Bill Maher would have been burned at the stake if his hellishly hilarious and surprisingly thoughtful satire on organized religion had played the Inquisition. As it is, the far right will vilify him as a dangerous heretic, which is also pretty funny. Religulous, linking the words "religion" and "ridiculous," has been directed by Borat's Larry Charles in the same mode as that classic mock documentary. The movie follows the star of Real Time and Politically Incorrect from Jerusalem to Jersey as he questions Christians, Jews, Muslims, Mormons and Scientologists about faith. Maher can be a smartass, but his attempts to apply reason to religion are more a challenge than a threat. Maher, born to a Jewish mother but raised Catholic like his father, jokes about taking a lawyer to negotiate his first Confession. "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned — I think you know Mr. Cohen?" But he's not kidding when he rails against blind faith as a body of lies that can start wars and get people killed.
From The Archives Issue 123: December 7, 1972