Monday, July 18, 2016
"God's Not Dead 2" Billboard Nixed At GOP Convention
A large paid advertisement billboard promoting the "God's Not Dead 2", film will not be displayed at the Republican Convention as it begins today in Cleveland.
However, attendees will be greeted by a giant billboard with President Ronald Reagan's image saying, "We establish no religion in this country...Church and state are, and must remain, separate."
That billboard sign was purchased by the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation.
Atheist messages are OK with the RNC and messages involving God are not?
What's going on?
Billboard Magazine, one of the 2 most influential trade journals in the entertainment business, says while the GOP attendees will see the big anti-religion sign quoting Reagan, they will not see what would have been a 32' X 60' sign promoting the "God's Not Dead 2" film that is soon to released---August 16, on DVD.
The sign featured a picture of Melissa Joan Hart, who plays a teacher in the film in trouble for quoting a Scripture in the classroom, responding to a student's specific question about something Jesus had said.
Beside the image of Hart---the teacher, are these words: "I'd rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God."
What's wrong with that at a Republican Party convention---a political party that millions of Christians call their party?
The people hired to put on the convention, according to The Hollywood Reporter, told the distributor of the film the billboard ad is "scandalous," saying the phrase "judged by God" is "incendiary" and "way too political."
GOP leader, former presidential candidate, former governor, and one of the speakers at the convention Mike Huckabee is in the film for goodness sakes.
Vice presidential candidate Mike Pence is known for his outspoken Christian beliefs.
In fact, in his comments Saturday following Trump officially naming him as the VP candidate, Pence said he is "first a Christian, secondly a conservative and third a Republican," emphasizing the importance of his personal relationship with Christ and the importance of his Christian faith in his personal life.
Orange Barrel, the media company selling ads at the convention, informed the Christian film distributor, Pure Flix, that it did not like the "judged by God" message after Pure Flix had already agreed to pay $64,100 for the billboard ad.
Pure Flix has a positive relationship with the RNC---in fact, they are leading a worship service at the convention prior to the official nomination of the presidential candidate.
Pure Flix was certain the RNC would have no problem with the film or the ad being displayed.
The very same ad has been used on CNN and other media outlets, with no one, other than activist atheists, raising any concerns.
Despite Pure Flix's positive Republican associations, Orange Barrel went on to warn that the city of Cleveland might have a problem with the message of the film itself.
The CEO of Pure Flix, Steve Fedyski, concedes that the city did express concerns about the size of the billboard sign, but had no problem with the message. The size of the sign obviously could have been altered.
Feyski says the situation has been very perplexing, "They dragged us along for weeks. Now right up against the convention date, they say they won't approve the ad, but gave us no logical rationale."
He notes the irony that his ad was accepted by Leftist media outlets, but rejected in the venue of this year's convention for America's conservative party.
He says, "My speculation is that someone, somewhere, didn't want our message out."
It is very perplexing, but not terribly hard to understand.
The Hollywood Reporter says, "Since the deadline has passed for a 'God's Not Dead 2' sign to appear at the Republican convention, it seemingly allows the Freedom From Religion Foundation's pro-atheism message, which appears on the Clear Channel billboard, to go unchallenged."
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the atheist foundation, says her group has secured more signs around the convention site as well.
Some of them read, "I'm An Atheist & I Vote."
Together Laurie Anne Gaylor and her husband Dan Barker founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has now become the largest atheist advocacy organization in the country.
While Gaylor is a long time atheist, her husband, Dan Barker, is a former evangelical pastor, accomplished musician, and Christian songwriter.
His story, which has been published, is that he, over time, "lost his faith in God" and became an atheist---while he was serving as an evangelical pastor.
While I did not know him personally, our paths crossed a number of times in the 1970s. While I was a pastor at the church in North Hollywood, he served several evangelical churches in Los Angeles.
Both of us were involved in several of the city-wide Christian music events held at the old Forum in LA.
It's disappointing that the film billboard will apparently not be displayed at the Republican Convention---although things could change when good Christian Republicans find out about this episode.
It's much more disappointing to see a man with such talent be deceived by an atheist woman and a rebellious former angel---Satan, as he walks about seeking whom he may devour.
And presenting himself as an "angel of light."
I certainly hope the RNC has not been deceived to believe the message of "God's Not Dead 2" is anything other than what the Republican Party claims to believe in their Platform.
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.