Thomas R. Perrotta is an American novelist and screenwriter best known for his novels Election (1998) and Little Children (2004), both of which were made into critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-nominated films. Perrotta co-wrote the screenplay for the 2006 film version of Little Children with Todd Field, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Perrotta: I had a period in my young life where I was really religious, and so I’m sympathetic to people who, you know, feel those urges and trying to figure out what to do with them. On the other hand, I think there was a degree of… I don’t want to say hypocrisy. I don’t think, you know, every Catholic is not a hypocrite, but we went to church on Sunday and then we didn’t think about it too much. You know, that was… I think a lot of Catholics I know now are trying to be much more serious, and I do think. in a way, evangelical culture has sort of pushed the Catholics in a way to be more serious about their religion and I think it’s one of the reasons why I think evangelical culture always seemed sort of strange and a little bit troubling to me was that, you know, they really work 24/7 trying to live, live their faith and that’s a great challenge to the mainstream culture and, you know, it’s really hard to do but I totally respect the passion that they bring to their religious life because at least the religious life that I knew when I was a kid, almost everybody I knew went to church but I never heard people or rarely heard people make religious arguments for living the rest of their lives, and most Catholics I knew were totally comfortable with, say, the Pope says you can’t have premarital sex but, you know, I’m living with my girlfriend, or the Pope says you can’t use birth control but, hey, I’m using birth control. I mean, I think Catholics had gotten used to this idea that there is this bureaucracy up here and there is the life we really lived and those two don’t match up but that’s the way it goes. We’re Catholics by birthright and I think one of the real powerful effects of the evangelical movement has been to push all religious people to kind of make their lives whole.