Tuesday, February 27, 2007

TOPIC: IRD Promotes 'Amazing Grace' -- Criticizes Jesus Tomb Documentary
The entertainment industry should take a cue from the success of the film "Amazing Grace" and direct its efforts toward faith- affirming productions instead of those that tear down religious faith, according to Institute on Religion & Democracy President Jim Tonkowich.
Tonkowich's comments were directed at a new documentary program airing on the Discovery Channel featuring artifacts that allegedly debunk central Christian doctrine. This past weekend, the film "Amazing Grace," about the life of British abolitionist William Wilberforce, appeared in the box office top 10, despite being in only limited release. IRD President Jim Tonkowich commented:"In a time when people struggle with the discouraging realities of war, poverty and injustice, the entertainment industry should be seeking to uplift rather than tear down."
"The Discovery Channel's program is an absurd venture into irresponsible conjecture that appears to be designed to tear at the fabric of the faith and hope of billions worldwide. This controversy is not about a silly documentary that will be quickly forgotten. Rather, it is about recognizing religious faith as legitimate, credible and beneficial to society. Much like the DaVinci code, the documentary promises a tantalizingly alternative view of Biblical events, but ultimately offers little more than groundless speculation. An ossuary labeled "Jesus" is about as specific to Christ as a chunk of wood that is claimed to be a part of the Ark. This program about Jesus' alleged tomb is little more than a cynical ratings ploy that deserves to be buried with all of the other fantastical claims that arise about the "real" Jesus this time of year.
The Institute on Religion and Democracy, founded in 1981, is an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches' social witness, in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings, thereby contributing to the renewal of democratic society at home and abroad.

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