A group of 12 people called the new movie blasphemous and protested the showing of "The Da Vinci Code" on Friday evening outside the Hollywood Southwind 12 Theater in Lawrence.
"We're that adamant to stand up for our values and do reparation for this blasphemy," said Jeanine Blanck, a protest organizer from Perry.
The movie is based on a popular but controversial novel by Dan Brown. According to the novel, Jesus Christ secretly married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child. Members of the Catholic Church have also criticized the fictional work for its portrayal of a church-related group, Opus Dei, in the story.
The Lawrence protest was one of hundreds scheduled nationwide by the Catholic group "The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property," Blanck said.
The group members said prayers and held signs rejecting the movie as cars drove into the theater's parking lot, but they were far from the entrance to the theater.
The largest sign said the movie "insults our Lord Jesus Christ, attacks His Church and our sacred Catholic faith."
"Fiction is a great teacher. Some people have used a lot of fiction to teach. They have their agenda, and we are trying to smash that," Blanck said.
Some preparing to watch the movie said they were eager to see the story on the big screen.
"I liked the book a lot," said Jim LaRocca, a Free State High School junior. "I'm Catholic, and I don't see anything wrong with it."
"It just seems like anti-culture," Benjamin Greenberg, also a Free State junior, said of the protest.
Movie theater staff members said three of the four Friday evening shows were sold out. They expected the same this evening.
"We just find it really interesting and think it's a good story. People can choose what they want to believe. It's just a movie," Jessica Wenberg, of Lawrence, said.