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Vol. 1 No.25                                                                                                                                December 7, 2004

          From the Desk of Pastor Rick Scarborough


Many shoppers get a warm glow when they throw a few coins – or bills – into a Salvation Army kettle. It reminds them that Christmas isn’t just about frantic shopping and gross consumption – but helping the poor and needy while we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Over the decades, the Army has been a blessing the less fortunate. In doing so, it’s built up an enormous reservoir of good will. For the Target Corporation, that could pose a serious PR problem with a bottom-line backlash.

This year, Target decided that the Salvation Army would no longer be allowed to set up kettles at its 1,200 retail stores in the U.S. In years past, the Army raised about $9 million from Target shoppers – a serious loss.

But the loss could also extend to the department-store chain. Groups like The American Family Association are urging their members to boycott Target. They note that its chief rival, Wal-Mart, welcomes Salvation Army bell-ringers.

In an attempt to justify the move, Target spokeswoman Carolyn Brookter explains, “Part of what we offer as a brand experience is a distraction-free shopping experience, and I like to think that’s one reason people like to come here.”

Distraction – that’s an interesting way to put it. We wouldn’t want to interfere with shopping orgies by reminding customers that there’s another dimension to Christmas – helping others in the name of a child born in a stable.

Rather than a stable, Target may soon find itself in the doghouse. There are still enough Christians who remember what the holiday really is about – and even non-Christians who respect the Army’s work – to generate a well-deserved backlash.


In one of the more egregious instances of anti-Christian bias, the town of Bar Harbor Islands, Florida allows the public display of Jewish symbols, but not those of Christians.

For the second straight year, the town has refused to allow Christian resident Sandra Snowden to display her own Nativity scenes on public property. At the same time, the town adorns lampposts with Stars of David and allows a local synagogue to set up a 14-foot Menorah in a prominent public setting.

When Snowden’s request was rejected in October, a town official condescendingly commented, “It is sad to see one get deeply offended by something as trivial as holiday decorations.”

Apparently, the official doesn’t understand that for Christians our faith isn’t a trivial thing, but our very essence. How could Christians not be offended by such blatant discrimination – allowing other religions to proclaim their faith, but not us? (The Menorah symbolizes the miracle of Hanukah – God’s intervention in the affairs of man.)

The Thomas More Law Center ( has filed a suit in Snowden’s behalf. Palm Beach, Fla. recently agreed to pay $50,000 in attorney’s fees and apologize for not allowing crèches on public property while permitting the display of Menorahs.

Bar Harbor Islands’ action is just one more example of the ongoing campaign to purge Christianity from a Christian holiday. It’s a pity that -- at a time of the year when we celebrate good will toward men -- some have so little in their hearts for us.


It was denounced as overly violent – and even anti-Semitic – but Mel Gibson’s “The Passion” continues to break records and roll-up profits.

Released nine months ago, thus far, “The Passion of Christ” has a domestic box office gross of close to $425 million – giving it the all-time highest box office sales for a film not released in the summer or during a holiday season.

On the first day of its release on DVD, 4.1 million copies of “The Passion” were sold. DVD sales alone are projected to exceed $350 million.

And this, mind you, was a movie the studios wouldn’t touch. Gibson had to gamble $30 million of his own money to make “The Passion” – for which he has been abundantly rewarded.

Given the extreme secularism of Hollywood, don’t expect Gibson’s masterpiece to take home many (any?) Oscars. But it could do very well in the People’s Choice Film Awards – which lets the public pick their favorite films of the year. You can cast your ballot for “The Passion” on-line at (the film is category 2 of 8 categories.) You have until December 13 to vote. Already, “The Passion” is in the Top 5 for the People’s Choice Awards Favorite Movie Drama.

Help send Hollywood a message by registering your support.


Even though it’s still on The New York Time’s Bestsellers List, production is set to start soon on the movie version of “The Da Vinci Code.” Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard, Hollywood is giving the project all the fire-power it can muster.

But Sony Studios is rightly nervous about the reaction from Christian America, and is casting about for Christian scholars willing to add their names to this sacrilege.

It won’t be easy to sanitize the book’s – and presumably the film’s – central premise: That Jesus was just a man, and that he and Mary Magdalene had a child, whose descendants are roaming about Europe today, as is an evil Catholic order which commits murder to suppress the truth.

Now, how on Earth do you make that acceptable to Christians?

How far we’ve come from the days of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and “The Robe” (when the movie industry honored Christianity) to “The Last Temptation of Christ,” and now “The Da Vinci Code,” where Hollywood goes out of its way to insult us.

We hope it discovers that its actions are not without consequences. Prepare for a battle royal over this one.


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