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CULTURE DIGEST: Creation Museum focuses on Christmas; DVD player edits bad content from movies

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Creation Museum, a ministry of Answers in Genesis, is offering a special planetarium presentation called “The Christmas Star,” which addresses the “remarkable astronomic event that occurred at the birth of the Savior.”

The popular Cincinnati-area museum in Petersburg, Ky., also is hosting a live nativity featuring a representation of a small first-century home in Bethlehem, where an archeologist, speaking to visitors from the flat roof of the home, explains the historical account of Christ’s birth.

Dubbed “Bethlehem’s Blessings,” the outdoor nativity scene includes costumed actors portraying Roman soldiers, and it is accompanied by thousands of 21st-century Christmas lights and a warm fire along the trail.

“As Christians, we love to celebrate Christmas in a big way and to remind our visitors of the importance of Christ’s birth as part of the culmination of God’s plan for humanity,” said Ken Ham, founder and president of the museum. “While creation is a big focus of the museum, it is one part of the history we teach here, helping our guests to understand how it all fits together.”

The museum has attracted more than 900,000 visitors since it opened in May 2007, and in October Answers in Genesis was recognized by the Kentucky Tourism Council for excellence in tourism marketing.

Billboards for the museum won “Best of Show” honors out of more than 200 entries; television ads won first place and the souvenir guide won first place in the visitor’s guide category at the tourism council’s Traverse Awards presentation.

“We congratulate the Creation Museum on this regional achievement and look forward to their continued amazing attendance,” said Tom Caradonio, president of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bethlehem’s Blessing is a free event scheduled for Dec. 11-12, 18-19 and 26 and Jan. 1-2 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are required for The Christmas Star planetarium show as well as for a tour of the museum, which presents a scientific explanation for the biblical view of creation as well as a Gospel presentation through various exhibits including the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark.

For more information, visit creationmuseum.org.

DIVORCE REDEFINED MARRIAGE, SOCIOLOGIST SAYS — In an extensive report titled “The Evolution of Divorce,” University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox explains how divorce redefined marriage in the latter quarter of the 20th century.

The article, published in the inaugural issue of the journal National Affairs this fall, traces the rise of divorce which began in 1969 when Gov. Ronald Reagan of California signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill, something he later would call one of the biggest mistakes in his political career.

The sexual revolution as well as scholars, therapists and journalists served as enablers for the divorce epidemic even as churches lost much of their moral authority to reinforce marital vows, said Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at UVA.

“The divorce revolution’s collective consequences for children are striking,” Wilcox wrote. “Taking into account both divorce and non-marital childbearing, sociologist Paul Amato estimates that if the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960, the nation would have 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, 1.2 million fewer school suspensions, approximately 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy, and approximately 70,000 fewer suicide attempts every year.

“As Amato concludes, turning back the family-stability clock just a few decades could significantly improve the lives of many children,” Wilcox said.

Among the statistics Wilcox cited in his article:

— About two-thirds of divorces are legally initiated by women.

— In the early 1970s, 70 percent of married men and 67 percent of married women reported being very happy in their marriages; by the early ’80s, these figures had fallen to 63 percent for men and 62 percent for women. “So marital quality dropped even as divorce rates were reaching record highs,” Wilcox said.

— Marriage rates have fallen and cohabitation rates have surged in the wake of the divorce revolution as men and women’s faith in marriage has been shaken. About 40 percent of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting union, and 20 percent of babies are now born to cohabiting couples.

— The tide is starting to turn as views of marriage have been growing more conservative among elites but not among the poor and the less educated.

“Parents, churches, schools, public officials and the entertainment industry will have to do a better job of stressing the merits of a more institutional model of marriage,” Wilcox said, defining the institutional model as one that emphasizes sacrifice over individual fulfillment.

To read the entire report, visit nationalaffairs.com.

BRINGING BACK FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT — Just in time for Christmas, ClearPlay, the company behind the one-of-a-kind DVD player that filters out objectionable content from movies, released a new model in November that will appeal to the technologically savvy person. The new model (ClearPlay 747-HD) “up-converts” DVDs and uses an HDMI connection, allowing for a sharper picture — particularly on high-definition flat-panel TVs — and better sound quality. Retail price is $119.99.

ClearPlay made the news several years ago when Hollywood studios and directors filed suit and tried to shut down ClearPlay and a handful of other companies. But in 2005 Congress passed and President Bush signed a law that protected any company that produces a movie-editing DVD player, of which ClearPlay currently is the only one. The suit was successful in shutting down companies like CleanFilms and CleanFlicks, both of which physically altered DVDs and rented out “clean” R-rated films.

ClearPlay uses a different technology than those out-of-business companies. With the use of “filters” — downloaded on a USB drive — the DVD player skips sexually explicit and violent scenes and mutes foul language. The player comes with 12 customizable categories. A subscription is required for filters for new movies. ClearPlay CEO Don Atkinson said the new player even has improved menus and a better remote.

“With your help we are bringing back FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT,” he wrote in an e-mail to subscribers.

For information visit clearplay.com. The player is on backorder at Clearplay’s website but is available at SewellDirect.com for $99.95.
Erin Roach is a staff writer a Baptist Press. With reporting by Michael Foust, an assistant editor at Baptist Press.

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