Barbara Nicolosi believes in the future of Christians in Hollywood. A Catholic veteran of the film industry who founded the screenwriting program Act One, she speaks enthusiastically of the time when believers will be well-enough represented in the ranks of studio executives to influence which films and tv series get the green light. "Right now, there simply aren't enough talented Christians who have paid their dues," she told a group of cultural-creative types in a coffeehouse near Washington, D.C., last fall. "But within five to ten years, we will see Christians in Hollywood with real power."
A young man wearing a beret waved his hand. "When you say 'Christians with power,' " he said, "I get really nervous."
"Well, you're here in Washington," Nicolosi responded. "Does it bother you that Christians have political power?"
"Yes it does, actually!" he responded—and a dozen others nodded intently in agreement.
Strange. No one would have been in that room, after all, if they didn't care quite a bit about power. Nicolosi filled a room and held our attention not just because of what she knew—though her knowledge of popular film and television is encyclopedic—but also whom she knew. In the currency of Hollywood, first-name anecdotes about Barbara Hall, producer of the spiritually attuned Joan of Arcadia, or Mel Gibson, director of The Passion of the Christ, are as good as gold.
Just as strange was the fact that many people in that room now have, or will soon acquire, significant power of their own. They aren't in Washington by accident—they have pursued a path of education, training, and apprenticeship designed to give them access to culturally influential vocations and locations.
Indeed, 50 years of evangelical efforts to reverse fundamentalism's ...