“Contending for the Faith” is a well-intended but completely amateurish digital feature produced by a small independent ministry in Hartford, Connecticut, that imagines the America of 2008 in which the government is persecuting Christian churches. Not just a particular religion, but everyone from Roman Catholics to Unitarians and all stations of the cross in-between. A courageous and pretty investigative journalist starts snooping around to unearth suspicious government practices and gets arrested by a top secret federal agency which is carrying out the Christian-bashing. Needless to say, her faith in Jesus is put to the test when the interrogators get slap-happy.
At a time when there are many places in the world where Christians are very much under siege (especially in dictatorships under the American umbrella such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China), it is strange that the film would invent a make-believe persecution rather than focus on the real thing. It also never explains why the government leaders who spend tons of time and money chasing Christian votes would suddenly turn around become hostile to this community.
The creators of this film are involved in public access television production and that clearly shows here: hollow sound, out of focus cinematography, choppy editing, cadaver-stiff acting and no clear sense of purpose or plan. The film’s declaration of belief is obviously sincere, but “Contending for the Faith” is not a professional movie and sitting through its very, very long 95 minutes requires (if you excuse the pun) the patience of a saint.