The Christian movie house that produced "God's Not Dead 2" is claiming that a billboard advertising the film's DVD release was recently rejected, with the advertising company purportedly calling it “too political” and “way too incendiary."
After reportedly going back and forth for months with billboard company Orange Barrel Media, Pure Flix Entertainment is claiming that the ad, which featured a photo of "God's Not Dead 2" star Melissa Joan Hart and a quote, wasn't permitted.
The quote read, "I'd rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God," and a question under it asked, "Where will you stand?" It was reportedly the "judged by God" text that sparked pushback.
The billboard, which would have been 32 feet by 60 feet and would have cost Pure Flix $64,100, was intended to be displayed on the side of a large building in downtown Cleveland during next week's Republican National Convention, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
But, as it currently stands, it reportedly won't be on display, as the deadline for billboard inclusion has passed.
"The signage company, Orange Barrel, first cited the Republican National Committee rules barring 'scandalous' signage," Pure Flix co-founder David A.R. White told Deseret News of the refusal. "The company then stated that our requested billboard was 'too incendiary' and 'too political.'"
White said that the billboard company repeatedly asked for the language on the billboard to be changed — something that Pure Flix protested.
"We reminded them that this is same language that was used in our national campaign with outlets such as CNN." he said. "No other media have had an issue with it."
As for why White believes that the company found the sign so offensive, he pointed back to the founding motivation for Pure Flix in offering up a possible explanation.
"This is why we started Pure Flix over 10 years ago — to make positive uplifting content and give people an alternative to what is becoming more and more of an overt attack against religious liberties and freedoms," he said.
White also noted that the "God's Not Dead" films are about "the erosion of God in our society," finding some irony embedded in the billboard dispute.
Mainly, he pointed to reports that, while the Pure Flix billboard likely won't be on display during the convention, an atheist billboard will be erected and on display by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a secular nonprofit.
"They didn’t get shut down," he said of those messages, though the atheist ad will reportedly be on Clear Channel billboards.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, emails between Orange Barrel and Pure Flix showed that the billboard company disapproved of the message on the sign, reportedly even taking issue with the title of the movie.
"This would not be approved. Way too incendiary," one email reportedly read.
Orange Barrel CEO Pete Scantland told the Hollywood Reporter that "no bias" was at play in the rejection, though details behind the purported refusal are unclear.
"God's Not Dead 2" will be released on DVD on Aug. 16.