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God's Not Dead 2 is a 2016 American Christian drama film directed by Harold Cronk and stars Melissa Joan Hart, Jesse Metcalfe, David A. R. White, Hayley Orrantia, and Sadie Robertson. It is the sequel to the 2014 film God's Not Dead and was released on April 1, 2016. It was the final film role for Fred Thompson.
History teacher Grace Wesley (Melissa Joan Hart), a devout Christian, notices that one of her students, Brooke Thawley (Hayley Orrantia), is withdrawn following the recent death of her brother. Involved in little more than her studies, Brooke notices Grace's hope-filled attitude, and asks where Grace finds her hope. Grace replies "Jesus", and Brooke begins to read the Bible for herself. As Grace lectures on Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., Brooke asks whether their peaceful teachings relate to the biblical account of the Sermon on the Mount. Grace responds in the affirmative, and quotes scripture. The other students begin texting their parents about the class, and the ensuing backlash draws the ire of Principal Kinney (Robin Givens). She reprimands Grace, saying that the teacher's faith clouded her judgment. Grace is subsequently brought before the School Board, who inform her that legal action will be taken against her as she has violated the separation of church and state. Grace's case draws the attention of Tom Endler (Jesse Metcalfe), a charismatic defense attorney who is willing to aid her despite being an unbeliever himself.
The School Board brings Grace's case before the Supreme Court, hoping to secure her termination and strip her of her teaching license unless she issues an apology, which Grace refuses to do. To Brooke's horror, confident prosecutor Pete Kane (Ray Wise) declares that the lawsuit will "prove once and for all that God is dead". His opening argument suggests that the society of the United States will crumble should Grace fail to be found guilty. Endler responds by stating that Grace was simply doing her job, and that the law separating church and state was written by Thomas Jefferson in an effort to protect the church, not persecute it. Kane builds a strong case against Brooke by bringing forward witnesses such as Kinney and Brooke's parents, prompting Endler to rethink their defense. Meanwhile Brooke, who has developed a new found faith, stands in solidarity with her friends against Kinney. The defense is dealt another blow when their key juror, Pastor David Hill (David A.R. White), becomes ill. Christian apologist J. Warner Wallace is called as an expert witness, arguing that it is illogical to think that the gospel was a conspiracy because despite facing persecution and death, none of the Apostles ever retracted the accounts of seeing the risen Jesus. Kane is floored to learn that Wallace was formerly an atheist who was converted to Christianity.
Brooke voices her support of Grace, and is allowed as a witness. Kane is able to trick her into admitting that it was Grace and not Brooke who initiated their first conversation about Jesus. As Grace becomes more and more discouraged, Brooke and her friends sing her a song in an attempt to build up her spirits. Using a tactic to position Grace as a hostile witness, Endler gets the judge to inform the jury not to let their bias or prejudices interfere with their verdict. The jury ultimately finds in favor of Grace, who rejoices along with Brooke and Endler as Kane stands humiliated.