Second 'God’s Not Dead' movie focuses on religious freedom issues

by Jerry Circelli

North Texas Catholic

3/31/2016

The plot of God’s Not Dead 2 is based on many cases, all too common today, in which religious freedoms are being restricted by courts and government agencies.(Photo courtesy Pure Flix Entertainment)

In an era when it seems most Americans are more concerned with being politically correct than morally right, a refreshing new movie, God’s Not Dead 2, comes our way.

From the producers of the faith-based box office success, God’s Not Dead, the newest release takes the subject of religious freedom from the college classroom to the public square.

In the original God’s Not Dead, we follow a college student who stands up for his Christian beliefs, despite being aggressively challenged and ridiculed by his college professor. That film, produced on a $2 million budget and bringing in more than $60 million at the box office, was the highest grossing independent film in 2014. It proved to Hollywood that faith-based films could be popular and profitable. That realization has resulted in more movies coming our way that focus on God and the moral high ground.

God’s Not Dead 2 stars Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina The Teenage Witch), Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas), Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs), David A.R. White (God’s Not Dead), Sadie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Robin Givens (Head Of The Class), the late Senator Fred Dalton Thompson (Law & Order), and legendary singer/actor Pat Boone.

Hart, is the central character in the movie and portrays school teacher Grace Wesley.

To understand this movie’s plot, put yourself in the place of Hart’s character. Imagine you are a high school history teacher discussing non-violent leaders throughout time, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who maintained a peaceful approach in the face of violent persecution. You are asked a question about Jesus and his teachings about loving your enemies. The student asks if there is a similarity there in the way other non-violent leaders dealt with reform.

Do you answer the question? Do you quote Jesus or his Apostles, as you might quote Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or others?

Melissa Joan Hart portrays teacher Grace Wesley, who must decide how to react to a student’s question about Jesus and whether she should possibly sacrifice her career to defend her decision. (Photo courtesy Pure Flix Entertainment)

Or do you avoid the question? Do you steer clear, away from any topic that might even come close to the name of Jesus? Does the question raise a red flag and compel you to ignore it, lest you incur the wrath of those who find the mention of Christianity reprehensible in the public school system?

God’s Not Dead 2, like the film before it, is based on real-life battles on religious freedom and freedom of speech. The movie takes us behind the headlines of similar situations in the news, giving us some insight about those who defend religious freedoms and are willing to stand up for their basic God-given rights.

Quite literally, faith is on trial in God’s Not Dead 2.

And while there is ultimately a verdict in this case, the real decision lies inside each one of us, as characters in the film make some profound statements and cause us to take inventory of our own beliefs and convictions.

One of those characters, played by Pat Boone, is graced by wisdom that comes with age. He says, “In this day and age, people seem to forget that the most basic human right of all is the right to believe.”

Hart’s character, the teacher, arrives at her decision to defend her actions with a line that resounds throughout the film, and should echo in all our important decisions. She says, “I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.”

God’s Not Dead 2 was produced by Pure Flix Entertainment, an independent studio focused on faith and family-oriented films.

Michael Scott, founding partner of Pure Flix, said in a statement released by the production company, “Cases like these — where the religious freedoms of everyday men and women are being restricted by courts and government agencies — are sadly quite common today.”

He continued, “Our goal has always been and remains making movies that entertain and educate an army of people who can talk about their faith intelligently, and really take that to the world. Our hope is that we can start a conversation in the country with this movie about how critical the right to believe, and to talk about that belief in public, is to our nation.”

See the God’s Not Dead 2 movie trailer.

In an era when it seems most Americans are more concerned with being politically correct than morally right, a refreshing new movie, God’s Not Dead 2, comes our way.

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