In a recent post, I examined the cases that were listed at the end of God’s Not Dead 2 to see how well they applied to the fictional case presented in the film. My conclusion was that they did not. Click here to read that post, if you are interested.
In response to my post, a blog guest named Gail commented:
As to the teaser at the end of the movie–did you know that ministers in Houston, TX fought against the ruling that they were supposed to bring their sermons into City Hall to make sure they were not preaching against homosexuality–there is legal precedent to stand on here after all.
To clarify what Gail means, God’s Not Dead 2 ended with an ominous post-credits scene, in which we see Pastor Dave (David A.R. White) being taken away by police because he had been subpoenaed by the government to turn in his sermons.
This scene was included as an obvious Marvel-esque teaser to what would be coming next in the God’s Not Dead Cinematic Universe (GNDCU).
I was familiar with that case in Houston, and I remember being outraged when it happened. After all, you imagine some cold war communist government demanding sermons from churches, but not America. However, I hadn’t really done much reading about it in quite a while. So, inspired by Gail’s comment, I went and did some digging.
My digging produced three interesting things about that situation as it relates to the God’s Not Dead movies, and in particular – to the teased situation for God’s Not Dead 3.
First, in that situation in Houston, the subpoenas were issued as a part of the discovery process because some Christians had filed a lawsuit against the city of Houston. They’d filed the suit to try and halt some legislation with which they disagreed. The pastors, while not a part of the lawsuit, were intimately involved in the issue at the core of the lawsuit. You can read about that here.
Second, when overwhelming support came down for the pastors from the right and the left, the mayor bowed to the pressure and withdrew the subpoenas. The subpoenas had stepped over important boundaries, and the mayor admitted it.
Then the pastors sued the mayor for subpoenaing them in the first place, but the suit that was ultimately dismissed by a federal district judge.
Third, and this one is the kicker: many liberal groups – including the ACLU – came down on the side of the pastors. In fact, during the heat of this, the ACLU issued a statement in support of the pastors which said, among things:
“The government should never engage in fishing expeditions into the inner workings of a church, and any request for information must be carefully tailored to seek only what is relevant to the dispute.”
Do you think God’s Not Dead 3 will be based on any of that reality?
Will they change the story to show that Pastor Dave’s sermons were subpoenaed because Christians had sued the government, and not because someone was suing Christians?
Will they truly rip the story from the headlines and have the charges dropped when everyone realizes that subpoenaing a pastor for his sermons is a massive overstepping of civil liberties and legal boundaries?
And the big $60,000,000 question – will the same filmmakers who made the ACLU the black-hearted villains of GND2 have the courage to have the ACLU supporting the civil rights of Pastor Dave in GND3 – as they do in real life?
Only time will tell, I suppose. But to be honest, I’m not hopeful.