Okay, this isn’t a debate…well, not as I see it, but I recently came across a friend’s Facebook status that I wanted to write out about instead of simply commenting on his status.
Tim, buddy, I love you, and I love your passion for the Church and the Gospel, but this is something I have to speak out against.
In Tim’s Facebook post, he had this to say:
“Just discovered that they are making “God’s not Dead 2″. As if one terrible movie wasn’t enough.
After watching the trailer I can safely say they took every American Christian fear when it comes to free speech and imaginary persecution and threw it into one movie.”
Now, here’s my point of contention: Christian’s are not fearing imaginary persecution for their beliefs. They aren’t scared of the issues regarding our Constitution right to free speech.
What both “God’s Not Dead” film’s speak to is the reality that is faced every day in schools around the country.
I’m sure we all remember the story of Jordan Wooley, a 7th grader who, when saying “Fact” to the statement, “There is a God”, was told by the teacher that this was an opinion, but for Jordan, who is a Christian, it was a fact. While the school and the teacher denies the conversation took place, it is clear that someone is covering up the truth regarding the assignment. Which side is it?
Or this report about 16-year old, Grace Lewis, who is an accelerated student enrolled in a college Humanities course, who received four consecutive zeros in her class for speaking about her beliefs in the course and for stating that the professor was attempting to squash her religious beliefs.
There is the story of the Bremerton football coach, who was suspended for praying on the football field after games at the 50-yard line.
And then there is the report of a high school football player in Arizona who was suspended for praising God after a touchdown, with one official claiming it was “excessive celebration”.
Then there is my own story. When I was a student teacher back in 2009, a student asked me a religion related question during their lunch hour, and I choose to answer it as honestly and openly as possible. The result? I was almost suspended from school for answering a student’s question during what is technically considered free time during the school day.
The reality is, there are people that are out there trying to keep students, teachers, even preachers and workers in other fields from speaking about or living out their beliefs in the school or workplace. Many are threatened with suspension, expulsion, failing grades and termination from employment.
This is not “imaginary persecution” as my friend, Tim Whitaker, states, but is a reality that is being faced and fought every single day in America and in countries all around the world.