***My Reviews Are Below—-An Index on the Right Column Below———–>
***My Reviews Are Below—-An Index on the Right Column Below———–>
There are a number of different reactions to the recent release of the film “God’s Not Dead 2.” Religious liberty in America is front and center in the plot of the movie. Some atheists are complaining that the scenario presented in the film is farfetched while many Christians groups are noting how the script follows real life and reflects the current decline of freedom of Religion in the USA.
… The plot of “God’s Not Dead 2? centers on fictional character Grace Wesley, a Christian high school teacher who is quiet and subdued, yet finds herself in the middle of a boisterous battle over the separation of church and state after she discusses the historical nature of Jesus Christ. …
“When Brooke, a hurting student grieving the loss of her brother, reaches out to Grace, their coffee-shop conversation leads to Grace sharing the hope she finds in Christ,” reads an official synopsis. “However, when Brooke asks an honest question about Jesus in the classroom, Grace’s reasoned response lands her in big trouble — almost before she finishes giving her answer.”
For a response from a lawyer who has defended Christians in similar religious liberty cases see Townhall:
…Erik Stanley, a lawyer for Alliance Defending Freedom, argues it’s not as farfetched as you may think.
“I think that what happened in the movie illustrates what has happened in classrooms across the country already,” Stanley told Townhall. “Students and people of faith, teachers included, are silenced simply because of their religious beliefs.” …
The subplot in God’s Not Dead 2 is also one with which Stanley is all too familiar. A religious witch-hunt ensues after local officials subpoena pastors and demand to see their sermons. An almost similar scenario unfolded in Houston a couple of years ago, when the city, led by Mayor Annise Parker, demanded to see communications belonging to local pastors.
And here is another response well worth reading Mark Ellis of PJ Media: “Art Imitates Life in God’s Not Dead 2”
Response: I have not seen the movie yet so this is not a review. Nevertheless I can speak to the plot and whether it is farfetched or not. All three of the articles above list real cases where religious liberty was or is under assault in America. In addition, there are literally over a hundred different articles that we have written on the main page of this website documenting different challenges to freedom of religion in America over the last 5 years or so.
The point is, the plot of this movie is not farfetched at all. In fact the film will be successful and have a large support base within the conservative Christian community mainly because real people of faith are actually facing discrimination daily in this country. Nearly every Christian has faced some form or another of prejudice, hostility, or ill-treatment for their faith or at least knows someone who has.
I do not believe that what is happening in America rises to the level of persecution. But we are quickly going down a road where freedom of religion is in decline as the First Amendment is being re-interpreted and actually trumped in favor of competing civil rights. It is now common place for Christians, and particularly Christians business owners, to find themselves being discriminated against ironically in the name of anti-discrimination. *Top
When are Bible stories rejected by Christians? ABC executives are probably asking that question now since their TV ‘Bible’ series “of Kings and Prophets” was such a abject failure that the network has cancelled it after only two episodes and doesn’t even plan to air any of the remaining episodes that are completed.
When a TV series is extremely popular on TV it results in the production of many more similar projects to tap into the same large audience. Over 100 million Americans viewed “The Bible” mini series in 2013. Subsequently many TV executives started to come up with ideas for projects that used the Bible and tapped into the large Christian audience that made “The Bible” such a success.
Along the line, somebody came up with the idea to try make a series that loosely used Bible stories as the background and source for presenting extreme violence, and sexual content like HBO’s "Game of Thrones." The plan was to reflect elements from two different successful series and potentially create an even larger audience in the process.
Obviously no one at ABC/Disney bothered to bring aboard an actual Bible believing ‘Christian’ in the developmental stages of the project to get an idea of how it might play with the supposed target audience. Finally when Christians, like Parents Television Council, were allowed to preview the series it was too late to be redeemed and the Christian reviews nailed the coffin shut and the quintessential lady was already warming up for the finish before the first episode was even aired.
What is the lesson to be learned from this failure? ‘The Bible’ series was popular with a hundred million Christians or so because it took the Bible serious and reflected Biblical values. Even when it deviated slightly from the Biblical record it still respected the over all story and religious teaching of the book. The ABC series loosely used stories and characters from the Bible but reflected an entirely different morality and world view. Unfortunately, the lesson that most TV executives will probably take from this development will be to stay away from the Bible as a source for TV since it can engender such a passionate opposition and negative response. *Top
This is my second article this week about how TV programming is driving the American culture away from Biblical values. This example is far more serious. ABC’s The Real O’Neals goes beyond just making fun of Christianity along with people of faith and Catholicism in particular, but actually involves offensive over-the-top supposed ‘appearances’ of Jesus in the process. Here’s the story from Charisma News:
It is almost impossible to describe the depth of depravity found in the sitcom The Real O’Neals. It is impossible to list them all, so here are a few scene descriptions from the show:
- Jesus appears where only the gay son can see and talk to Him, and He is annoyed by the mom’s strict guidelines for her family.
- The daughter steals money she is supposedly raising for charity.
- The daughter "attempts to prove" that there is no God in a science fair project.
- A statue of Mary is kept above the O’Neal’s toilet to remind the boys to put the seat down.
- The first jab at Jesus comes only 52 seconds into the first episode.
- The mother encourages her 16-year-old gay son to "try sex" with a girl.
- Vulgar language
- The mom makes pancakes shaped like the face of Jesus to guilt trip her anorexic son into eating.
Response: For years, people of faith were subtly made fun of on TV shows but lately the drum beat has been far more direct and in many cases down right offensive. In this case the producer of the show, Dan Savage, is an open opponent of Christianity who has made a career out of encouraging hatred toward people of faith in the past and his current series reflects all of that and more.
For some of my more secular readers to more fully appreciate how offensive this show might be to Christians, change the ‘faith’ to Islam and have a segment where Muhammad appears to the gay son instead of Jesus and let Quranic teaching be made fun of instead of the Bible. It would be an unacceptable and outrageous example of Islamophobia in that case.
But it is open season on Christians and Christianity among many in the American intelligentsia today, especially in the media and in entertainment. When the show fails, the network will wonder why and probably never consider the possibility that a hundred or so million American Christians did not like the running anti-religious bias in the show and found it all rather offensive to their faith at the very least. *Top
(Broad City @Facebook)
We have been talking on this website for 10 years now about how the American culture and morality in general is in a sharp decline. Nothing demonstrates this like what is currently passing for entertainment and especially as comedy on television these days.
In a recent episode of Broad City, bestiality was comically passed on as no big deal. Here’s the story from Charisma News:
This leads us to Broad City going down a new avenue, bestiality. (What is up with the bestiality theme on TV this week?) In the episode, Ilana gets promoted to social media manager for her company. They are running a sale on colonics, so to promote the sale, she puts up a video of a guy having sex with a horse. Ilana argues that the video was not inappropriate because the horse was having sex with the man and not the man having sex with the horse.
Response: I can remember back in the 50’s when I was growing up that bedroom scenes were not even allowed on TV unless there were twin beds. That seems kind of laughable now since full nudity is common place on cable and partial exposure on regular network TV. Plus mature themes that most folks would have had a hard time even talking about a generation ago are the rule today and taken for granted.
If someone living in the 50’s was transported to the 21st century by a time machine they would be shocked and horrified about the graphic violence, sex, and immorality which is now common place and tolerated as entertainment on the boob tube. Also shocking would be the fact that TV was no longer a 10 inch black and white circle to be viewed but now a realistic 50 or more inches in living color taking up an entire wall in many home today.
Looking back, those of us who were born at the coming of TV following WWII and have seen it blossom into what it is today have been like the proverbial ‘frogs in the water’ and now it is boiling over with bestiality? Gone are the days when TV shows had real heroes that stood for what was right and reflected a Biblical standard of morality. Obviously times have changed and nobody knows it more than some of us who have lived through it all. *Top
God still answers prayers. To prove the point, Roman Downey is involved with hosting and producing a new TV series on TLC called ‘Answered Prayers.’ Here’s the story from the Christian Post:
Roma Downey’s riveting new six-part series "Answered Prayers," which features real-life stories of people in potentially life-threatening situations who experience divine intervention, says she’s "thankful" and "humbled" by fans’ support for the show.
"We are humbled by the support of so many national prayer leaders, and thankful for how this show is inspiring so many to pray again," said Downey about the series which has now moved to primetime at 8 p.m. ET Sundays on the TLC network.
As one of the show’s executive producers, Downey hosts each one-hour episode that incorporates actual footage and interviews paired with powerful reenactments.
Response: A few years ago, Roma and her husband were able to convince TV executives to air their Bible series and that was a real demonstration of answered prayer. The success of that series has now led to this new one on TLC that shows God still working miracles and saving people today. A great uplifting series for family viewing. *Top
Sometimes no matter how hard we try to keep our lives in order, the threads can start unraveling in an instant. That’s what happened to Oliver O’Toole the day his wife suddenly left him and ran off to Paris. His faith eventually glued the pieces of his heart back together. Hope anchored him. And now love will challenge him to do the right thing when she returns. . .Don’t miss the highly anticipated new movie from Martha Williamson SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED: FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, starring Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Kristin Booth (The Kennedys), Geoff Gustafson (The Interview) and Crystal Lowe (Smallville), with Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace).
Great family film now showing (Opens April 24, 2015).
Leonard Nimoy passed away this week and on Facebook I literally read dozens of references to his famous saying in the Star Trek series and movies:
“Live Long and Prosper”
View the video above where Leonard Nimoy talks origins of Spock’s famous greeting as having its origin in a Jewish Cohen blessing over a congregation. Then read what I have to say about the Biblical origins of this famous saying on my Apologetica page. *Top
Theatre Release: April 12, 2013 by Warner Bros; PG-13 (themes and language); Historical Drama; Directed By: Brian Helgeland; Cast: Chadwick Boseman, T.R. Knight, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie
42 is a movie that should be seen for many different reasons. First of all it is a very good movie (but not quite great) with a number of redeeming characteristics. It has a couple of real-life heroes, a love story, and a villain or two along with a great cause. It is the real life story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major league Baseball in 1947.
The story takes us back to a time in America right after WWII. Most think of that era as one of the greatest when the country was still essentially Christian and the culture reflected a basic Biblical morality. But there were major moral failings and flaws even in ‘the greatest generation’ and this movie exposes one big one- racism.
In one scene, Jackie and his wife are introduced to the separate bathroom facilities for ‘Whites’ only on a trip to Florida to join the team. There were no separate facilities for different races in California where they came from so it was a problem.
The scene takes me back personally to 1962 when I went to Alabama and spent the summer with my sister and brother-in-law. I came from California where I had attended integrated schools and thought nothing of it. On one occasion I almost drank from the ‘wrong’ water fountain but one scene still haunts me from that trip. One morning my sister and I were walking on the sidewalk down main street in that small town when an older black gentleman stepped clear off the sidewalk to let us pass. Then a couple of younger white ‘gentlemen’ sitting in front of a store yelled out to the man- “That’s right (n-word deleted) you don’t belong on the sidewalk anyway- you stay off now” –I was shocked and saddened and still am today every time I remember the sad look on the older gentleman’s face.
America still has a ways to go when it comes to racism but we have also come a long ways since 1947 and 1962. The movie drops us back into those times when change was just beginning and major league baseball was for ‘Whites only’ and it is a shock and that is one of the salient points of the movie.
Harrison Ford does such a fine job recreating the Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey that one forgets all about some of his former roles. Rickey was a Bible thumping Christian who in real life refused to attend his own home games on Sundays. In the movie some of the flavor of his faith comes out on a number of occasions where he is quoting the Bible and telling Robinson to ‘turn the other cheek’ like Jesus taught and to go though suffering ‘like our Lord.’
Chadwick Boseman does an excellent job portraying Jackie Robinson. The film shows him to be a man of great character that endured a lot and kept his anger in check for the cause. One thing the movie didn’t really show was the origin or basis of his strength which we know from other sources came from a deep abiding Christian faith. It was implied but not demonstrated to any degree.
It s also a love story that shows the Robinson’s getting married and it shows them coping together with a new life under a microscope. As much as Jackie had to have been a strong moral person to survive the changing times they were involved in, obviously Jackie’s wife Rachel (played by Nicole Beharie) was also and gave much needed support to her husband behind the scenes.
One other situation demonstrated the changes we have gone through in America and this one not so much for the better. There was a scene with Dodger manager Leo Durocher in bed with a blonde bombshell (Marilyn Monroe?) when Branch Rickey calls to see what he thinks about adding Robinson to the team for the next season. Rickey notes that the manager would need to control the responses of the team to the new player and they needed to be guided by the Biblical principle of doing good to ones neighbor. Durocher responds that he doesn’t know much about the Bible but if Jackie will help them win then he doesn’t care what color he is -even pink. Then Branch quips that adultery is also in the Bible as he finishes the call and the camera shows the blonde starlet climbing all over Durocher. A few days later Branch Rickey gets a phone call from the Commissioner of Baseball informing the General Manager that Durocher was going to be suspended and out of baseball for a year because of adultery and complaints from a Christian organization in America.
Can you imagine that happening in any professional sport today? I guess it was okay for Christian sensibilities and American culture at the time that black folks were treated different than whites and but they drew the line when it came to open adultery?
The movie follows Jackie through his first season in the minor leagues with Montreal and then on to the major leagues with the Dodgers. It shows the controversy among his own teammates at the time and the abuse he had to take on the field from other players and from the fans. Along the way, the tide changes and Jackie wins over most of his teammates and the people in the stands. So America was changed forever beginning when number 42 took the field. *Top