Reviews: family entertainment, documentaries, resources, books, music
AFA Staff
AFA Journal staff reviews movies, books and other resources

Photo above, this Christian widow in India is one of many who tell their stories of persecution.

February 2017 – New film documents Christian persecution
Under Caesar’s Sword is a concise, focused, and articulate history of persecution of Christians. This 26-minute masterpiece is the result of a three-year global research project to identify how Christian communities respond to the violation of their religious freedoms.

The film interviews numerous victims, e.g., an Indian lady who said homes and churches are vandalized and burned, and rape is common in her homeland.

“We have this public image of India as being peaceful and pluralistic,” responded Dr. Daniel Philpott, Notre Dame professor of political science. “It doesn’t compute.”

Another victim is singer Helen Berhane, who was arrested in Eritrea, East Africa, for recording a Christian music album, and was imprisoned in a shipping container for more than two years.

“[It] was hell on earth,” Berhane testified. “They torture you, they beat you.”

Beyond spotlighting victims’ stories, the film looks at the big picture, pointing out that more than 1 million Christians experience persecution or martyrdom each year.

Under Caesar’s Sword was produced by University of Notre Dame and the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University. Its value and potential for impact are multiplied many times over by the fact that it can be viewed free, and it has a wealth of collaborative materials including a study guide and more in-depth information on the issue. Learn more at
Randall Murphree

undefinedDefense of New Haven
In this delightful family movie, the fictional town of New Haven is about to be attacked, and only the City Defense Force can keep danger at bay. Raiders in gas masks are running through the town setting fire to empty buildings. Alec finds himself in the middle of the turmoil. He only wants to protect his sister by joining CDF but is slowed down by having only one arm.

The Defense of New Haven has many things going for it: quotable lines, lovable characters, and layered story. It also has a few surprises, one of which is that there is not a single adult in front of the camera.

This film is from the same crew who made The Runner from Ravenshead, and their experience gained in making that movie shows in this new title.

The Defense of New Haven is a movie children and adults will enjoy. It is filled with laugh-out-loud and teachable moments. In the end, it can be a great discussion starter for the importance of trust, friendship, and valuing true wisdom from seemingly “outdated” sources. Available at
Teddy James

undefinedThe Last Aliyah
In The Last Aliyah, it’s the near future, and anti-Semitism has invaded the halls of the nation’s capitol. The UN has passed a resolution that forbids Jews worldwide to migrate to Israel, and the U.S. Senate quickly agrees to enforce the edict. Likewise, U.S. President Herald Smith and Vice President Daniel Fireside are complicit in the travesty.

Author Mark Alan Leslie has crafted a chilling novel, The Last Aliyah, in which God’s chosen people are victimized by those whose worldview would obliterate all evidence of the one true God. The word aliyah was used to describe the Jews’ first return to their homeland in the fifth century B.C., after years of captivity in Babylon.

In Leslie’s gripping narrative, political intrigue drips from every page. Nobel laureate Omri Zohn and Sen. Joseph Frank are among a little band of U.S. Jews determined to find a way around the UN decree, and a modern-day underground railroad emerges to assist them.

In a world fractured by social clashes and religious unrest, The Last Aliyah is a bit unsettling. It will alert readers to realize how fiction could conceivably turn into fact.

Available online and at retail stores.
Randall Murphree