Culture

Super Bowl Commercial: While Fox Rejected It, I'll Gladly Play It

The commercial is meant to encourage fans to look up John 3:16 and consider its meaning…

…The John 3:16 commercial was produced by Fixed Point, a religious advocacy group based in Birmingham, Alabama. The group was set to pay about $3 million to have the ad aired on Fox Sports during the Super Bowl this Sunday, which will reach over 100 million viewers.

Religious leaders have expressed disappointment and confusion, especially since Fox commercials tend to be riddled with profanity and offensive images. Ads in the past have shown men kissing each other and scantily-clad women, among other sexually suggestive imagery.

However, the message of John 3:16 will get to the public regardless of Fox’s views. Since the ban, Fixed Point has purchased local TV commercial spots in Alabama. The commercial will not air in other states, but is circulating quickly over the internet.

For a company that bills itself as “fair and balanced,” Fox’s actions seem to tip the scale in one definitive direction.

Read more here.

Bible Archaeology

Saudi Arabia's War Against Archaeology

The Telegraph offers this analysis:

Saudi Arabia’s war between god and archaeology

For decades, Saudi Arabia’s powerful clerics have waged a bitter battle against pagan faiths, idol worship, heresy, alcohol – and archaeology.

From it:

Fears that archaeology could cast light on Saudi Arabia’s pre-Islamic past also led them to campaign against excavations.

But in recent years, Saudi Arabia’s monarchy appears to have been quietly defying the clerics who provided legitimacy to the regime ever since the founder of the dynasty, Mohammad bin Saud, signed a pact with the religious zealot Mohamed Ibn Abdul-Wahab in 1744 Saudi and French archaeologists are, for example, working in Maidan Saleh, the site of the ruins of a 2,000 year old city which once marked the southern limits of the Nabataean civilisation. The more than 100 tombs at Maiden Saleh, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is open to tourists.

Najran, where an ancient Christian kingdom was overrun by the Jewish king Dhu Nawas a century before the Prophet Muhammad’s birth in the 7th century CE, has yielded a treasure trove of ancient stone inscriptions.

There have also been significant finds at Jurash, overlooking the Red Sea, where US archaeologists have excavated new evidence on the trading routes which once ran across the region.

Prince Sultan Bin Salman, the first Saudi Arabian astronaut, played a key rule in easing up restrictions on archaeology, as head of the Kingdom’s commission for tourism and antiquities.

Museums in the Kingdom have now begun displaying finds from these sites – including nudes of Hercules and Apollo, cast in bronze. Female figurines, however, are still not on display.

However, there still seem to be limits to the kingdom’s tolerance of archaeology particularly when issues of faith are touched on. Public access to an ancient church discovered by tourists in 1986, for example, is still barred.

See also: Google Earth finds Saudi Arabias forbidden archaeological treasures, here.

Culture

Super Bowl Commercials: What $100,000 a Second Will Buy

The above was in The New York Times and,

For decades, most Super Bowl advertisers followed a simple rule: Keep commercials under wraps until the moment they go on the air.

But social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have ushered in a new era, and marketers are doing what was once unthinkable. In addition to offering sneak peeks of their spots and revealing contents of the commercials, many, like the vacation rental company HomeAway, are going the full Monty and sharing the entire ads in advance…

Read on here.

Church

Pope Benedictions

Pope Benedict XVI is on Facebook… well, sort of

Catholic News Agency has launched a new initiative on Facebook to share the words, thoughts and teachings of Pope Benedict XVI through a fan page, “Pope Benedictions.”

“Pope Benedictions” provides daily posts from the writings, homilies and speeches of the Holy Father.

Facebook users can now read the daily updates on their News Feed when they “like” the fan page. Readers can also share the post with family and friends on Facebook by liking and commenting on the individual updates.

“If you use Facebook like a lot of Catholics do, you’ll love to have this kind of resource,” said Ursula Murúa, CNA’s  Administrator for “Pope Benedictions.”

The new fan page is a natural outgrowth of the agency’s efforts to join in Pope John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.
 
“This page is really just a natural extension of the mission and purpose of Catholic News Agency,” explained Peter Zelasko, Multimedia Specialist for CNA. “The Holy Father’s personal witness is a daily reminder of our faith, even when we’re browsing the Internet or interacting with others on Facebook.”

You can visit the Facebook site here.