Media Watch

Most Americans Believe Christmas Story

MSNBC.COM, Dec. 5 — Some Americans seem so afraid of offending those of a different religion that they are willing to celebrate the “holiday spirit” with no acknowledgment of what exactly that holiday is. But a Newsweek poll suggests that far fewer folks than suspected would be miffed by a public official or sales clerk saying “Merry Christmas.”

According to results of a poll concerning beliefs about Jesus, 79% of Americans believe the Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ — including the fact that he was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit. “Sixty-seven percent say they believe that the entire story of Christmas — the virgin birth, the angelic proclamation to the shepherds, the Star of Bethlehem and the Wise Men from the East — is historically accurate,” the news website reported. “Twenty-four percent of Americans believe the story of Christmas is a theological invention written to affirm faith in Jesus Christ.”

Further, 93% of Americans believe Christ lived, and 82% believe he is God or the son of God.

Networks Pull Ad Implying Churches Homophobic

THE NEW YORK TIMES, Dec. 2 — The United Church of Christ accused NBC and CBS of caving into fears of “conservative political and religious groups” in rejecting a TV ad, the Times reported.

Whether intended or not, the ad subtly implies that some churches are unwelcoming to homosexuals and minorities. The commercial depicts what appear to be bar bouncers in front of a church, turning away minorities and men who appear to be homosexual.

“Jesus didn't turn away people, and neither do we,” the ad tells viewers. While never using the word “gay,” the spot concludes with a panorama of people, including two women, one of whom has her arm around the other.

The networks said they don't allow “advocacy advertising” and have declined numerous issue-oriented commercials in the past.

In a press release Dec. 3, the Family Institute of Connecticut's Brian Brown disputed statements that the ad was meant as a message of tolerance and inclusion. “There's a difference between faithfully upholding the scriptural prohibitions against homosexual activity and forbidding those with such inclinations from entering your church,” Brown said. “No pro-family church does the latter.”

World Youth Day Website Co-Opted

LIFESITENEWS.COM, Dec. 7 — A website that kept hundreds of thousands of young people informed about the 2002 World Youth Day gathering with Pope John Paul II in Canada is now listing abortion clinic addresses. quoted website designer Anton Casta as saying the domain name, which is linked by more than 1,300 other websites, had been “stolen.”

That might have been avoided. Father Thomas Rosica, national director of World Youth Day from 2002-2003, told LifeSiteNews that the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops directed him to close the website and ship its server to them in Ottawa. The conference assured him they would reactivate the site, but the conference failed to renew its ownership of the domain name on time. A Massachusetts company called the Tidewinds Group grabbed it.