Faith-based 'God's Not Dead 2' billboard banned near RNC, atheist sign OK'd

by Michael Foust |

CLEVELAND (Christian Examiner) – Delegates to the Republican National Convention next week will see a prominent billboard from an atheist organization but, due to opposition from a sign company, they won't be seeing one about God's Not Dead 2.

Pure Flix, the company behind the faith-based movie, had been in talks for weeks with Orange Barrel Media about a 32-feet-by-60-feet sign in downtown Cleveland advertising the DVD release of God's Not Dead 2, but in the end was told the sign's message was too provocative, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The media outlet obtained emails between Pure Flix representatives and those of Orange Barrel Media.

The proposed sign included a picture of Melissa Joan Hart – the movie's star – along with the message, "I'd rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God."

Orange Barrel Media representatives called the "judged by God" message "too political" and "way too incendiary," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The company even said the title of the movie was problematic. It would have cost $64,100.

"I'm perplexed. They dragged us along for weeks. Now, right up against the convention date, they say we aren't approved, and they give us no logical rationale," Steve Fedyski, the CEO of Pure Flix, told the outlet. "My speculation is that someone, somewhere didn't want our message out. It's hard to understand, considering we've used the same marketing on CNN and other national networks."

Fedyski added, "They picked the building and the size, and advertised that it was available. They gave us a budget and deadlines and we met all of it, then they put us on hold. We missed a primary promotional opportunity."

But the Freedom From Religion Foundation will be permitted – by billboard company Clear Channel – to post its sign, which shows a picture of Ronald Reagan saying, "We establish no religion in this country ... Church and state are, and must remain, separate."

The DVD is set to be released Aug. 16.