Marvin Olasky

The allegory suggests that both pastors and businessmen operate as if there is no God. The film's conclusion, though, suggests that time wounds all heels: Both the cynical preacher and the lying businessman deserve to end up either dead or imprisoned, and cosmic justice does prevail in the end.

"National Treasure: Book of Secrets" is both campy and campground. Its American history is hokum. The plot depends on an easy break-in at the Oval Office, an easy kidnapping of the president from a dinner party, a City of Gold under Mount Rushmore, a book stashed in the Library of Congress that contains the truth about the Kennedy assassination and Area 51 of UFO fame, etc. -- but no one takes any of this seriously.

What's cool is the campground part: the movie is a throwback to family-friendly action movies with a "civil religion" tinge. Nicholas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates gives patriotic talks and risks death to prove that an ancestor was not a John Wilkes Booth co-conspirator. Binding up the nation's wounds also leads to a binding up of familial wounds: Gates' estranged parents reunite, he and his estranged girlfriend reunite, and even the southern partisan bad guy turns out to have a noble streak.

Bottom line on this movie lineup: Faith in faith, faith in cosmic retribution, and faith in America, all competing for box office votes.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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