Film: Teacher In Court Battle Over Bible Verse (Video)


The movie "God's Not Dead 2" is about a teacher, played by Melissa Joan Hart, whose world is turned upside down after she quotes a Bible verse during class (video below).

Hart is teaching an 11th grade history class when a student asks if Jesus Christ's teachings about loving your enemies is similar to the nonviolence lessons of Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi.

"Yes," says Hart, who goes on to quote Matthew 5:43 in the Bible: "You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

A student in the class sends a text to a parent, which results in Hart's character being dragged into court by the ACLU, the villain of the film. The court trial turns into a case to prove that Jesus Christ existed, which is not the type of case the ACLU takes on.

The organization has repeatedly opposed teachers or school employees who proselytize a specific religious faith or intentionally promote one faith over another.

The ACLU website states: "Students have the right to pray individually or in groups or to discuss their religious views with their peers so long as they are not disruptive." 

It notes, "Because the Establishment Clause does not apply to purely private speech, students enjoy the right to read their Bibles or other scriptures, say grace before meals, pray before tests, and discuss religion with other willing student listeners."

Erik Stanley, a lawyer with the Christian-based Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Christian Post:

"[God's Not Dead 2] certainly does illustrate a lot of the cases that we at ADF see in the real world every day. We've represented a number of different students, teachers, and other Christians who have found that their ability to simply live their faith and share their faith is under attack. I think the movie portrays what we've seen throughout the years that ADF has been in existence."

Stanley did not name any cases that are similar to the teacher's case in the movie, but added: "I think we're only going to see more of these [cases]. I believe that the next great battle for religious liberties are going to be fought in the courtrooms of this country for the next decade or so."

Stanley did mention some politically active pastors in Houston whom he represented. The pastors chose to engage themselves in a legal fight against the HERO ordinance, a LGBT equal rights law, and their sermons and messages were lawfully subpoenaed by the city:

"They found themselves in the crosshairs of an intimidation tactic by the city that was really meant to silence them.

"It sent a message of punishment that if you stand up and you speak your beliefs then we will intimidate and silence you.

"Now these pastors weren't intimidated and I think that's the other flip side of this. The teacher in the movie did stand up for her faith and we see that every day with our clients who stand for their faith."

Stanley added:

"I hope there are a couple of messages that people walk away with. Of course this is a movie and this is dramatized but there are actually real cases with real people and there are numbers of them where religious freedom is under attack, Secondly, when Christians find themselves in the crosshairs...when they do stand, they can and they do win. So there is an attack but when we stand together we can and do win."

Movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes notes that "God's Not Dead 2" has a low rating of 14 percent with reviews such as:

"The audience is encouraged to assume that the widespread persecution of all Christians is at hand. In Arkansas."

"It is aimed squarely at the heart of the Christian base, and for this group it will be manna from Heaven."

"From its lecture on the conservative canard that separation of church and state is a myth on down, God's Not Dead 2 is a movie for Ralph Reed's Moral Majority, with all the entangled political baggage that comes with it."

Sources: The Christian Post, Rotten Tomatoes, ACLU / Photo credit: Pure Flix Entertainment via YouTube

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