WHAT CAN WE SAY? - Conservative screed leaves us slack-jawed

We received the following e-mail just now, and it bears reading. (Our comments in red; please add your comments below.) As you'll see, facts don't get in the way of an impassioned argument, and the opinion of the majority of Americans has little connection with these folks' reality. Enjoy.


Note to Editor:

The guest column/op-ed piece below is submitted for consideration for use prior to or after the opening of "The Nativity Story" movie on Dec. 1. [We get these kinds of things all the time, seeking to use our pages for personal or partisan gain. I hate them and never publish them, but read some for the sheer entertainment value.]

To interview Dr. Ted Baehr, contact Matti Stevenson, LegacyRoad Group, at 719-388-1603 or For more information, go to [Great - I've been hoping to talk to them.]


'The Nativity Story' Has Important Message for Today's Teenagers

By Dr. Ted Baehr and Dr. Tom Snyder

"The Nativity Story" movie, which tells the story behind the Greatest Story Ever Told, the birth of Jesus Christ, has an important message about faith, honor and purity for today's teenagers. [No actual doctors would use this kind of language. And of course, they're not: Baehr is a "juris doctor," which is a Latin way to say "lawyer." Snyder has a PhD in film studies.]

The movie depicts Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph, the step-father of Jesus, as a young, upstanding couple of their [Jewish] community who are touched by the Holy Spirit of God. As devout believers in the God of the Holy Bible [Torah], Mary and Joseph are confronted with a moral dilemma that creates tremendous social pressures on them.

Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary. [Too bad - she was really good in Whale Rider.]

Oscar Isaac as Joseph. [His first name means "Lover of Deer;" his last name is Biblical in origin.]

Although this Christmas Story took place 2,000 years ago, it has great resonance for our world today.

First, despite the problems and pressures it would cause for her, Mary gladly accepts the call of God to become the Holy Vessel for the Son of God. [But didn't the Angel Gabriel have to appear to her and tell her not to be scared? She'd never even spent a night alone with Joseph, and here she is preggers. That is scary.] Though she suffers the scorn of the community, she sticks by her faith in God and     what He is doing through her.

In fact, back in the days when this story took place, it was not uncommon for unwed mothers to disappear, deliver their babies secretly and leave their babies out in the wilderness to die. [This type of thing still happens in some countries around the world. Are the writers upset about that?] Instead of killing her baby, however, Mary treasures her baby, Jesus, as a miraculous, divine gift from God.

As C. Raymond van Pletsen writes in "The Nativity Story: The Faith of Mary," Mary "responded" to God's love and believed in Him.

Second, Mary's betrothed, Joseph, was able to stand by his fiancee because he too responded to God's love and believed in Him. [Imagine the act of faith this must have required - to believe that your teenage fiancee had not, in fact, had an affair, or been raped, but instead was impregnated by God - whose interactions with humans, legend has it, weren't so much gentle as violent.]

Joseph's faith and trust in God gave him great courage to obey God, resist social pressure and take Mary home to be his wife. That courage, trust and faith inspired Joseph to protect Mary's holy child, Jesus, when His life was in danger.

Today's teenagers are daily bombarded with hedonistic, pagan images and sounds of sex in the mass media.[It is very rare that I have heard the "sounds of sex in the mass media." And I had no idea that the sounds of sex were pagan.] No wonder that a recent medical study revealed that half of all of today's teenagers will get a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) by the time they are 25-years-old! [Not so. A study in 2004 cited on this page by the Centers for Disease Control says half of all new infections of HIV (just one STD) will be in people under 25. That's very different from what this "doctor" is alleging. And another study, this one cited in a news report by the American Medical Association, gets closer, but still proves the assertion false: "one of two sexually active young people" will get an STD by age 25 (emphasis added). But despite this inaccuracy, perhaps the rhetoric might sink in, if not the facts: still no movement on condoms or sex education?]

Today, of course, an STD can kill you. In fact, some STDs can kill you long before any second-hand cigarette smoke will! [All the more reason to focus our resources on teaching kids how to stay safe from any kind of hazard.]

Another recent study, by the journal of the American Association of Pediatrics, [It's the American Academy of Pediatrics] found that teenagers listening to music with explicit sexual lyrics fornicate sooner than teenagers who do not. [The others just "mess around," we presume. They haven't heard the songs with those "nasty" words, like "fornicate." And by the way, here's the abstract of the study, which clearly states that "degrading sexual lyrics" are the problem - not "other sexual lyrics."]

These two studies show clearly that following the example of sexual purity and honor set by the Virgin Mary and Joseph is not just some quaint remnant of Medieval Times or the Victorian Age. It's a matter of Life and Death.

If explicit depictions of sex in the media encourage teenagers to cave to social pressures to have sex before marriage, then "The Nativity Story" and other positive media products like it can help teenagers to avoid media pressure, peer pressure and pressure from misguided school teachers luring lure them into a world of lust and sexual immorality that could lead to sickness and even death. [Are these the health teachers who want to make sure kids know how to use a condom and know how not to catch STDs? NPR reported that this debate was "over" two years ago!]

Of course, Mary and Joseph were able to remain pure because they had a strong faith in God and His promises of the coming Messiah in Mary's womb. Because of their strong faith, they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to follow humbly the commands of God.

This shows that, when we have faith in God, faith in His miraculous promises to us, and faith in His Holy Word, the Holy Spirit can use that faith to help us do what God says, regardless of the cost.

By having the same kind of faith as Mary and Joseph, today's teenagers can resist poor choices and pressures running rampant in our society. It was a faith in the Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true Light who enlightens all people. Jesus is full of God's Grace, Truth and Love.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound!

Dr. Ted Baehr is a noted critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He is founder and publisher of Movieguide ( and is chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission. Dr. Tom Snyder, editor of Movieguide, has more than 15 years experience as a political journalist. He has a Ph.D. in film studies from Northwestern University.

To interview Dr. Ted Baehr regarding "The Nativity Story," contact Matti Stevenson, LegacyRoad Group Publicity, at 719-388-1603 or

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