One prayer or Christmas wish that has been on my heart this season is for Catholics and other Christians to realize the importance of using their voices to challenge the agenda of the mainstream media. I am not just referring to the news media, but the mass media in general – including the TV networks, advertising industry, the music business, along with the powers that be in Hollywood that work so hard to grab our attention and our hard earned money while spewing out material that is often contrary to our faith. Lately there has been a laundry list of new studies confirming the attacks Christians are facing from the culture. Whether it’s a report on the long term effects of violent video games on teens or a Parents TV Council analysis revealing an increase in harsh profanity on prime time broadcast television, the media landscape looks pretty grim.
No doubt that trying to monitor all the messages and images that are fed to families through the radio, TV, movies, music, newspapers, and magazines could easily end up being a full time job. But it’s important not to feel hopeless. We do have more influence than we realize but most important is taking a stand for what is right and good.
Take for example the case involving a listener of mine from Flint, Michigan. It was two years ago during Advent that this concerned grandmother learned about the atheist agenda behind the “Golden Compass” books and movie. She was appalled to discover that the books were being sold at her grandchildren’s Catholic school.
She had no idea the ripple effect her steps would have, she just felt compelled to do something.
This woman did her homework, gathered her information and started by informing the school about author Phillip Pullman and his attempts to use the books and movie by the same name to attack the Catholic Church and promote atheism. Her activism not only prompted changes at the school level but also led to interviews with the local newspaper and television station. You may recall that because of other individual grassroots efforts like this, the “Golden Compass” film bombed at the box office and book sales were also greatly impacted.
Another listener contacted me to explain how she was canceling her daughter’s subscription to a popular teen magazine after its November issue promoted birth control and sexual promiscuity. The article even went as far as to list the contact information for Planned Parenthood. The teen publication was being sold through the school system, so she also contacted the school, canceled her daughter’s subscription, and then told the magazine the reason why her daughter wouldn’t be getting the magazine any longer. So far she hasn’t heard back from the editor but she told me that what really mattered to her was taking the time to express her concerns.
Neither of these ladies were politicians or presidents of a large activist groups. They were simply active citizens willing to take a stand. In the end, while the change they prompted was very affirming, at the top of their list was their desire to speak out even if it meant being that lone voice in the wilderness.
As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “God doesn’t expect us to be successful, only faithful.” I think we would all be a lot merrier this Christmas if we too would take the time out to be faithful and speak up for Godly principles and traditional values. What a gift for our families this season, especially the Holy Family.