Idol Chatter

Maher_idol.jpgLiberal pundits in need of a boost seem to have found a surefire way to rev up the base: by bashing religion. Christopher Hitchens, suffering a rough patch for his support for the Iraq War, countered with his crowd-pleasing book, “God Is Not Great.” Now Bill Maher, the former “Politically Correct” host who has not had a steady gig since his canned video segments on mysteriously vanished, will appear in a documentary that unveils the dark side of organized religion.
Developed in secrecy with “Borat” director Larry Charles and seen only in snippets screened at this year’s Cannes festival, the movie follows Maher to hotspots of religious strife. Hilarity ensues, according to Maher. Apparently it was only the riskiness of the topic that kept the film from finding a distributor sooner. Last week, Lionsgate Films announced that it will take the plunge and release the movie next spring.

Maher presents a more curious case than Hitchens. Though he criticizes religion as “a bureaucracy between man and God that I don’t need,” and ridicules the picture of God as “a single parent who writes books,” Maher has said he believes in “some force” in the universe that he’s willing to call God. For the most non-religious, this is like Michael Moore admitting that he voted for Bush One. Will audiences find the movie as funny if Maher admits his beliefs on camera?

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