In case you hadn’t heard, God’s Not Dead 2 will be out in theaters in a couple of weeks — the premiere, appropriately, is on April Fools’ Day.
The plot is a variation on the original film. Melissa Joan Hart plays a high school teacher who quotes the Bible in class, only to be sued by a student who believes in separation of church and state. Then there’s a trial.
All of this, I guess, makes sense to persecuted Christians, even though there’s not a single instance of that ever happening. (Though I’ll admit a movie about a church/state separation group sending emails back and forth with a school district, which is what normally happens, wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining.)
As I wrote before, this plot is just another example of Christians making up stories to look like martyrs against a society that supposedly hates them. (To quote Jon Stewart, “maybe one day there can be an openly Christian President. Or, perhaps, 43 of them. Consecutively.”)
The truth is church/state separation groups wouldn’t even bat an eye over a teacher referencing the Bible in class in such an innocuous way. They sure as hell wouldn’t file a lawsuit or send a letter of complaint when the teacher wasn’t overtly proselytizing.
That’s as fictional as a college philosophy professor forcing you to admit God doesn’t exist.
But now that the sequel is gearing up for the premiere, David A.R. White, who runs Pure Flix Entertainment (the studio releasing the film), wants to assure everyone the storyline is realistic:
… White responded to atheists’ claims that “God’s Not Dead 2,” which releases nationwide on April 1, is misleading and “full of fake Christian persecution,” as one atheist blogger charged last year.
“It’s an interesting thing, because, if it wasn’t real, why do they get so offended by it?” White told TheBlaze on Wednesday. “I don’t think it would annoy people if it wasn’t true.”
He continued, “At the end of “God’s Not Dead 1′ and even part two, we throw up about 50 different court cases that are dealing with similar issues right now.”
First of all, the reason atheists might be offended is precisely because it’s all untrue. Atheists are cast as the bad guys in a film that purports to be realistic. We’re the bogeymen. By portraying us as trigger-happy, litigious, anti-Christian people who freak out at every public mention of God, it’s misrepresenting the very real concerns we have about Christians getting special perks from government institutions. It feeds into a false narrative that politicians like Ted Cruz use to foment anger and rile up their base.
Like so many Christian movies, there’s no nuance. There’s just good and bad, and atheists are always on the side of evil — we have to be, or Christians wouldn’t buy tickets.
And what about those real-life examples of Christian persecution in the credits of the first film?
They’re nonsense. The rise to the level of calling Christian bakers “victims” if they refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding and get in trouble over it.
Here’s just one example of what the movie used:
The movie actually lists a number of court cases, in the credits, as the “inspiration” for the movie, to leave the viewer with the impression that this kind of thing happens all the time. In reality, of course, they are largely just the aforementioned “Christian-email-forward boogeymen.” Take the case of Raymond Raines, who Christians claim was picked up by the scruff of the neck and yelled at by his teacher and principal for praying over his lunch in public school at the tender age of five. In reality, he was ten (not five), he got detention (not picked up and yelled at), and it was for fighting in the cafeteria (not praying over his lunch). It’s all just part of that victimization narrative.
When this movie comes out, I’ll be glad to go through the cases in the credits and explain why none of them rise to the level of persecution that forms the basis for the film’s plot.
And at the rate they’re going, this blog post will inspire the plot for God’s Not Dead 3.