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God's Not Dead (2014)


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Andrew wrote:
: Need I say that she was both irritated and unconverted?

 

I can only imagine. I honestly don't know what the people who came up with this idea thought they could prove or accomplish by it.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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: I honestly don't know what the people who came up with this idea thought they could prove or accomplish by it.

 

It feels to me like a kind of underhanded, guerrilla marketing ploy. Pick any other film, say Transcendence, and ask people to tweet to their friends "Transcendence!" when they leave the theater. Sounds kinda silly. But in the case of God's Not Dead, by adding the "weight" of evangelism to the tweet, it allows someone to "be a part" of something in the viral way: to proclaim the Gospel (I won't say this film proclaims the Gospel) while one's (manipulated) emotions run high and without the risk of actually sharing face-to-face, because sharing in an intimate way goes counter to this film (so it seems, as I have not seen it yet). Considering perhaps how inherently ugly it is to "share" the Gospel with others via twitter, it is particularly crass to get some grass roots marketing accomplished by encouraging filmgoers to believe they are doing God's will when they are really just doing some free advertising and, potentially, actually turning people further away from the true Gospel.

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Oh, wow, I hadn't even thought of this as free publicity for the film. I was just trying to wrap my mind around the notion that this was some sort of evangelism, as it is within the diegesis of the film.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Here's the blog comment I get for linking to Steven, Peter, and the Christ & Pop Culture pieces: 

 

"Don't parade yourself as a Christian if you are not one. Liberal religiousity has nothing to do with Christ. You have created your own god in your image. If you are ashamed of the Word, any of the Word, you have no part of Him."

 

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Andrew wrote:

: Need I say that she was both irritated and unconverted?

 

I can only imagine. I honestly don't know what the people who came up with this idea thought they could prove or accomplish by it.

 

My read is that such things don't have anything to do with the recipient, they are all motivated around the sender. 

It's a means of getting those uncomfortable with contact evangelism to ignore that voice inside them that says, "This is wrong, I don't want to do it." The typical strategy for doing so that I have witnessed (or experienced) in American evangelicalism is to equate that discomfort with shame and invoke Romans 1:16 as a means of trying to make the hesitant more ashamed of their hesitation than of the behavior that something (which could be secular society but could also be their conscience) is telling them is not the right way to witness

 

The genius of such instructions is that it gets the hesitant over the hump not by removing shame but allowing the witnesser to comply without having to deal first hand, face to face, with the consequences of their sharing. Not having to see the recipient's response, he or she can can continue to think of witnessing as an absolute good, irregardless of what he/she is bearing witness to, that evangelism is something that doesn't require actual interaction with non-believers, because all that matters is that you proclaim the gospel, not that you love your neighbor. 

 

Aside--Jeff, sorry you had to experience that.

 

Aside #2--It feels to me that as the Internet becomes more nasty and as people become less careful with vocabulary in general that "even handed" is a catch all to mean  "unexpectedly on my side of the issue...not like all the zealots whom I disdain."

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Peter T Chattaway said:

 

:I can only imagine. I honestly don't know what the people who came up with this idea thought they could prove or accomplish by it.

 

 

Probably coming from some of the same people that gave us Jesusween.

 

 

 

Overstreet said:

 

 

Here's the blog comment I get for linking to Steven, Peter, and the Christ & Pop Culture pieces: 

 

Quote

"Don't parade yourself as a Christian if you are not one. Liberal religiousity has nothing to do with Christ. You have created your own god in your image. If you are ashamed of the Word, any of the Word, you have no part of Him."

 

 

 

-

 

Maybe now you won't be raptured.    wink.png

 

 

 

 

Joking aside.  This is just all further evidence for me that there is something seriously wrong in much of the Christian subcultures logic, and I'm not sure how some of it can be untwisted.  It's just seems to me to be nonsense built on nonsense in order to help perpetuate nonsense.  Edit:  Sorry if this sounds to much like a rant.  But I honestly can't see many people coming out of some of this thinking anytime soon.

 

As I had posted over on Jeremy's facebook page.   "Such a film (as the sunset Limited) could and should be made for a Christian audience. But unfortunately when it comes to the state that much of the Christian subculture is in right now I don't expect that the film would do well. Which leads to the core problem with films like this and Christian film in general. Filmmakers are making films like this in order to get their films seen and supported by the Christian subculture and in fact a more sensible film might not have even been greenlit in the first place for such a market. But then the film goes out and perpetuates the logic behind the subculture that makes and supports these films, thus leading to more such films (this film having come out of a subculture that supported previous bad films.) So the logic behind it all just gets worse and Christian filmmakers who would like to make good films can't find support or resources to make them because that isn't what will likely sell (to their target Christian audience) and film is expensive. In my somewhat observed opinion.

 

 

 

I was telling my wife this afternoon about how this is all an example of how out of step I am with some peoples thinking.  I found Noah intruiging and a film worthy of great discussion and thought (when so much of the Christian subculture hated it), but I don't want to even see this because I suspect that I'll just leave being frustrated (when so much of the Christian subculture adore it.)

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I found Noah intruiging and a film worthy of great discussion and thought (when so much of the Christian subculture hated it), but I don't want to even see this because I suspect that I'll just leave being frustrated (when so much of the Christian subculture adore it.)

This.

 

Perhaps if I receive one of the "God's Not Dead!" text messages, I'll simply reply "Noah!" :)

 

What's unsettling about this film for me--and why I now feel obligated to see it--is its apparent target audience: high school and college students. (Well, and their evangelical subculture parents.) The protagonist is a first-year university student who must take a strong stand for his faith in a public setting, and who ultimately wins the day by convincing everyone around him of God's existence, which apparently leads to passionate conversions. The problem is, this isn't what happens in real life. Taking such a stand likely won't make you the classroom hero or draw numerous converts. Humility and love, a willingness to have honest conversations and listen with empathy, seeing and cherishing the imago dei in others--that seems like a better route. Yet the film is getting promoted in the youth ministry circles, and a number of parents/grandparents have now strongly encouraged that I take students to see it. Thankfully, I don't think their teens will respond the way they hope, as I believe the emerging generation is increasingly tired of the American culture wars for which this film serves as an allegory.

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Joel Mayward said:

 

: Humility and love, a willingness to have honest conversations and listen with empathy, seeing and cherishing the imago dei in others--that seems like a better route.

 

 

Completely agree, and good film can help to increase that empathy.

 

 

:I believe the emerging generation is increasingly tired of the American culture wars for which this film serves as an allegory.

 
 
I think so as well.  It's also a generation of Christians that is developing a more sophisticated and well rounded understanding of such things as film.  Not all of them of course, but I think that some are.
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Joel Mayward wrote:
: Perhaps if I receive one of the "God's Not Dead!" text messages, I'll simply reply "Noah!" :)

 

Ha! Love it.

 

I must say, I wonder to what degree God's Not Dead is doing so well because its fans have hijacked the conversation around Noah. It seemed to me that every time someone posted an anti-Noah screed on Facebook or a blog or whatever, there would always be someone in the comments who'd say "This film is awful! But God's Not Dead is really good!"

 

Big Hollywood is already gloating over the fact that Noah seems destined to make less money than God's Not Dead this week. (Noah is in its fourth week, and is probably going to fall out of the top ten this week, while God's Not Dead is in its *fifth* week and is still in the top ten.)

 

The scary thing is that God's Not Dead will probably have almost $50 million in the till as of tomorrow, and there's a very good chance now that it could outgross Son of God (which has earned about $60 million in North America) when all is said and done. (Noah, for its part, has grossed around $90 million in North America so far, all told.)

 

God's Not Dead is also playing in foreign countries now! The film's website says it opened in the UK yesterday, and in Bolivia the day before that, and apparently it is already playing in some other Latin American territories too, with more on the way. Christian films -- or films that are *perceived* as Christian films -- generally don't do that well overseas, so it will be interesting to see what happens there.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter T Chattaway said:

 

:I must say, I wonder to what degree God's Not Dead is doing so well because its fans have hijacked the conversation around Noah.

 

 

That could be part of it.  I expect that a large part is also that many think that Noah is some sort of an attack on them and their faith, and are responding to this so called "attack" by supporting "the good guys."  Being, to their minds (possibly) the "God glorifying" God's Not Dead.  Some probably think that God is raising up God's not Dead as a response to, or rebuttal against Noah, which they could see as being made by one of the atheists that God's Not Dead is addressing.

 

 

 

:God's Not Dead is also playing in foreign countries now! ..... so it will be interesting to see what happens there.

 

 

 

Yes.  This could be interesting.  I'm betting that it goes largely unnoticed even by the Christians.  I expect that part of what is driving some North American christians when it comes to this film and other aspects of the "culture war" in general is a fear that North America will become like what they perceive as "secularized Europe."  But European Christians that haved lived and worked in a differing environment might consider this film to not be of much benefit.

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From the little I know of this Christian subset, I sometimes get an almost surreal impression of insularity. It's as if all the dialogue and all the cultural artifacts are self-serving: self-flagellating, self-affirming &c. At their worst - or at least, most alarming for someone like me, who genuinely trusts that familiarity breeds acceptance and trust - they say America is rabidly anti-Christian and degenerate and the devout have been stripped of religious freedom.  I don't know what it feels like to enjoy such privilege, yet believe that. If you are defiant or fearful. (I do know it has a liberal counterpart.) But it seems to turn Evangelicalism in upon itself, battening down the hatches instead of living out this: 

Humility and love, a willingness to have honest conversations and listen with empathy, seeing and cherishing theimago dei in others--that seems like a better route.

 

 

 

I have heard people suggest Christian Films as evangelical tools. I wonder if it's a reflexive gesture or if they appreciate the slim odds that those films could be noticed by non-Christians and how absolutely they are created by and for their niche market . When I hear about God's Not Dead tweeting I just think that's part of the  movie's branding and the wave of triumphalism is lapping a little beyond the screen. Like car horns celebrating victory after a game.

 


The scary thing is that God's Not Dead will probably have almost $50 million in the till as of tomorrow, and there's a very good chance now that it could outgross Son of God (which has earned about $60 million in North America) when all is said and done.

 

 

 

Clearly there are Christian Films that nurture faith and community positively or that function more like honest sermons or illustrations of Scripture.

The success of God's Not Dead seems sad because if what I read is true, it can only make us despise each other more and become more defensive. Either it confirms your low opinion of the fans, or if you embraced the movie without qualms and to the hilt, of those it demonizes as vicious and unprincipled. And one of the hurtful stereotypes that is overthrown inside the film - that Christians are intellectually naive - dumb, really - gets reinforced in the process. 

I've seen remarks that the movie could really happen, that the writer has experienced  or witnessed something comparable. I'd very much like to hear one of those stories. Not because I'm sceptical that they happened; because I believe they did and they might help me understand why the digetic defense of faith is so compelling.  

 

That could be part of it.  I expect that a large part is also that many think that Noah is some sort of an attack on them and their faith, and are responding to this so called "attack" by supporting "the good guys." 

 

 

I think so too! 

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Not much to add here except to note that not only was the Muslim girl's dad the most interesting and fleshed out non-Christian (it's so tempting to write "bad guy"), but the girl's story was far more weighty than the main character's - so much so that I found it ludicrous that at the end she goes up to him, impressed.

 

Oh, and the Newsboys used to play much better songs.

 

I've seen remarks that the movie could really happen, that the writer has experienced  or witnessed something comparable. I'd very much like to hear one of those stories. Not because I'm sceptical that they happened; because I believe they did and they might help me understand why the digetic defense of faith is so compelling.

 

They actually list 40 such cases before the main credits role at the end of the film. Although I'd be interesting in reading the details.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Actually, I do have a few other quick thoughts...

 

1) The pastor subplot: I get that his trouble with a car is meant to lead him to the point to be there when the professor bites the bullet so he can administer the deathbed conversion, but he goes through the film doing not much more than giving a few pep talks that don't amount to much more than self-help by way of the Bible and his great struggle? A rental car that's a lemon. (His first response was to tell someone to call 911 - but his missionary friend could apparently tell the professor had massive internal bleeding just by looking at him and knew he was going to die in moments.)

 

2) Right before the professor gets hit by the car, he stops at a crosswalk. The don't walk sign was displayed and I was sure he was going to be hit because he decided to cross the street anyway. After all, Atheists have no concept of absolute morality, so disobeying street signs is no big deal. I thought it showed remarkable restraint on the part of the filmmakers to give him that small dignity - but it would have been hilarious.

 

3) I saw it on the first showing of the day at 11:30AM and the theater was about 1/4 full. While buying my ticket, a church group was buying tickets for God's Not Dead for either tonight or tomorrow I assume. I took my mom who went to see Noah and she said there were only 3 others there.

 

4) Hercules didn't fight Superman. Disappointing.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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I've seen remarks that the movie could really happen, that the writer has experienced  or witnessed something comparable. I'd very much like to hear one of those stories. Not because I'm sceptical that they happened; because I believe they did and they might help me understand why the digetic defense of faith is so compelling.

 

They actually list 40 such cases before the main credits role at the end of the film. Although I'd be interesting in reading the details.

 

 

I'm not sure if the case one reader cited at my blog was one of the 40 in the film's credits, (I could check the screener, but....), but a quick Google search revealed a lot more ambiguity than anything in the film and what appeared to me to be something other than a story of academic persecution.

 

Seriously, though, an examination at some of those cases to provide context lacking in the film might make a really interesting documentary in the hands of the right director. Morgan Spurlock? Susan Saladoff? Nathan Clarke? I'd buy a ticket.

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I've seen remarks that the movie could really happen, that the writer has experienced  or witnessed something comparable. I'd very much like to hear one of those stories. Not because I'm sceptical that they happened; because I believe they did and they might help me understand why the digetic defense of faith is so compelling.

 

They actually list 40 such cases before the main credits role at the end of the film. Although I'd be interesting in reading the details.

 

 

I'm not sure if the case one reader cited at my blog was one of the 40 in the film's credits, (I could check the screener, but....), but a quick Google search revealed a lot more ambiguity than anything in the film and what appeared to me to be something other than a story of academic persecution.

 

The cases all seemed to be represented by one entity - they even had their website listed - I wasn't taking notes, so didn't catch it. I'd love to give the benefit of the doubt, but that speaks to me of corporate partnership and PR more than religious persecution.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Darryl A. Armstrong wrote:
: (His first response was to tell someone to call 911 - but his missionary friend could apparently tell the professor had massive internal bleeding just by looking at him and knew he was going to die in moments.)

 

*Did* he actually tell someone to call 911? If so, the film certainly didn't dwell on this the way it could have. (And I know I'm not the only viewer who missed it, if it *was* there.) At any rate, I still don't recall him asking if any of the onlookers might be nurses or doctors or whatever. I mean, "Is there a doctor in the house?" is a pretty well-known expression. Something similar really should have been applied here.

 

Re: the cases listed at the end of the film, they scrolled by pretty quickly, but it seemed that a few of them, at least, had to do with pro-life groups being denied something-or-other on campus and not with religious persecution, per se.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Darryl A. Armstrong wrote:

: (His first response was to tell someone to call 911 - but his missionary friend could apparently tell the professor had massive internal bleeding just by looking at him and knew he was going to die in moments.)

 

*Did* he actually tell someone to call 911? If so, the film certainly didn't dwell on this the way it could have. (And I know I'm not the only viewer who missed it, if it *was* there.) At any rate, I still don't recall him asking if any of the onlookers might be nurses or doctors or whatever. I mean, "Is there a doctor in the house?" is a pretty well-known expression. Something similar really should have been applied here.

 

I'm kinda hesitant after being wrong about quoting Noah, but yes, I'm sure he did first yell for someone to call 911. But as I said, his missionary friend immediately confirmed the professor was dying. I think they wanted us to assume this was the "doctor" - as it were.

 

 

Re: the cases listed at the end of the film, they scrolled by pretty quickly, but it seemed that a few of them, at least, had to do with pro-life groups being denied something-or-other on campus and not with religious persecution, per se.

 

They did scroll by quickly. But as I said, most, if not all, were cases represented by one group - who also had their website listed at the end of the cases before the credits proper.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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They did scroll by quickly. But as I said, most, if not all, were cases represented by one group - who also had their website listed at the end of the cases before the credits proper.

 

I believe this may be the web site: https://alliancedefendingfreedom.org/Godsnotdeadthemovie

 

So, yeah, I know this is a fool's errand; I've lived through enough elections to know that fact checking rarely works, least of all at convincing the people who are throwing up claims in such lists. But perhaps they make a small step towards establishing ethos. In that spirit I decided to take one of the cases and dedicate a whole fifteen ninety minutes of my life researching it. I picked Adams v. The Trustees of the University of North Carolina-Wilmington since it was closest to where I live.

The "Alliance Defending Freedom" summarizes the case this way:

Dr. Mike S. Adams was an award-winning professor in the Department of Criminology until he became a Christian and a nationally recognized conservative writer. From then on, he became the target of numerous investigations and was denied promotion.
Outcome / Sources
 
Alliance Defending Freedom sued the university and won an appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit after the district court ruled against Professor Adams. A trial is scheduled to take place in late 2013.

 

 

I then Googled the court case. Here are some pieces of information about the case:

 

According to this site:

This is, I think, a copy of the judgment of the appeals court. I think it should precede anyone's characterization of it

 

Here is a court ruling rejecting summary judgment request of defendant.

 

In 2000, Adams converted to Christianity, a conversion 
which had a profound effect on his views on political and social 
issues. He began to speak out about his views, becoming a 
regular columnist for Townhall. com and appearing on radio and 
television broadcasts as a commentator. He also published a 
book, a collection of his previously published columns. Adams' 
newfound views and his speaking out on these issues led to some 
tension on campus. Some employees expressed discomfort with his 
views and his manner of expressing them. At one point, the 
interim department chair suggested Adams alter his "tone" to 
make it more "cerebral" and less "caustic." 
 
 
[...] Adams' application to full professor was denied, citing the inadequate
scholarly research record as the overriding concern.

 

 
 
 

Here is a summary with a statement from ADF:

 

 

Because Professor Adams’ speech is protected under the First Amendment, the federal appeals court wrote that university officials could be held financially responsible for any damages that result from his ongoing lawsuit against UNC-Wilmington. The appeals court sent the case back to the district court to consider Adams’ First Amendment viewpoint discrimination and retaliation claims.
 
“Christian professors should not be discriminated against because of their beliefs, and this decision thoroughly upholds that,” ADF Senior Counsel David French said in a statement.  “The 4th Circuit’s decision is a ringing vindication of the academic freedom of public university professors.  Disagreeing with an accomplished professor’s religious and political views is no grounds for refusing him promotion.  Opinion columns are among the purest examples of free speech protected by the First Amendment.”

 

 

Here is a summary from Inside Higher Ed:

 

The decision Wednesday does not decide the merits of Adams's case. The appeals court upheld the lower court's decision that there wasn't evidence to back his claim of religious discrimination. And the university has offered reasons that the lower court judge said might be legitimate for denying Adams the promotion. (His colleagues faulted his research productivity and service, although they generally gave him high marks on teaching.) The case now goes back to a federal district court, which will determine whether Adams was denied his promotion in violation of his rights -- but this time his op-eds will be considered material with First Amendment protection.

The university issued a statement following the decision, noting that Adams had been successful only on the First Amendment issue. Rob Hoon, general counsel at Wilmington, said: "We are pleased that summary judgment has been affirmed and that the plaintiff's claims of religious discrimination and equal protection have been dismissed. The third claim has been remanded to the district court for further review; as such, it is not a victory for either the plaintiff or the defendant."

 

Here is a compilation of some of Adams's op-ed pieces. As near as I can tell, at issue is a free speech claim. The lower court held (I think) that because Adams referred to writings in his promotion portfolio that he did not enjoy "free speech" rights of a private citizen but were done in performance of his duties as a university employee and could be judged on whether they were consistent with university policy, mission, etc. The appeals court, as near as I can tell, rejected that argument, claiming that public employees still have the right to speak on public issues and that Adams could not be discriminated for speaking his opinions. To what extent those writings were the the bulk of his "research"/publications submitted for promotion (he is a Criminology professor) is unclear to me upon cursory research. 

 

 

Here is Adams's response to the Appeals court decision:

 

Fourth, the court noted that even though the speech was "unrelated to any of Adams' assigned teaching duties" and "was clearly that of a citizen speaking on a matter of public concern," it nevertheless implicated my right to academic freedom simply because it is understood that professors will provide such commentary as a function of their role as academics. The court addressed the intent of Garcetti in very clear language:
 
Applying Garcetti to the academic work of a public university faculty member under the facts of this case could place beyond the reach of First Amendment protection many forms of public speech or service a professor engaged in during his employment. That would not appear to be what Garcetti intended, nor is it consistent with our long-standing recognition that no individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of public employment.
 
Fifth, and perhaps most surprising to me, the Fourth Circuit commented on the district court's denial of the defense of qualified immunity to the university administrators named as defendants in my case. In that portion of the opinion, the judges rejected the argument that the impact of Garcetti was to so fundamentally alter the law that reasonable university administrators can't possibly know that faculty members continue to enjoy a First Amendment right to speak out about matters of public concern:
 
(T)he underlying right Adams asserts the Defendants violated - that of a public employee to speak as a citizen on matters of public concern - is clearly established and something a reasonable person in the Defendants' position should have known was protected.
 
This all means that soon my lawyers with the ADF will go back to court to argue for a trial on the facts of my First Amendment retaliation claim. But thousands of professors in the Fourth Circuit – most of whom do not share my views - have already won a major victory. Their free speech rights once again belong to them as individuals – and not to the state that employs them.
 
You’re welcome.

 

 

 

My layman's conclusions:

At my review of the movie I said that claims of persecution are rarely as clear cut and unambiguous as those preaching to the choir would have the choir believe. Was Adams discriminated against because of his religious beliefs? Possibly, though I don't think the court case proves it or rules that he was...only that the university is liable if he can prove that he was since they cannot claim a free speech exception.

 

In response to Adams' final "You're welcome" I will add a sincere "thank you" however uncertain I am that the "you're welcome" was sincerely offered to the "most of whom" do not share his views. 

 

Would those who did share his views band together, like the AAUP did, in support of a claim that an atheist's professor's free speech was not surrendered by virtue of his job? I don't know. But that's not even really my larger take-away from the case in context of the movie. Adams's case demonstrates:

a) A self-proclaimed atheist who became a Christian while working at a secular university. 

b] <---stupid emoticon generator. A Christian professor at a secular university who was/is outspoken in his support of conservative positions and Christian doctrine. (The movie appears to imply that none of these people exist.)

c) A professorate, nation-wide whose primary association, appeared to support his case and celebrate his victory, not necessarily because its members "share" his "views" but because they recognize the importance of free speech and free exchange of ideas. 

Regardless of whether one believes Adams was denied promotion because of his religious/political views or was merely unpopular because of them (and denied promotion for other reasons) I think his case illustrates that the American university is a complex place with competing interests and alliances and oversights that attempt to balance those competing interests. This case-study portrait is very different than that presented in GND, which, I think portrays the American university in monolithic terms, with no oversight (internal or external) in which all atheists (student or professor) are treated equally well and all Christians (student or prof---wait, sorry, there are no Christian professors in the GND world) treated equally shabbily.

Edited by kenmorefield
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I received a "God's not dead" tweet from...my mom.  It almost makes me want to write a Pauline list of credentials.  Instead, I just wrote back, "Oh so you went to see that mediocrity."  Didn't hear a reply.

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Was Adams discriminated against because of his religious beliefs? Possibly, though I don't think the court case proves it or rules that he was...only that the university is liable if he can prove that he was since they cannot claim a free speech exception.

 

I don't want to get off on a long tangent on the Adams case, but I will point out that he won his case at a jury trial last month, and an order was entered earlier this month giving him the full professorship he sought, and $50,000 damages.

Edited by Froggy
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Darryl A. Armstrong wrote:
: I'm kinda hesitant after being wrong about quoting Noah, but yes, I'm sure he did first yell for someone to call 911.

 

But did the film *show* anyone calling 911? Anyone in the crowd? (Wait, why does this pastor not have a cell phone!?)

 

Like I say, the question is not just whether the *characters* show any interest in getting medical help, but whether the *film* shows any interest. The film just bumped off the professor with elaborate camerawork (there *is* a "God shot" pointing straight down at the professor as he flips through the air, yes? is my memory correct that it might have been in slow motion?), and if it can't be bothered to show a single shot of someone using a cell phone to make a phone call... well, that just shows where its interests lie.

 

(Incidentally, I would like to think that I honoured Matt Zoller Seitz's call for paying at least passing attention to *form* in my review of this film.)

 

: But as I said, his missionary friend immediately confirmed the professor was dying. I think they wanted us to assume this was the "doctor" - as it were.

 

As it were, yeah. Sigh.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I received a "God's not dead" tweet from...my mom.  It almost makes me want to write a Pauline list of credentials.  Instead, I just wrote back, "Oh so you went to see that mediocrity."  Didn't hear a reply.

Ouch. I hope things between you and mom aren't as bad as this makes it sound. Perhaps this was her way of wishing you a happy Easter. 

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Like I say, the question is not just whether the *characters* show any interest in getting medical help, but whether the *film* shows any interest. The film just bumped off the professor with elaborate camerawork (there *is* a "God shot" pointing straight down at the professor as he flips through the air, yes? is my memory correct that it might have been in slow motion?), and if it can't be bothered to show a single shot of someone using a cell phone to make a phone call... well, that just shows where its interests lie.

 

(Incidentally, I would like to think that I honoured Matt Zoller Seitz's call for paying at least passing attention to *form* in my review of this film.)

  

That's how I remember it. And yes, I think you did. 

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I received a "God's not dead" tweet from...my mom.  It almost makes me want to write a Pauline list of credentials.  Instead, I just wrote back, "Oh so you went to see that mediocrity."  Didn't hear a reply.

Ouch. I hope things between you and mom aren't as bad as this makes it sound. Perhaps this was her way of wishing you a happy Easter. 

 

Well, I don't think things are bad!  I do tease her a bit for being so into the evangelical sub-culture and try to gently encourage her to use the talents she's been blessed with as a blessing to others.  I think that she saw the movie, felt compelled to send out her text to people that she is close to (most of whom in total agreement with the statement).  But as an evangelism tool--for all the critiques above, it also falls short when you literally preach to the converted.  Had I not seen the critiques of the movie, I would have had no clue what the text was about.

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