Republicans more likely than Democrats to be unhappy with Hollywood's treatment of Christianity

A scene from God's Not Dead, which was a surprise hit in 2014(Photo: PureFlix)

The way Christianity is being depicted in the movies is proving to be one of the major issues that sharply divide the two major political blocs in America.

A new poll by the Barna Group showed that 32 percent of Republicans believe that the Christian faith deserves better treatment by Hollywood compared to only 5 percent of Democrats who think the same way, The Hollywood Reporter (THR) reports.

The poll was commissioned by the filmmakers behind "God's Not Dead 2" and released at a screening in Cleveland ahead of the Republican National Convention, which got underway on Monday.

The poll asked the respondents: "What is your opinion of Hollywood's treatment of Christianity?"

The results of the survey did not surprise Pat Boone, one of the actors in the movie

"Christianity imposes restrictions on behavior, even in movies," Boone told THR. "Hollywood doesn't like it when people tell them to stick to moral rules because it makes a lot of money breaking those rules. Orgies, vampires, zombies, debauchery of all forms. Anything goes, and it is liberal Democrats who are making these films. Depravity is profitable."

Citing a personal example, Boone said he was recently offered a role in a TV pilot where he'd play the role of a Christian book publisher who is "a heathen, money-grubbing hypocrite."

Radio host Michael Medved said he also wasn't surprised at the poll results because conservatives generally have a more favourable view of Christianity than do liberals.

However, he said there is actually an improvement in the way Hollywood is treating Christian-themed movies. Medved, who authored the best-selling book "Hollywood Vs. America" in 1992, said movie makers treated Christianity much worse in the 1980s and 1990s.

He cited two examples: "The Shawshank Redemption," a 1994 movie where the sadistic warden "is emphasised as having a cross on his lapel," and "Cape Fear," a 1991 movie where the antagonist, played by Robert De Niro, has a giant cross tattooed on his back.

"It's not so much that Christians are lampooned all the time — though that certainly happens — it's that they're ignored, and they shouldn't be. In any given week, four times more Americans go to church than go to the movies," Medved said.

THR notes that Hollywood is now more receptive to Christian films since "The Passion of the Christ" turned out to be a huge success in 2004. The two "God's Not Dead" films have earned $82 million while "Heaven Is for Real" made $91 million in 2014.

The Kendrick brothers also produced successful movies targeted at evangelicals such as "War Room," "Courageous," "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants," according to THR.