To help people become more observant, more open-minded, and more accepting of different religions.
It’s a cause of great pride for many in the religion community, which has been rocked by the recent death of Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr., a longtime pastor and friend of President Donald Trump.
Falwell died last month at age 89 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
But the Falwell death has also ignited a debate in the faith community about the importance of the holiday season and the need to be inclusive.
And I can’t help but wonder what other faith groups might feel about it.
“It’s not a big deal,” said Christian writer and speaker John Hagee, a member of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which is pushing for religious freedom legislation in Congress.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate diversity, to celebrate God, to encourage tolerance, to say, ‘This is the most wonderful time of year.'”
A lot of people, particularly in the West, are very sensitive to the fact that we don’t have as many religious holidays as they do, said Hageer, whose church, Freedom House, has been in the forefront of the fight against anti-Christian legislation in states such as Arkansas and Oklahoma.
“But I don’t know if it’s fair or not fair that some people can’t go to the movies on Christmas Day because it’s a Christian holiday, and other people can go to them and say, you know, we’ve got a different way of celebrating Christmas.'”
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