You know that the past month has been an absolute dumpster fire when the new My Little Pony movie is the best film I’ve seen. Like a parent telling their child to eat their vegetables before they can have dessert, so must I watch another God’s Not Dead movie before I can have the sweet nectar dripping from movies like Last Night in Soho and Nightmare Alley. But seriously, another Christian movie? And it had to be God’s Not Dead: We the People, the FOURTH installment in the series?
It almost feels like God himself decided to take some sick pleasure in my reviews. He saw that a few weeks ago I gave a lukewarm review of another kinda-sorta faith-based film, The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Then he basically decided to go “hold my beer” and proceeded to put me in a fairly crowded theater where I had to watch, arguably, the worst film in the God’s Not Dead series. Or at the very least, the most dangerous one.
God’s Not Dead: We the People
Director: Vance Null
Release Date: October 4, 2021 (Limited)
The last time we were blessed with a film in this series, I was actually fairly kind to it. The previous entries in the series all had various flavors of Christian persecution to them, but the third movie seemed to actually take a step back and examine both sides of the conversation in a way that didn’t immediately frame the non-Christians as evil. I mean in the first movie for the two atheist villains, one of them died in a car accident while the other got cancer. So that was a pretty big step.
Yeah God’s Not Dead: We the People doesn’t try to have a discussion. It’s right back to the victim complex. This time, the film revolves around a group of parents who are homeschooling their children going to court due to social services not viewing their small learning community as being a productive learning environment. So the villain of the film is the courts, the politicians in Washington who are trying to standardize education and the eeeeeeeeeevils of public schools. And for the record, I have nothing against homeschooling. If you feel that’s what’s best for your kid, more power to you. But don’t preach that your way is the only way and all others are wrong, which is exactly what God’s Not Dead: We the People does.
So I can be subtle about this and explain why exactly this doesn’t hold up, but since the film doesn’t try and be subtle about its messaging, neither will I. The logic behind these characters is moronic. It feeds into preconceived notions that public schools are trying to brainwash kids and it’s a tragedy that religion isn’t taught in schools. An actual analogy they use to say that schools are bad is that a second grader received a flyer about birth control, which is so far removed from the realm that we live in called reality that I almost burst out laughing in the theater. But if I did, I probably could have been chastised by the crowd. More on that in a bit.
The messaging of the movie goes into conspiracy theory territory so often that I couldn’t believe that this was something that people actually believed. Like the reason why we’re more critical of the founding fathers isn’t because of reexamining the negative elements of society they propagated and reinforced, but rather because by eliminating the positive educational studies on them, somehow that means the government can ban Christianity altogether. And of course, they equate the education system to China, where the communist party strictly controls and regulates information to not disrupt their purported narrative. Something that, you know, isn’t a thing in the United States. They quite literally saying that curriculums are just a fancy word for agendas.
But that’s only the tip of this iceberg. God’s Not Dead: We the People doesn’t know what its plot is about. Our main characters go to a Congressional hearing, but it has nothing to do with what’s going on in their town. They’re facing a court order in their little town, but somehow wind up testifying to Congress about Christianity. Even the characters were asking what they were even doing there in the first place since the majority of the movie had nothing to do with the original conflict.
Then again, a whole portion of the movie barely felt like they connected with each other. There was a subplot about a daughter trying to reconnect with her father, a mother trying to support her child, and a teenager trying to ask a girl to prom. There was no rhyme or reason for half of these subplots to exist but it didn’t seem like they were there to pad out the runtime. It instead came across as a poor attempt to force halfhearted feel-good moments, like a crying kid saying that he misses his mom and loves her very much. Call me a cynical grump, but shameless emotional manipulation is shameless.
And the audience lapped it all up. They were eating it up, cheering and singing along during the credits. I felt like I was losing my mind as the film was going on. I am not someone to discredit a person’s religious belief in the slightest. But everything that the movie was driveling out of its mouth couldn’t be what actual Christians believe. I refuse to believe that the views of this movie are shared by all of the good Christians that I know and view as close friends. I just can’t see it.
There were active talks about how if the government was going to “oppress” Christians, then they would take the fight into their own hands. Coming off of real-world events over the past couple of years, that’s dangerous. A character says that they homeschool their kids because they don’t want to vaccinate their kids because they’re don’t want the government to tell parents what they put in their children’s bodies. That’s dangerous. The ideas talked about in this film are simply dangerous. But the characters firmly believe they’re speaking the truth. They’re so convinced they’re right that any other argument simply doesn’t matter anymore.
I’m happy about the fact this didn’t get a wide release. It was a three-night theatrical event in Fathom Theaters and that’s where something like this should belong. God’s Not Dead: We the People belongs in a small theater away from the actual films. Sure, the film is competently made and there are elements that do work. An immigrant talks about how Christianity helped him through hard times, which does ring true, and there are a small group of African-American parents who said that they supported homeschooling because their school districts were underfunded and homeschooling helped keep their kids off the streets. Those are legitimate moments and have fair and rational arguments behind them, but when the movie’s core is as deluded as it is, all of those average elements and good points fall at the wayside.
Film can be powerful. It can help people heal. It can make people laugh and cry. But it can also be a weapon in the wrong hands. This is a movie that spreads straight-up stupid conspiracy theories that delegitimize important institutions and continues to espouse Christian persecution despite being the most practiced religion in the world. God’s Not Dead: We the People is something that should not be seen because, in the wrong hands, it can and will spread harmful ideas.
Yet the audience sang. With American flags waving in the background and shots of the Lincoln Memorial pass by their faces, the audience sings their heart out. Sing for the film that tells them the schools are evil, the politicians are evil, they’re coming to take your Bibles away, and you need to stand up for yourself with force. No. Just no. Stay in your corner God’s Not Dead: We the People and never, EVER, cross my path again.
Time for some Ezekiel 25:17.