“This is no longer a Christian nation. In fact, it never has been.”
Writer, producer, and director Daniel Lusko sends a strong message that the government wants to squash religious freedoms…for how can we have freedom when we’re told what to say, not say, or believe.
Tolerance in this country is a hot topic, and Persecuted brings an interesting turn to the religious tolerance argument. In this thriller-drama, former-prisoner-turned-evangelist John Luther (James Remar) heads up a huge religious ministry, Truth.
Conflict occurs when longtime Truth supporter Senator Majority Leader Donald Harrison (Bruce Davison) wants Luther to sign on to the Faith and Fairness Act which would require all religions to be considered equal, and no one could say that any other religion was wrong.
Watch the trailer now:
Luther refuses, holding steadfast to the Bible’s teachings, and unwilling to sell his soul to the government. His refusal causes Harrison distress, as Luther’s following is needed for this to pass smoothly. With the face of a large religious group against the bill, Harrison pulls the trigger on a setup.
Luther is cleverly framed for the rape and murder of a young girl. As he tries to piece together what’s happening, after his wife Monica (Natalie Grant) fills him in and tells him to not come home because they’re watching for him, Luther turns to the church.
Priest and father Dr. Charles Luther (Fed Thompson) advises him that he can either turn himself in and face injustice, or an alternative: become a fugitive.
Meanwhile, Harrison begins puppeting Pastor Ryan Morris (Brad Stine) as the new face and spokesperson for Truth. With the organization on their side, the bill can still pass.
To protect himself and the fight for the truth, Luther starts putting the pieces of the puzzle together, finding the proof he needs to exonerate himself. Unfortunately, the reach of the government and those in office easily eliminate and destroy the evidence and those in their way.
However, the struggle with finding Luther causes distress as high up as the White House. In an attempt to show sides between good and evil, the president’s voice, appearance, and demeanor is an obvious play on former President Bill Clinton (James R Higgins).
Luther has to find a way to stay alive, prove his innocence, and most importantly to him, reveal the truth.
Persecuted is full of great one-liners and meaningful references. Even the protagonist’s name is rich with meaning. Martin Luther King Jr. is quoted by Harrison in the film, as he says, “I have a dream, too, a dream of a tradition of faith as diverse as the color of our skin walking forth to the light.”
One could also infer that Luther’s name was given in respect to Martin Luther, who in the early 1500s fought for what he believed to be truth.
The compelling storyline keeps you interested, although there are a few times where scenes could have been continued, but instead are ended abruptly, such as when the tattoo owner tells Luther the information she has is going to cost him. I thought we were going to see what kind of “payment” she had in mind, but it must have been money because it was never referred to or brought up again.
All in all, Persecuted is a movie that opens up discussion and leaves you thinking. It’s no secret that it is conservative in nature, and the target demographic is Christians. Fox host Gretchen Carlson (playing a TV anchor), Award-winning Christian vocalist Natalie Grant, and former presidential candidate Fred Thompson grace the screen.
According to theBlaze.com, Thompson says, “Here we had a powerful senator and the president too really trying to promote something, they called it fairness but essentially a requirement that all religions must be taught equally or something along those lines and wrapped it in the garb of fairness and equality.” 1
Many other review sites gave it poor reviews, so perhaps there is viewer bias as with any film. However, Persecuted exceeded my expectations for a Christian thriller. Well done.
A line that has haunted me, roughly quoted: “Look at Iran, China…when they drag people out of their beds in the middle of the night on false charges. You ask the people in the US about the persecution of Christians, and they say ‘not here.”
Persecution comes wrapped in different packages. In America, these “gifts” often come in the form of legislation. Is there a conspiracy to remove the God of the Bible from society? Are Christians in danger of having to tone down their message of Jesus being the only way to Heaven?
From a Christian standpoint, the movie hits a sensitive topic. What would our country look like if it was considered hate speech to say that another religion wasn’t correct? Or if the whole “agree to disagree” philosophy was no longer valid?
In the film, the Faith and Fairness Act is a ruse to have the government’s reach include religious groups that are currently out of their grasp. There is a bit of fear that if a movie can come out exposing a fictitious bill that a real one may not be far behind.
Interestingly, there is a bill entitled the Faith and Fairness Act (H.R. 4493, introduced April 28, 2014) which amends the term “minister of the gospel” for tax exclusions on rental properties. 2
The most graphic parts of the film are in the beginning, when Luther is set up for the rape and murder of a young girl. While there is no nudity, the scene is set with little doubt of what happened.
Luther is in the shower when he remembers flashbacks of the night before. The tattoo owner slyly suggests that a form of payment is needed for the information she has, but it is never revealed what payment she means.
From the few reviews I’ve read, those not watching it through a Christian worldview do not see Persecuted favorably. Since the film’s target audience is a Christian demographic, it’s no surprise.
However, Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that “the person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”
- If the federal government passed a law that all religions were equal, how would that change the way you act or believe?
- Do you believe that such a bill should be passed? Why or why not?
- What are some messages from the movie that you can share with those who feel that all religions are equally true?
Want to find out more about Persecuted? Check it out on the Christian Film Database
Don’t miss our interview on Daniel Lusko’s ‘Persecuted’ – A Freedom Film to Awaken America
Bethany Jett is an author and speaker from Tampa, FL. Her dating book for young women, The Cinderella Rule is available online and in bookstores everywhere. Find her at Bethany Jett
 http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/28/this-former-presidential-candidate-is-playing-a-priest-in-a-new-political-thriller-alongside-a-popular-news-anchor-youll-recognize/ on July 21, 2014.
 https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4493#summary/libraryofcongress on July 21, 2014.