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Film / God's Not Dead 2

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The sequel to God's Not Dead, released on April 1, 2016.

When Grace Westley, a history teacher, is taken to court after mentioning Jesus during class, the school board becomes hellbent (no pun intended) on getting her fired and revoking her teaching certificate all for the ultimate goal of using the case to "prove once and for all that God is dead".

A third film, God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness was released on March 30, 2018.


The film includes:

  • Amoral Attorney: Peter Kane, the ACLU lawyer suing Grace. He's also a pretty crappy one, too.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Every teacher except Grace, who is a Cool Teacher. No bias here.
  • Artistic License – Education:
    • This film perpetuates the myth that kids are not allowed to pray in school. Kids are allowed to pray in school. It is illegal for a public school teacher to deny a student's religious rights in public school. What can't be done is a student demanding special treatment or interrupting the class for their beliefs, and a teacher cannot lead a prayer of any kind, or indoctrinate them.
    • They also state that it is illegal in all schools to pray, when there are private schools students can attend based on one's belief system outside the government for this very purpose. It's also only illegal for public school teachers to lead prayer - students are free to pray as they wish, so long as it doesn't disrupt school activities.
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  • Artistic License – History: During Lee Strobel's testimony, he claims that the way our calendar counts from the approximate birth time of Jesus as proof of his existence. However, as a Patheos reviewer pointed out, the anno domini (A.D.) way of counting years in the calendar wasn't invented until the 6th century by Dionysus Exiguus, a monk living in the Eastern Roman Empire, long after Christianity had been adopted as an official religion by the Roman and Byzantine empires. Historians believe Jesus was born between 4 BC (Herod's death) and 7 AD (Quirinius' census), based on the stories of his birth in the Gospels.note  This has been used as an argument against Jesus existing, since they can't agree on when he was born. Most historians do think he existed, but do not take any position about the divine nature Christians proclaim he had.
  • Ascended Extra: Martin from the first film goes from just appearing in some scenes in the first film to appearing more extensively in this one.
  • Author Tract: The film is basically one long "Christians are persecuted in America" sermon as well as stating how Christianity should be above the law.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: It's noted that all the Christians are beautiful and happy people, while the atheists are not. The Christians are depicted as young due to most of them being high school students (Grace's lawyer looks even younger than her) as while the atheists consist of the elderly Pete Kane, principal Kinney and the parents of Brooke and Martin, so they have a higher rate of being attractive by most people's lights simply due to youth.
    • Not to mention the angry, ugly protesters outside the courthouse, yelling at the stoic, pretty Christian girls.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The film portrays everyone who is a Christian as a good person and everyone who is not as anywhere from miserable to pure evil.
  • Buffy Speak: Grace's lawyer, who not even Grace thinks is too perspicacious, can't think of a synonym for the juvenile word "yucky", such as unpalatable, nauseated or uncomfortable.
  • The Cameo:
    • The Newsboys.
    • Gov. Mike Huckabee, the governor who backed the illegal action of Kim Davis denying a marriage certificate to a gay couple due to her Christian beliefs as well as defending the Christian extremist who shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic, makes a cameo in the film. He also praised the film, claiming it's a "wake up call for America".
    • Real life Christian apologists Lee Strobel and J. Warner Wallace appear during the trial to testify about the existence of Jesus.
  • Chewbacca Defense:
    • Grace's lawyer is trying to turn the case into proving God's existence to somehow get his client off, even though it has no relevance to what the trial is supposedly about.
    • The entire final defense for Grace's case was to essentially guilt trip the jury with the belief that if they lost the case that would start a snowball effect that will one day lead the government to kill anyone that was a Christian. Seriously, the case about a teacher breaking the separation of church and state will somehow lead to the genocide of Christians.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: The preacher who has made it clear that he supports the teacher is in the jury box during her trial and fully believes that Christianity is at war. In Real Life, people who are biased in favor of either side are required to reveal such biases and are stricken from the jury pool.
  • Cool Old Guy: Gramps.
  • Dirty Coward: The school system is portrayed as being completely terrified of atheists and the ACLU, and are throwing the teacher under the bus for it.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Peter Kane, thanks to Ray Wise's over-the-top performance.
  • False Dichotomy: Just like with the first film, you are either a Christian and are good and kind, or an atheist and are evil.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Just like the first film, this one is accused of having too many plots going on at once.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: From the trailer we see it focusing on the court case dealing with a teacher who dared to say anything to do with Christianity in a public school, then the last half of the trailer focuses on the lawyer trying to prove that "God's Not Dead". Even if he was to prove that God isn't dead, that has no effect on the teacher's case.
  • Hollywood Atheist:
    • Atheists are portrayed as just God-hating monsters who want to destroy Christianity For the Evulz. In this movie, they are an organization with the government backing them in their evil plot.
    • One of the first lines in the movie claims that "Atheists have no hope", and shows atheist parents getting rid of items that belonged to their now deceased son without any emotion to it, the film outright stating that atheists don't care about anything and just hate Christians.
    • Martin's father hits his son and disowns him for being a Christian. Seems like they couldn't use that same scenario with Muslims again as in the last film.
    • The film indirectly states that the end goal for atheism is to essentially lead an all-out genocide against Christians, and Grace being found guilty is the start of that goal.
  • Hollywood Law:
    • You cannot be sued for simply mentioning Jesus in a public school, especially if it's just responding to a student's question whether he taught nonviolence (public schools have comparative religion classes, you know). The case would have been dismissed, or a summary judgment entered for the teacher. Even if she were fired (which she could sue for) they couldn't take away her teaching certificate.
    • Assuming the case somehow went to court, Jesus' existence would be legally irrelevant. Meaning that even if they were accepted as experts on the historicity of Jesus (see below), there would be no basis for calling J. Warner Wallace or Lee Strobel to testify.
    • Students are allowed to pray in public schools. The law just prevents a government worker (aka a teacher) from leading it.
    • Practically everything that had to do with the court scenes. Examples are:
      • No experts brought forth on the other side of the case. Both J. Warner Wallace and Lee Strobel, not being historians, could have been challenged by the plaintiffs.
      • The lawyer's grandstanding has him state that if Christianity has to be held to the same standards as all other rights then it isn't a right at all. As a lawyer, how does he not know of the 1st Amendment?
    • The case is brought to trial much faster than it would be in real life (cases like this can take years to resolve) and there's no attempt at out-of-court settlement (which is how most end).
    • Rather than having Grace be sued for mentioning Jesus, she could sue them if fired over it. The ACLU would be far more likely to help someone dismissed from their job on religious grounds than to side with the school board. Additionally, in real life her union would not simply let her be fired, but file a grievance and dispute her dismissal by the school.
    • As a practical matter, it's especially unlikely to have this happen in Alabama, a very conservative state. In fact, the opposite would be much more likely.
    • In real life, this would more likely be a case of: 'This teacher employed by a secular, public school met with an underage child outside of class and religiously preached to said underage child without the parent(s)/guardian(s) knowledge and consent,' rather than: 'A teacher made a brief mention of a religious figure while answering a student's question in class.' And in real life, there are plenty of nice, rational Christians and non-Christians alike who would say, 'Yeah, parents should have a certain amount of control over what values and information their underage kid is exposed to, and employees of secular institutions who are entrusted to care for underage kids should be expected to respect this. This said, is there anyway we can settle this without putting everyone through a court case and a young woman potentially losing her job and suffering damage to her reputation?' If this had happened with genuinely concerned parents rather the caricatures the film presented and provided Grace was willing to admit she'd non-maliciously committed a breach of impropriety but stress she hadn't actually harmed the student in anyway or put her in a dangerous situation, the whole thing likely would have been resolved by one or two meetings between Grace, the parents, and possibly an agreed upon third party. At most, the kid would be switched to a different class and Grace might have a note made in her file. While it's possible she might refuse, at which point they might fire her and she'd sue them, there are no legal grounds on which to base her case. That would also be far less sympathetic to most.
    • It's said the plaintiffs don't want to sue the school, but only the teacher. However, all such cases rest on the fact that the school is a government institution. Teachers cannot be sued alone for violations of the Constitution. Further, this appears to be handled in state court, but it's a federal constitutional issue and thus would be in federal court. Also there is no jury when suing the government. There is reference to pleas and convictions, which do not apply in such cases as they aren't criminal.
    • Cases like this are concerned with seeking to overturn unconstitutional policies by government institutions. Since the school didn't support Grace and had fired her already for what allegedly was done, there is nothing to sue for.
    • Almost nothing in the case on either side is germane to the actual issue. It's immediately sidetracked to an argument on whether Jesus is a historical figurenote  and never gets back; in the end it's not entirely clear what the jury is supposed to be voting on.
    • Brooke, a minor, is called to the stand immediately after she bursts into the courtroom and loudly declares that Grace is innocent. In real life, her outburst would likely result in a mistrial. Even if it didn't, she almost certainly wouldn't be allowed to testify, since witnesses have to be declared before the start of trial. Surprise witnesses are not allowed except in very specific circumstances that don't apply here.
    • Tom's biggest question for Principal Kinney is why "Rev." isn't included in the full name of "Dr. Martin Luther King High School." At no point does anyone object to the notion that the current principal is somehow responsible for the name of the frickin' school.
    • Grace is given a public defender...for a civil law case. Public defenders are provided for people in criminal cases who do not otherwise have an attorney.
  • I Have No Son!: Martin's father (Mr. Yip) after Martin openly converts to Christianity, and then asks his father to convert as well. Given that the Chinese are predominantly atheist, Martin's request for his dad to do that earns him a slap in the face and disownment.
  • Karma Houdini: As with the first film, they overlook someone getting a comeuppance for their actions. In this case, the teenager who texted about Grace talking about God in class. Not helping is that he disappears shortly after that initial scene, seemingly existing only to kickstart the plot and nothing more.
  • Living MacGuffin: Grace. So far in all of the trailers we see all these people standing up for her beliefs and what she did but she herself seems to contribute nothing after the fact. At this point it appears if they just replaced her with a risky piece of art the plot wouldn't change. This is unlike Josh in the first film who was always right in front of the action to defend Christianity from Professor Radisson.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The teacher's name is Grace Wesley and another girl is named Joy. Subtle it is not. On a slightly less brick-to-the-head-obvious degree, her surname may be a reference to the Methodist theologian and cleric John Wesley.
    • The Hollywood Atheist Amoral Attorney is "Peter Kane". Subtle as a boot to the head.
  • Men Act, Women Are: So far Grace only seems to sit quietly by herself as a bunch of men defend her. With her lawyer it's justified as that's his job, while with the rest, not so much. Her only real accomplishment throughout the film is suggesting the idea to make a case of Jesus being a historical figure.
  • Mythology Gag: Ray Wise's role as the passionately Anti-Christian Pete Kane is especially amusing to fans of Reaper, Ray Wise having played the Affably Evil Satan in every episode of that show.
  • Name of Cain: Peter Kane, the ACLU's lawyer.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: Grace's 82-year old grandfather who suffers from high cholesterol and is visibly overweight demands bacon and eggs for breakfast, complaining that he doesn't like the oatmeal Grace feeds him and that bacon isn't detrimental to his health.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Unlike the last movie, where this trope played only a minor role, here it's the motive behind the school board and the board of education pushing heavy charges against Grace. Turns out some powerful body in the Federal Government wants the modern idea that science explains everything and so God must not really exist to be the only acceptable philosophy. That way silly things like "Faith" can't stop them from...well, we never actually get what they want to accomplish once belief in God is out of the way. Take Over the World or something?
  • Poe's Law: Allegedly this is meant to be serious, but it really comes off as mocking the themes it's supposed to promote. You really have to wonder if the (Catholic) writers did it on purpose. Not helping matters is the film's release date of April 1st.
  • Product Placement: The real life apologists brought in for Grace blatantly advertise who they are and the books they have written.
  • Properly Paranoid: The school principal discourages religious discourse to avoid getting the school entangled in court battles.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Peter Kane's default expression throughout the movie.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The principal seems more concerned with order than matters of rectitude.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: There is no subtlety that Pure Flix really likes The Newsboys. This is to the point that crowds in the trailer are chanting lines from their song "God's Not Dead (He Is Surely Alive)" in the street.
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • The film seems to be trying to use the controversy where some teachers have led their students in prayer in public schools and were fired for it, as if to prove how all that is happening in this film is true. What this film misses is that unlike the teacher in this film she was not leading a prayer, she was just answering a question that a student brought up.
    • Reverend Dave being requested to turn over his sermons was a situation in Texas where the government wanted to make sure that certain ministers were not trying to get people voting against an equal rights ordinance protecting transgender people, as that would violate separation of Church and State. Also unlike the film the government realized this looked pretty bad on their end and got rid of the request days later rather than arrest the Reverend for not complying.
  • Ruptured Appendix: Reverend Dave contracts appendicitis partway through the film.
  • Science Is Wrong: Walter Wesley, Grace's grandfather, seems to hold this view. He dismisses triglyceride level and cholesterol tests as insignificant and wants to keep eating unhealthy foods such as bacon and popcorn (asking Grace to Pass the Popcorn at one point) despite his ailing health, but he promotes religion and prayer all day long.
  • Sequel Escalation: In the first film it focuses on an Evil Atheist Professor forcing his students to deny Christianity solely to stroke his own massive ego. In this film atheists are a large Nebulous Evil Organisation dedicated to making everyone in the US deny Christianity or be persecuted for refusing.
  • Serious Business:
    • The film treats it as if a teacher so much as mentioning anything to do with Christianity in the classroom will get her sued and her teaching certificate taken.
    • Just like the first film that seemed to claim a college debate class would prove to the world that God exists, it seems here that the claim is a court case against a teacher illegally fired will prove the same to the world.
  • Skewed Priorities: The film portrays the atheist parents as more upset that their son was reading the Bible than about the fact that he's dead.
    • Grace's grandfather Walter for stating that prayer should always be the first thing done in any situation.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Portraying anyone as God-hating, intolerable "atheists" as "slobs", while portraying all Christians as overly-religious, proselytizing "snobs" is a pretty big understatement.
  • Step Three: Profit: The lawyer claims that Grace losing would lead to an atheist-led government that will lead a genocide of anyone who is Christian.
  • The Stinger: Pastor Dave is arrested by the police for failure to comply with a subpoena and turn over his sermon notes.
  • Strictly Formula: Following from the first movie: Christian gets attacked for their belief, trial/debate ensues, atheists are utterly defeated by the righteous Christians.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: The defense attorney getting himself held in contempt of court.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • Averted. Unlike the first film that tried to make itself look like a serious debate, this one just flat out says that atheists are trying to destroy Christianity and prove that "God is dead".
    • The trailer presents Grace as much more preachy with her quote of Jesus, making the case against her slightly more justifiable, whereas in the film she skims quickly through the quote and also adds additional quotes from Gandhi and MLK JR. about nonviolence. In that context it was completely justifiable to use the quote the way she did. Yet it is clear that the film wanted to spread the message that, in real life, for anyone to mention Jesus in a public school for any reason is just short of a capital crime.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The blogger from the first film, despite having terminal cancer, is still completely healthy. It is quickly explained that suddenly the cancer is in remission without any signs that she has gone through any chemo. It is heavily implied that her becoming a Christian is what cured her cancer. Does one even need to mention that this does not happen in real life?
  • Unreliable Narrator: Just like the first film they claim no one wants her to go through with this while at the same time showing everyone giving her unwavering support. In fact one of the main quotes used for this film is "I would rather stand with God and face the world, than to stand with the world and face God" just to emphasize how "alone" she is in this.
  • The War on Straw:
    • The film is unable to get an accurate portrayal of either atheists or the ACLU, making them out to be nothing more than evil god-hating monsters so Christians can look good and righteous by default. The real ACLU has defended many Christians in court, and atheists are a much more diverse group than this (some of them also defend religious people, or their rights at least).
    • This is added to by the protesters-on Grace's side they are all peaceful whereas on the ACLU side they are portrayed as outright vicious.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: This is essentially a Christian propaganda version of Miracle on 34th Street.
  • Witch Hunt: The people prosecuting Grace are pretty much just looking for someone to attack, rather than trying to right some great wrong.
  • You Are Not Alone: The film shows how at first the Christian is completely alone in her fight against Evil Atheists only for many people to come to support her.