NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) — A billboard deemed too political and incendiary for the Republican National Convention has found a home in Middle Tennessee.
A local advertiser heard the religious advertisement had been rejected in Cleveland and decided to take action.
The billboard advertises God’s Not Dead 2, a movie that the filmmakers said is about freedom of speech and religion.
The movie will be released on DVD in August. Pure Flix, the production company, wanted to advertise in Cleveland during the Republican convention.
“Given the conservative of the individuals descending upon Cleveland around the RNC, we felt like it was a great area to advertise and profess religious freedom because that was basically the GOP messaging since the start of the campaign,” said Steve Fedyski, COO of Pure Flix.
Advertising company Orange Barrel rejected the ad featuring actress Melissa Joan Hart and the words, “I’d rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.”
Fedyski said Orange Barrel told them the billboard was too political, scandalous and incendiary for the convention.
“I look at basic religious freedom messaging, that’s exactly what God’s Not Dead is all about,” he said.
The billboard never made it to Cleveland. Instead, it’s in Pulaski, Tenn., at the corner of West College and Highway 64.
“For us, that’s a message we’re not afraid of, and the fear of being politically correct is trumped by our desire to promote the positive message,” said Ike Wingate with Wingate Media Group.
Wingate heard about the controversy on social media and decided to donate the space, as well as 20 other indoor advertising screens.
“I believe in free speech. I believe in the freedom of religion. I believe we should do everything we can go protect it,” Wingate said.
An Orange Barrel spokesperson issued the following statement:
We offered to work with them on placement at an alternate venue, but Pure Flix declined to engage in these discussions.
The ads would normally cost around $900, but Wingate is donating the space. The indoor ads are in businesses in Williamson and Maury counties. They will remain up until the movie’s release date on Aug. 16.