As an upcoming movie starring actress and director Melissa Joan Hart as a Christian teacher who is forced before a judge for answering a question about Jesus in the classroom, "God's Not Dead 2: He's Surely Alive" tackles several ethical and freedom of religion dilemmas facing society today. In the movie, the principal and superintendent join forces with a zealous civil liberties group, and the teacher faces an epic court case that could cost her a career she loves and expel God from the classroom.
"I gave an honest answer to a student's legitimate question. I'm not going to be afraid, to say the name Jesus," states Melissa Joan Hart's teacher character in the new movie due to be released next month near observations of Easter. "I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God."
After coming out of nowhere in 2014 to gross $62.6 million on a budget of only about $2million, the faith-based film "God's Not Dead" was considered highly successful and popular. This is the second film's second trailer ahead of its April 1 release date.
Several of the movie's fans on Facebook refer to "loving the ministry of God's Not Dead." They like that the religious characters in the movie series don't back down to public pressure.
Hart, a native of New York, recently told Christian Post she hasn't always been vocal about her faith, but that is changing. "As far as my faith, I think it's important to share that those are my values and I'm going to use them to guide me through life and I'm not going to steer away from it, it's part of who I am."
Hart said she felt called to be a part of this faith-based film, saying: "[I'm] really excited about it and prayed a lot over it. I felt like this was a great story to tell, important story to tell and I felt like it was my mission to be a part of it."
The sequel also stars Ernie Hudson, Jesse Metcalfe, Pure Flix Entertainment CEO David A.R. White, Hayley Orrantia, Sadie Robertson, Robin Givens, Maria Canals-Barrera, Ray Wise and the late Fred Thompson in one of his final film appearances, reports Deadline Hollywood. Pat Boone also has a cameo.
The film was directed by Harold Cronk, who also helmed the first movie. Cronk's own personal faith expedition with the first movie was an interesting one. "God's Not Dead" had a national opening in 777 theaters, and sparked what Cronk called a full-scale battle on Facebook about God, reports Ludington Daily News.
"My walk of faith started late in high school and continued through college," Cronk said. "It's been a journey. As long as you are willing to acknowledge that God is in charge of your life and you're not, that you are willing to follow Him, that's kind of where I am right now."
"It's a struggle every day," he said. "Thank God for God's grace or we would be in trouble every day. God is good," he reasoned.
The story line of the first movie was about a bright young college student who risks flunking a course because his religious beliefs are at odds with his atheist professor. Cronk said the story-line was based in reality.
Actor Kevin Sorbo played the college philosophy professor who is an atheist. Sorbo said he was raised in a Christian home and personally accepted Jesus into his life when he was 13 years old at a Billy Graham crusade. "I find it very strange that so many atheists could spend so much time and hatred towards people that want to believe in God and believe in Jesus. It's weird to me," he told CBN News.