The movie God’s Not Dead—the story of a Christian college student dealing with an aggressively atheistic professor—surprised entertainment-industry observers in 2014, earning more than $60 million at the box office. That’s not bad, especially for a film that cost only $2 million to make.
On April 1, God’s Not Dead 2 will hit theaters. And this one takes the story into the courtroom.
The main plot involves a teacher (Melissa Joan Hart) who answers a student’s question about Jesus in the classroom, not by witnessing, but simply by presenting established historical facts. It’s not long before she finds herself facing dismissal and fighting for her rights—as well as her livelihood—in court.
The movie is inspired by real-life cases of the sort the Alliance Defending Freedom often faces. In fact, ADF was a resource for the filmmakers—as it was with the original movie. The film’s end credits list 43 religious-liberty cases, many in which ADF played a role.
“We didn’t want to do a sequel just to do a sequel,” explains David A.R. White, one of the film’s producers. “There are so many current events happening that are threatening our religious freedoms. We wanted to bring those to light.”
White, who also stars as Rev. Dave in both films, thinks those events will help this movie strike a chord with audiences.
“After God’s Not Dead, we heard from so many people saying that sort of discrimination is what’s happening at their universities,” he tells Citizen. “They felt it was literally their story. And I think we’ll see a lot of that reaction again after this one.”
White hopes this story of a Christian teacher who defends her rights at great personal cost will encourage viewers to show similar fortitude in their own lives—and to support others who already are fighting for their freedoms.
“So often it’s not until you’re hit over the head that you have to decide whether you’re going to stand or just cave in,” he says. “It’s the people who are most like Melissa Joan Hart’s character who make a difference—who stand and say, ‘This isn’t right,’ and call out discrimination against our religious freedoms. That’s ultimately what will save our nation.”
Originally published in the April 2016 issue of Citizen magazine.