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'God's Not Dead 2' Star Melissa Joan Hart: Christianity Deserves Just as Much Tolerance as Other Religions

( [email protected] ) Apr 11, 2016 11:42 AM EDT
"God's Not Dead 2" star Melissa Joan Hart recently opened up about the challenges she faced playing a Christian woman who stands up for her faith, and argued that Christians are as deserving of tolerance as people from other religions.
Actress Melissa Joan Hart poses as she arrives at the 2014 People's Choice Awards in Los Angeles, California January 8, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

"God's Not Dead 2" star Melissa Joan Hart recently opened up about the challenges she faced playing a Christian woman who stands up for her faith, and argued that Christians are as deserving of tolerance as people from other religions.

In "God's Not Dead 2" -- the sequel to the popular 2014 film -- Hart , 39, plays Grace Wesley, a high school teacher who finds herself in legal trouble for answering a student's question about the similarities between Jesus' teachings to those of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.

As the religious freedom battle between Hart and the school escalates, the help of the ACLU is enlisted, whose representative decides to "prove that once and for all, God is dead."

Speaking to ABC's Paula Faris on Thursday's Good Morning America segment, the former "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch" star described the role as "challenging."

"In this case, she's an introvert... a woman who stands by her faith," Hart said of her character. "She wasn't raised with a faith ,and so she comes to her own beliefs, and grows her own faith, and then she has to stand by that conviction and [be] kind of unwavering."

Faris asked: "This is all about separation of church and state. In this particular movie the teacher is being persecuted because of her faith because of a question she was asked in class. Why do you think it's an important conversation to have right now in 2016?"

"There shouldn't be any one religion represented in anything. But at the same time, we need to be tolerant of all religions," Hart answered.

"If a Christian's right is subordinate to all other rights, then it's not a right at all," she added. "And so, you know, I think it's really about tolerance across the board for everyone."

"Do you ever feel like you can't win?" Faris asked. "Because I know in a recent interview, you said now you're getting grief from playing the good Christian woman."

Hart responded, "Well, before, I was getting grief before for being a witch by the Christian community. I was being persecuted for believing in witchcraft. But it was really about magic and it was silly and family friendly. But, yeah, now it's from the other way."

Kevin Sorbo, who starred in the first "God's Not Dead," recently echoed Hart's sentiment regarding Christians in Hollywood during a recent interview with The Gospel Herald.

"My faith certainly hurt me in Hollywood," he said. "I did Hercules for 7 years, it was the most watched show for a good number of years. But then, for me to get called into read for anything - it just dropped drastically when I came out of that conservative Christian closet so to speak...Talk about calling people racist - I'm in an industry that screams for tolerance, but they have no tolerance whatsoever. They'll fight for their freedom of speech, but only if it's for what they say, only if it's their point of view. These people don't want to debate, they want to shut you down."

Like the 2014 film, "God's Not Dead 2" is produced by PureFlix film and was also directed by Harold Cronk and scripted by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon. 

In addition to Hart, the film, which hit theaters last week, also stars Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas), PureFlix CEO David A.R. White (God's Not Dead), Hayley Orrantia (The Goldbergs), Sadie Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Robin Givens (Head of The Class), Maria Canals-Barrera (Cristela) and the late Fred Thompson (Law & Order).