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Church gets more drama than it bargained for in film
First time actress Persis Karen plays Annika in the movie 'Not Today.'
April 13th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Church gets more drama than it bargained for in film

By Alan Duke, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - When a film's credits list "prayer coordinator" before the hair/makeup and wardrobe teams, you might guess it is a faith-based production.

"Not Today," which premieres on 50 screens in 20 U.S. cities this weekend, was not funded by Hollywood investors, but with $1.6 million from the collection plate at Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California.

Still, the church couldn't avoid the controversies that seem routine in Hollywood productions — including a lawsuit over pay.

The idea for the film began during a trip to India where the church began building schools for the Dalit class - considered the lowest in India's caste system - in 2002. It's a project that fits Friends Church's Quaker tradition, said Creative Arts Pastor Brent Martz. President Richard Nixon's parents worshiped at the church, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.

"Our hearts were totally ripped open for the Dalit people," Martz said. Social rules and poverty make their children vulnerable to human-trafficking in labor and sex.

Instead of a typical church fundraiser - perhaps a bake sale - Friends Church's leadership proposed a feature film shot on location on two sides of the globe and with a powerful message about the $32 billion world slave trade. Film profits will go toward the $20 million needed to build 200 schools for Dalit children.

Why a church would make a movie

"Media is the language of our culture, so what better way to communicate a story of a huge global tragedy like human trafficking than with a film," Martz said. "What better way to motivate a church audience that can sometimes be sheltered and not want to walk into situations or topics like human trafficking but with a story, a story that they can hear, that they would understand, that would compel them to get involved."

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The story is also about the power of faith and prayer in changing lives. More than coincidentally, making the movie changed the lives of those involved.

The cast includes veteran Hollywood actors John Schneider (TV's "Dukes of Hazard"), Cody Longo (Nickelodeon's "Hollywood Heights") and Cassie Scerbo (ABC Family's "Make It or Break It").

The 7-year-old sex slave

But the most memorable performance comes from Persis Karen, who played Annika, a 7-year-old girl sold into slavery in Hyderabad, India.

Like her character, Persis is in the Dalit class. But unlike Annika, she attends one of the 40 Friends Church schools. Until she was chosen for the role, Persis had never seen a movie or left her village, Martz said. "She grew from day to day during the shoot."

Persis, whose big brown eyes proved to be a powerful cinematic force, won the award for best breakout performance by an actress at the Monaco Charity Film Festival in 2012. She now aspires to be an actress.

Longo called her "my little angel."

Annika's story is not unusual. She and her father live on the streets of Hyderabad trying to survive by entertaining tourists with a ragged puppet and her songs. Her survival seems uncertain when they cross paths with Cade Welles, the 20-year-old played by Longo. He drives an orange Lamborghini back in Southern California but travels with friends to party in India.

But Welles' partying is interrupted by the reality of the Dalits' suffering and the horrors of the slave trade.

"Get a job, feed your own kid," Welles tells Annika's father when he asked for help for the starving child.

CNN Belief: The new Christian abolition movement

But back home, Welles' mother is praying "that God would get ahold of him and shake him up" during his trip. The power of her prayer is seen as Welles' eyes eventually open to Annika's suffering. He begins praying that he can find the child again so he can help her. He finds the father, only to learn he just sold his daughter.

"What kind of man buys a child," he said. "What kind of father sells his daughter?"

Her father said he had no other choice, and he believed Annika was on her way to work in a rich household, not a brothel in Mumbai.

When he calls home to his girlfriend, played by Cassie Scerbo, she tells him "You have to trust in God. Sometimes we have to be broken to be useful."

The rest of the film is a frantic search through the slums of several cities for Annika, punctuated by intense prayers and frustration.

A real change for the actors

John Schneider plays Welles' stepfather who is there to provide the crucial advice and help needed at the end. "I do believe that God will make a better way," he said.

"What makes this film so special is there's so much truth in it," Longo said. "The fact that we shot in the actual slums and actual brothels that had been raided before created this truth."

Cinematographer Abe Martinez and Director Jon Van Dyke review the footage in Hyderabad, India.

The lack of millions of dollars to build soundstage sets forced the production into the streets of India's slums for 21 days of shooting but guaranteed authenticity.

It also meant that Longo experienced the same thing his character did - traveling to India and being shocked by its reality.

"It changed my life," he said. "It took me from the bubble we live in. We become accustomed to this little bubble and nobody realizes until we get the opportunity to see what is going on elsewhere in the world."

The movie was shot in August and September of 2010, when "I was struggling at that point in my life a little bit with my faith and which direction to go," Longo said. "I feel like God placed this in my life at the perfect time, and he's also releasing it at an incredible time and at the perfect place.”

A split and a lawsuit

As the movie opened this weekend a lawsuit about the production and compensation was making its way through the courts. The film's director, Jon Van Dyke, filed a federal lawsuit alleging fraud by church leaders who he claims cheated him out of his pay.

In his lawsuit Van Dyke tells of internal bickering, cheating and outright fraud.

Director Jon Van Dyke and Persis Karen review steady cam footage – Mumbai, India.

Van Dyke was director of the Friends Church media department when he wrote the screenplay, but his boss, Creative Arts Pastor Brent Martz (you met him earlier in this story) threatened to fire him if he didn't give him 50% co-writer credit, the lawsuit said. "He had not made any copyrightable (or other substantive) contributions to the screenplay," it said.

The suit also contends Van Dyke has never been paid for directing the movie, a job he did while still the church's media director. He spent 10 weeks in India where most of the movie was shot on location. The suit demands either overtime pay or a share of the film's profits.

The profits are intended to fund hundreds of schools for the Dalit caste in India, according to Martz. Van Dyke's lawsuit claims the budget was "significantly inflated to include numerous illegitimate and improper expenses" in an effort to dilute profits.

When Van Dyke raised these concerns last August, "he was unceremoniously terminated," the suit said.

An attorney for the church responded to the suit in a statement to CNN.

"While we understand that members of the church body will have disagreements, I can say that we are sad that Jon chose to file a lawsuit," Friends' lawyer John Cone said.

"Friends Church offered Jon both mediation and binding arbitration to address his concerns. Jon and the church also signed an agreement in which they consented to resolve any disputes between them through binding arbitration. Nevertheless, we have faith in the judicial process. And if that is where this matter is resolved then we are confident that the court will make a fair and wise decision,” the statement said.

End Result

There is no doubt despite the lawsuit, the actors and crew - including Van Dyke and Martz - put a lot of hard work into the passion project.

As a film, it wanders into familiar territory other faith-based films find themselves in. Critics will likely call the film “preachy.”

And that is because it is. And that in many ways is the point.

The film carries a powerful message about the global slave trade and has a call to action for viewers to help fight it. The cast, script and production style should appeal to young adults looking for direction in their lives.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories,

While the suit carries on and viewers settle in for a healthy dose of “activismtainment” the church will be in prayer. That’s where the film's prayer coordinator comes in.

"For us at the church, having people praying from the very beginning of this project and even up to today and this opening weekend has been a huge part of it," Martz said. "We believe that God led us into making this film, and he's ultimately responsible for it, and so every bit of this journey has been covered through this prayer team, and they've been so faithful to pray for all us during the writing and during the production and during the post-production and now during the marketing and PR."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Christianity • Church • Courts • Movies • United States

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Sam Yaza

    funny how you don't talk about; how Christians strip these kids from the parents and force them to worship their god, or deprive them of food and shelter.

    April 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Bob Saz

      Who says they force anything on the children. All they are doing is offering them a new life free from the darkness they have had to live in so far. Whether or not the children want to follow Christ just as those who saved them do, is completely their choice. Just like Jesus Christ, these world-changing Christians will not impose themselves on anyone, but they will spread the wonderful news of Jesus to all who are willing to listen.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      missionary "read the bible or no food or shelter"
      Kid "i want to go home to my parents"
      mission "no they worship evil and will sell you to slavery"
      kid "but my parents love me"
      Missionary "not enough to teach you about Christ"

      and you don't think their being forced. why not open a school that teaches them a secular course, or even about their gods and culture?.. that's right its not about that its about making every one adhere to a single way of life.

      April 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ralph Dubois

      Sam you might try reading a little bit about the Hindu religion and the Dalit people and learn just how hopeless they are under this oppressive 3000 year old prejudicial type of societal slavery. Than you could make some educated comments and express just how you would be willing to help.

      October 28, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  2. Hamlet

    Lay down with heathen dogs and end up with Hollywood fleas

    April 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • AB

      Those are bedbugs Hamlet. The fleas are in Oxnard.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Hamlet

      @AB good point, Hollywood is the upper crust

      April 14, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • AB

      I will take San Diego and pray for the Ventura-nites.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
  3. Good samaritan

    If only every commenter would have contributed a dollar to freeing fellow human beings instead of their negative comments this world would be a much better place. Alas, that is not the case , the good Samaritans will continue the good works and the useless will continue posting useless comments in this blog entry.

    April 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • AB

      Don't be so hard on yourself GS.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • Francisco

      Your stressing yourself with worry GS. . Try not to think about it too much. A nice hot bath might help.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      i would gladly giv money to help the children their but not if your going to force your god down their throats.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  4. brian

    every religion is a business. they're all about power and control, especially christianity.

    April 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • AB

      Why do you say "especially christianity" brian?

      April 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Francisco

      I look at these older men dressed in costumes. The pope looks like he's wearing a puffed prom dress with a pointed hat.
      Walking holding a pole acting like some kind of deity. Wavng at people. Looking through the lens of an atheist it's so laughable. .

      April 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
  5. Egor

    May the lord of your choice bless you.

    April 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Science vs Buddhism

      Buddhism and Science – http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebdha340.htm

      Free Buddhist e-books http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html

      'The Buddha' narrated by Richard Gere
      Part 1
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChOvRkrsCcg&w=640&h=360]

      Part 2
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEdyD_d8uJ8&w=640&h=360]

      ‘The Buddha’ – Full Program Video: http://video.pbs.org/video/1461557530

      April 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
  6. tony

    I want to attend a church where they follow the bible.

    The entire cash collection is treated as a sacrifice and burnt at an outdoor altar in front of the congregation, so the smoke ascends to to heaven, for god to receive..

    April 14, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • M. J. Robertson

      Knowing that many denominations claim to follow the Bible, there is ONE group that truly follows the Bible. Maybe it's time for you to find the nearest Kingdom Hall Of Jehovah's Witnesses. This is TRUE Bible knowledge.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Francisco

      I read that Jahovah witness is a cult. In fact there are support groups that help former Jahovah witness members untangle all the brainwashing and harm. Try and google information about this church before you go.

      April 14, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  7. Joseph

    Why Theravada Buddhism is the purest & most correct form of Buddhism
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_0hgAfCiGI&w=640&h=360]

    http://www.suttapitaka.org/
    The Sutta Pitaka was written down in the Pali language over 2,000 years ago. The Sutta Pitaka is made of five collections of suttas; the Digha Nikaya, the Majjima Nikaya, the Samyutta Nikaya, the Anguttara Nikaya, and the Khuddaka Nikaya. These texts remain the most complete record of early Buddhist teachings. The suttas fill thousands of pages, and it is a daunting task for most readers to read through the many volumes. A Taste of Salt draws 350 pages containing the central teachings of the Buddha from the roughly 5,000 pages of the Sutta Pitaka. The purpose of this collection is to make these essential texts more accessible to meditators and students of Buddhism.

    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm –A five minute introduction to Buddhism

    http://www.buddhist.net/

    http://www.mangalamresearch.org/ - Study in Berkley, California

    http://www.buddhanet.net/ - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Buddhanetnet/187858451264632

    April 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • My form of Buddhism is better than yours

      Buddha bless you !!!

      April 14, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
  8. H. Lee

    It's pretty pathetic how quickly (instantly!) the conversation on the comments board speeds away from the subject - a film about child slaves in a poor nation - and reverts to the familiar bashing. "You believe in unicorns." "You are too stupid to believe in evolution." "Christianity is a big hoax." "Atheists are vulgar." At least the stuff about Islam was sort of interesting.

    Anyone have anything to offer about helping child slaves? Haven't seen it yet, but I admit I only had the stomach for one page of comments.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • flame defiler

      I do H. Lee. Pray. Pray for them and everything will be fine.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • moonraker

      Prayer changes nothing.

      April 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  9. useless

    Organized religion is organized madness. Every developed country in the world is secular and focusses on Capitalism and work-ethics. Christianity is a big hoax that has been kicked out from the West. And now spreading its tentacles on the gullible and poor in Third World countries. This is just to increase the subscription to keep playing politics and manipulate people and resources. There are numerous social service, goverment and non-governmental organizations doing a yeoman's service for education of all, and none of that gets a mention, except some Church doing its propaganda.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      “Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries - Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands - all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.”
      _ Greg Graffin

      April 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Ted

      LOL – UH, YOU TWO ARE A COUPLE OF SOCIOLOGISTS HUH? E YOU THINK THERE MIGHT BE SOME OTHER SOCIOECONOMIC FACTORS AS WELL? FYI – WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE HIGHEST SUICIDE RATES? STICK THAT IN YOUR PIPE N SMOKE IT MMMKAYYY?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  10. John

    How to Meditate

    (Details: http://yuttadhammo.sirimangalo.org/articles/how-to-meditate/)

    Lessons in Practical Buddhism

    Following is a Basic Meditation Class Ven. Yuttadhammo conducted for a group of children at theBuddhist.tv (Sambodhi Viharaya, Colombo 7, SL)
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOvKZ7vLEvs&w=640&h=360]

    (His teachings can be found all over the web: YouTube, Facebook, googleplus, tweeter, online radio etc.). Presently, he lives in Winnipeg (Canada.)

    Your questions can be sent to:
    http://ask.sirimangalo.org/

    We Practise Meditation – Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu ( The Buddhist TV )
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOvKZ7vLEvs&w=640&h=360]

    April 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  11. Correctlycenter

    Christians help others in need. Atheists will just bash, mock, scoff, belittle God and His followers with silly, vulgar and mindless posts. These are clear cut examples of those who follow the Light of Jesus Christ, and the mockers who prefer to dwell in the darkness...

    April 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Correctlycenter,

      One 'side' fits all. Societies are but likened to the colored parts of a Rubick's Cube!

      April 14, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Johnk

      Get a life you child moleters and organized criminals.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Science

      Can you read CC ? Facts work !

      Origin of Life: Power Behind Primordial Soup Discovered

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130404122234.htm

      The facts.............no gods needed !

      Does the RCC have any ? Bible thumpers too.

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

      Science

      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

      https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

      A wedge !

      And CC you do have one a Y

      And the Y

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

      April 14, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Pot

      Sup my kettle.

      April 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jb333

      One doesn't always need to be part of a faith community to feel compassion and a desire to serve others, right wrongs in the world and wish to see an end to slavery, poverty and oppression. I care very deeply for others even though I don't practice a faith.

      April 14, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      @Science

      This new study shows how a chemical, similar to one now found in all living cells and vital for generating the energy that makes something alive, could have been created when meteorites containing phosphorus minerals landed in hot, acidic pools of liquids around volcanoes, which were likely to have been common across the early Earth.

      But then who created, meteors, phosphorus and minerals.

      Design still points to a designer, and everything that has a beginning has a cause.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      @Mike from CT Design still points to a designer, and everything that has a beginning has a cause.

      However, the fact that something may LOOK to you it was designed does not mean that it actually was, other than in a metaphorical sense (i.e., "designed" by Nature). And it is not necessarily true that everything has a cause. Cause and effect is not a scientific principle.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Science

      Mike from CT

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      April 15, 2013 at 6:37 am |
    • Science

      Mike from CT...............hopefully you are smater than a 5th grader ?

      Listening to the Big Bang - In High Fidelity

      Apr. 4, 2013 — A decade ago, spurred by a question for a fifth-grade science project, University of Washington physicist John Cramer devised an audio recreation of the Big Bang that started our universe nearly 14 billion years ago.

      April 15, 2013 at 6:42 am |
  12. Universe

    God in Quran says, (Islamic scripture)

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    ‘They said, "You have to be Jewish or Christian, to be guided." Say, "We follow the religion of Abraham – monotheism – he never was an idol worshiper." [2:135]

    “Proclaim, He is the One and only GOD. The Absolute GOD. Never did He beget. Nor was He begotten. None equals Him." [112:1]

    “The Messiah, son of Mary is no more than a messenger like the messengers before him, and his mother was a saint. Both of them used to eat the food. Note how we explain the revelations for them, and note how they still deviate!” [5:75]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They do not value God as He should be valued. God is the Most Powerful, the Almighty.”[22:74]

    “If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of God. They follow only conjecture; they only guess.” [Quran 6:116]

    “There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in God has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. God is Hearer, Omniscient.” [2:256]

    “O people, here is a parable that you must ponder carefully: the idols you set up beside God can never create a fly, even if they banded together to do so. Furthermore, if the fly steals anything from them, they cannot recover it; weak is the pursuer and the pursued.” [22:73]

    “God: there is no other god besides Him, the Living, the Eternal. Never a moment of unawareness or slumber overtakes Him. To Him belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. Who could intercede with Him, except in accordance with His will? He knows their past, and their future. No one attains any knowledge, except as He wills. His dominion encompasses the heavens and the earth, and ruling them never burdens Him. He is the Most High, the Great.” [2:255]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to clear your misconception by going to whyIslam org website.

    April 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  13. SAAB

    THE BIGGEST CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY IS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOMEONE'S ECONOMICAL CONDITIONS, CONVERTING THEM, AND THEN TREATING THEM AS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS. RELIGIONS ARE DOING IT UNDER THE NAME OF GOD. IF THERE WAS REALLY A GOD !!! HE WOULD HAVE NEVER APPROVED WHAT PEOPLE ARE DOING IN HIS NAME.

    April 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • Ted

      No – SAAB – you are incorrect

      April 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Francisco

      No Ted Saab is right. You are wrong

      April 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • biggles

      Lol

      April 14, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
  14. diana horton

    i believe in a creator. however, i do not attend chruch. and reading this makes me still not want to go. there are to many big church's that rake in millions. only to have it misused and not for the better good. i donot judge anyone, but i see with my eyes see and what my spirit says. this law suit says alot about this church, not to mention the paster. i can read a bible and get the meaning what has to say, i am not downing all chruch's however there are some bad ones out there

    April 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  15. MagicPanties

    My invisible pink unicorn is praying for you all to coordinate.

    April 14, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  16. tony

    Jesus said render unto Caesar what belongs to him, but US churches don't want to give up their tax exemption. That's a financial war on Atheism.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  17. Siri

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pynsb4B6qHg&w=640&h=360]

    April 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  18. Siri

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pynsb4B6qHg&w=420&h=315]

    April 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  19. Elliott Carlin

    C'mon atheists...its Sunday...get out your cut and paste "Christian/Religion" bashing comments....

    April 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Damocles

      Your eagerness to see such things is strange, shouldn't you be leading by example and be off helping someone?

      April 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      C'mon christians...its Sunday...get out your cut and paste "Atheist/Non-Believer" bashing comments...

      oh, i see you already have. hypocrite.

      April 14, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • tony

      Sunday is fill the collection plate day. Imagine a pastor who works hard all week at a regularly paying job, pays tax and, then holds services he believes in, and doesn't hold a collection . . . .

      April 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
      • Ralph Dubois

        Tony, you may find it hard to believe but that is just how many Christian pastors operate world wide.

        October 28, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Elliot is yearning to feel persecuted....

      April 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bash

      Bash bash bash bash bash.
      Feel better now, Elliot?

      April 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
  20. 34meyaj

    Wellllllll.....This film is now getting a ton of publicity that it NEVER would've gotten had the lawsuit not been filed. Draw your own conclusions.

    April 14, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.