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 MSM or 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 who 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’s 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 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 find out the books were being sold at her grandchildren’s Catholic school. She had no idea the ripple effect her steps would have, but she just felt compelled to do something. She did her homework, gathered her information and started by talking with the school informing them about author Phillip Pullman and his attempts to use the books and the movie by the same name to attack the Catholic Church and promote atheism. Her activism not only led to changes at the school level, but also prompted phone calls from other concerned parents as well as 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, with the article going as far as to listing the contact information for Planned Parenthood. The teen publication was being sold again through the school system, so she also contacted the school, cancelled her daughter’s subscription, and then told the magazine 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 what really mattered to her was making the time to express her concerns. Yet another Mom wrote me not too long ago to say how her speaking to the manager at the local supermarket led to a number of steamy magazines being removed from the checkout counter shelves. None of these ladies was a politician or president of a large activist group. All of them 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.