In the beginning of the movie, he offers this quote from our second president, John Adams: "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it." Wow. That certainly provides stunning support for Maher's thesis. Did Adams really mean that?He goes on to show it in its true context, which does not support the view of Adams being anti-religious. This is the only point in Steven Waldman's "The Case Against Religulous."
While I share in the criticism of using these quotes (I think it is the result of laziness rather than dishonesty), I question it as the basis of a case against the film.
He notes that the out-of-context quotes provides "stunning support for Maher's thesis." What exactly is Maher's thesis? I watched the film and it most certainly was not that the Founders were anti-religious. If Maher's thesis were that the Founders were anti-religious, and that that is the point of the film, then the criticism of this quote is indeed a strong basis for a case against Religulous.
The anti-Christian views of the Founders were a minor point later in the film where he quotes Frankling, Adams, and Jefferson. My criticism stems from the misleading nature of the quotes, not the message itself. But even if the Founders were devout Christians (which they weren't), how does this incorrect argument for a minor point amount to a discrediting of the film?