Last weekend, Saturday Night Live aired a movie teaser that was a parody of the Pure Flix film, God’s Not Dead 2. In the parody, a religious baker is forced to go to court to defend God’s honor after she refuses to bake a cake for a gay couple.
As you might imagine, the response has been across the board. On the pro-SNL trailer side you have people saying this:
Cineblend called the parody “hilarious” and said that it was “one of their best pieces in the past couple of years.”
Buzzfeed said that the parody was “brilliant” and “spot on.”
Vulture said the parody was “inspiring”, although there may have been some tongue in the cheek of that one.
Others have been just as clear regarding their less positive feelings about the parody:
The Blaze said it was “sacrilegious.”
CharismaNews said it was “blasphemous.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, actor Pat Boone called the parody “anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, cowardly, “diabolical” and even demonic.”
And when Pure Flix founder (and most-active-actor) David A.R. White linked to a story about the trailer on his Facebook page, fans of the God’s Not Dead movies were quick to rush to the film’s defense, saying things like:
“This movie must have really rattled the enemy’s cage.”
“Evil will never let a good thing go unchallenged, and your movies are very good things. That SNL would mock you means you have arrived, Mr White. Your success is huge so go make more good movies!”
“If SNL did a skit about Allah, there would be a bloody war. Why is it ok to bash Christianity but no other faith?”
“The simple fact is that if they are mocking it, they are afraid of it. Despite the blasphemy and ignorant childishness of the liberals at SNL, this is a victory for Christians.”
“This is disgusting. But it qualifies as persecution, doesn’t it. If they hated us, they hated Him first, but I hate to see God almighty mocked this way. But it’s like what was said in the first movie. “How can you hate someone that you say doesn’t exist?””
And the kicker…
“Hell will be full of SNL individuals.”
Here’s the rub…
SNL was not mocking God.
I know, I know… the name of the parody is “God is a Boob Man”, which on the face of it, seems to be making fun of God and mocking those who believe in God, regardless of their faith (after all, “Allah” is the Islamic word for “God”).
But SNL wasn’t aiming at God with this parody, they were just using the idea of God to push the message of their parody video.
Using God to push an agenda or to earn a profit is something that people of all religious persuasions have done for years, including Christians.
So it’s not that.
SNL wasn’t mocking Christianity.
Yes, there’s a line where the baker says, “Christians are the most oppressed group in this country.” But it’s not an unearned jab. A cursory examination of the comment section of any story about Christian persecution in America demonstrates that there really are Christians in America who feel that we are oppressed. Otherwise, there’s not another mention of the Christian faith anywhere in the trailer.
If SNL intended to mock the historical Christian faith, they could have done a lot more to “Christianize” the character. The baker’s not even wearing a cross necklace, for heaven’s sake!
So, if they weren’t mocking God or Christianity, who or what were they mocking with this parody video?
SNL was mocking the God’s Not Dead movies.
I think this is pretty obvious. The God’s Not Dead movies are infamous for the way they negatively portray people who are not Christians. With their villainous Atheist professors, their non-believing heartless businessmen boyfriends, their violent Muslim and Chinese fathers, their Satanic ACLU lawyers, their spineless separation of church and state school boards, they’ve done a pretty good job calling everyone else awful, and Christians the only good in the world.
Basically, they’ve been asking to be parodied for quite a while now. I’m just surprised it took so long before it happened on the big stage.
So we Christians can calm down on all the calls of blasphemy, sacrilege, and anti-Christianity. Parodying and mocking the films of Pure Flix is not the same as parodying and mocking God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Church.
[And if I might add, Pure Flix is acting in a dangerous and irresponsible manner by permitting and even encouraging the conversation to imply that they are the same thing. Pure Flix should be the ones stepping out and saying what I’m saying, but I don’t see that happening. It’s almost like they are happy for the controversy. It’s almost like they are fully aware that it emboldens their fans, and they know that SNL just gave them a big gift…]
But I’m getting off topic.
Let me just to say it one more time… THE FILMS OF PURE FLIX ARE NOT THE CHURCH. They are bits of entertainment in pop culture, just like superhero movies and sports flicks, and they are wide open to parody and ridicule as much as anyone or anything else.
That’s just a part of the game.
But having said all of that, Pure Flix was not the only target of SNL’s ire, and maybe not even the primary target. Or, maybe they were, but SNL just so happened to hit a more important target in the process of parodying God’s Not Dead.
SNL was mocking FAITH-BASED FEAR.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
I’m talking about the fear that Christians are losing something because of the color of a coffee cup at Christmas.
I’m talking about the fear that Obama is a secret Muslim who wants to forcibly convert you to Islam.
I’m talking about the fear that same-sex marriage will turn Christians gay.
I’m talking about the fear that baking a cake for a gay wedding will somehow cause more harm than refusing to do so and going to court over the issue.
I’m talking about the fear that dark forces are plotting how to take our children and indoctrinate them into rampant social liberalism.
I’m talking about the fear that our neighbors are dangerous because they wear the head covering of a certain religion, or because they have different colored skin then we have, or because they come from a part of the world that makes us nervous.
I’m talking about the fear that public schools might teach our children about other religions.
I’m talking about the fear that took a low level state bureaucrat in Kentucky and made her into a folk hero for not doing her job.
I’m talking about the fear that encourages Christianity-themed movies that demonize just about everyone who isn’t a Christian for the sake of helping us feel better about ourselves as Christians.
I’m talking about the fear that we will soon be rounding up teachers and putting them on trial for mentioning the name of Jesus in a public school history class.
I’m talking about the fear that our faith isn’t as influential as it once was, that our voice isn’t as loud as it once was, and that our opinion doesn’t matter like it used to.
And this is the most offensive thing about the parody trailer, that it shows us who we really are, and what we’re truly afraid of. It shows us that we are not being salt and light as much as we are being pains in the butt. It shows us that we are being ruled by our fear in the eyes of the culture.
See, fear is a very powerful thing, but it’s not real. It’s based on what we think could happen, whether those fears are founded or not. And it’s not supposed to be a part of who we are as the Church, and it’s not supposed to be a part of who we are as individuals who claim Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
And yet in America we are letting fear set the agenda for just about everything we do on the public stage.
Christians, that’s just not right.
So, instead of getting upset and up in arms over the SNL parody video, we need to take it for what it is – a parody lampooning Pure Flix films, and a parody lampooning our un-Christlike fears, and a mirror reflecting who we can often seem to be as Christians to the rest of the world.
We should take it, learn from it, and let it encourage us to be the kind of Jesus follower that God wants us to be.
And in the spirit of God’s Not Dead flooding their end credits with court cases that have little to do with the cases presented in their films, I leave you with a list of Bible verses that have everything to do with how a Christian should handle fear.
1 Chronicles 28:20
1 Corinthians 16:13
1 Peter 3:13-14
1 John 4:18
2 Timothy 1:7