“A Handmaid’s Tale,” a 1985 novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, is being trotted out again as the basis of a miniseries on Hulu. The book is set in a future dystopian society in which religious fanatics have taken over the United States and renamed it the Republic of Gilead. Women are absolutely subjugated and, because of an ecological disaster, a very few have been left fertile. Those who are capable of bearing children are trained as “handmaids” and then farmed out to the elite to become baby factories. Gilead has every feature of a police state, including a fortified border with Canada where would be refugees are shot, and public hangings of undesirables, including abortion doctors and gay people.

The book was mad into a 1990 movie starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway, and Robert Duval.

The novel, a best seller that garnered a pot full of literary awards, was meant as a cautionary story about what would happen if the religious right were ever to take over the United States. The scenario, as Kyle Smith notes in the National Review, is outlandish and has no relationship with the real world. The Reagan era Moral Majority was never going to take over the world. Christians, with some exceptions, are not interested in that kind of control over everyone. Nevertheless, the book, the film, and now the Hulu series has feminists clutching the story to their collective bosoms, frightening each other half to death at the prospect of being raped by rich men or being sent out to the “colonies” to be worked to death.

The latest spin being flogged by the media is that “A Handmaid’s Tale” has gained special relevance during the age of Trump. It is an interesting marketing ploy, but one that falls flat considering that the President, despite recent expressions of godliness, is about the least socially conservative in modern times.

Hulu has added a feature that was not, as far as can be recalled, in the novel. Handmaids who step out of line are subjected to female genital mutilation, the theory being that one does not need to feel sexual pleasure to be a baby factory. But that wrinkle brings us to an interesting question: What society on the planet oppresses women, makes them into sex slaves, kills gay people, and tolerates the practice of Female Genital Mutilation. The answer is, of course, countries that are indeed run by religious fanatics. The problem is, those zealots are not Christian. They are Muslim.

One can imagine a scenario like “A Handmaid’s Tale” taking place in an America that had been taken over by Islamist fascist who has imposed Sharia law. But that would run the risk of being called Islamophobic, which can never be.