God’s Not Dead 2 has come out in the top five over the weekend, along with Miracles From Heaven. According to Box Office Mojo, in its opening weekend God’s Not Dead 2 earned $8 million on a budget of $5 million, putting it in the fourth spot. While persecution in America is on the rise, Christians are unwilling to back down from their faith – as we found out during our recent Sadie Robertson interview.
God’s Not Dead 2 deals with the timely issues of freedom of speech and religious liberty in public schools. A grieving student, Brooke Thawley (Hayley Orrantia), begins reading her late brother’s Bible. In a history class that is studying non-violent protest, Brooke asks her teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart) about the commonalities among the teachings of Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King.
When Grace explains how what Jesus Christ taught was an inspiration for King’s nonviolent activism, Grace’s principal (Robin Givens) is informed. School district officials demand Grace apologize for violating the “separation of church and state.” Ultimately, this conflict ends up in court. This movie, which is extremely relevant today, is based on many real-life court cases. Sadie Robertson, as Brooke’s friend Marlene, gives a heart-felt performance.
Having been born in 1997, she is a reality personality on A&E’s Duck Dynasty. Her grandfather is Phil Robertson, who is founder of the Duck Commander company and brand. Sadie is known as a young Christian leader and role model. Having already launched her own YouTube channel and line of dresses, she is currently a graduating senior in Monroe, Louisiana. Sadie has placed second in season 19 of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), and was very open about her Christian faith on air.
On Good Morning America she has stated, “The thing is, it’s like God is my rock. I’m not saying that you have to live that way. I want to share my message because if it can help somebody it’s worth it. That’s just who I am. That’s just what I believe.”
In a recent interview with Sonoma Christian Home Sadie reveals the source of courage in her life. SCH Editor at Large Dr. Diane Howard reports.
SCH: You seem courageous. Where does your courage come from?
SR: Courage in my life comes from my relationship with God because I have had a lot of anxiety and have had to “work hard against fears.” In my own weakness, God has given me His strength.
SCH: You have been cast in movies dealing with the marginalization, persecution of Christians in public schools. Why do you think this is so?
SR: The Lord has prepared me for these roles. In my many travels that have included mission trips, I have seen real world problems and have been trained to address them. We need to train for our trials. We need to have an umbrella before the storm comes. We need to be prepared.
SCH: Your family has been in the midst of marginalization of
Christians in the media. How has this prepared you for what you are doing now?
SR: My family has helped to prepare me for the current issues addressed in the movies I am in, God’s Not Dead 2 and I’m Not Ashamed. They have taught me that marginalization and persecution are not surprising. They have has also taught me that “God is good and in Him is contentment.”
SCH: You seem beautifully equipped with your sweet spirit and gracious smile to handle these issues graciously, as do your parents. Tell me about how you deal with these challenges.
SR: My family has taught me that others will know we are Christians by our love. In I John 4 it talks about the importance of loving one another. It is significant because the way people see God and feel God’s love is through us.
SCH: Tell me about your character, Marlene, in God’s Not Dead 2.
SR: Marlene shows God’s love to Brooke, who has hit rock bottom in her life.
SCH: What is the role of your character in the story?
SR: Brooke’s best friend, Marlene, backs her up. I love this character because it is a role we all can play.
SCH: Why do you think this movie is doing so well?
SR: God’s Not Dead 2 is drawing audiences and doing well because it is real, genuine, and authentic.
SCH: Why do you think this movie is significant?
SR: It deals with real-life, current issues. It hits a nerve and takes us to another level. It is challenging, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
SCH: What are your hopes for the impact of this movie?
SR: I hope this movie will encourage people to stand firm on what is true, to not waiver, to be persistent, like Grace is in the movie.
SCH: What do you think our Lord is doing through media and movies?
SR: He is using those in movies and media to bring Light into the Darkness. We as Christians should not be afraid of the darkness but should take the Light there.
Townhall.com reports that the storyline for God’s Not Dead 2 shows a disconnect between American values and a real, current problem today. Townhall quotes Erik Stanley, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, who states, “I think that what happened in the movie illustrates what has happened in classrooms across the country already…Students and people of faith, teachers included, are silenced simply because of their religious beliefs.” This movie reveals the many real court cases on which the film is based in the credits.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (The Bible)
Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D., dianehoward.com