Atlanta TV to Show Trio of Baptists' Social Justice Documentaries


Interview subjects from three of EthicsDaily.com's social justice documentaries, which will air on the nation's largest interfaith broadcast channel beginning next month. (Photos: EthicsDaily.com)
Three interfaith and social justice documentaries produced by a Nashville-based nonprofit will air in the Atlanta-area market in early 2012.

Atlanta Interfaith Broadcasters, which offers 24/7 programming in the 19-county metropolitan Atlanta area, will begin airing in January 2012 three documentaries produced by EthicsDaily.com, an imprint of the Baptist Center for Ethics.

BCE and AIB began a conversation in June 2011 about broadcasting the documentaries, whose flavor fits with the Atlanta outlet's vision to promote dialogue among those of different faiths and socio-economic backgrounds.

The three documentaries cover Baptist-Muslim relationships, faith and taxation, and faith and immigration.

"AIB is honored to air the EthicsDaily.com documentaries on our cable and broadband channels because of the vital and timely information each one provides, as well as the crisp production values, from compelling images to engaging interviews," said Collie Burnett, AIB's CEO and president.

"These programs are what visual storytelling is all about: showing the human face of contemporary issues and ideas that are easily, otherwise misunderstood," said Burnett. "We at AIB look forward to a continued partnership with EthicsDaily.com to bring these and other topics to our audience."

"Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims," will air on AIB at 10 p.m. ET Friday, Jan. 6, as a special presentation. The 58-minute documentary first aired nationwide on some 130 ABC-TV stations in January and February 2010.

An encore presentation of "Different Books, Common Word" will follow at 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 7. The documentary features five stories of cooperation between Baptists and Muslims, including the first ever Baptist-Muslim dialogue outside Boston in January 2009.

"Gospel Without Borders," a documentary on faith and immigration released on DVD in late August, will air Feb. 3 and Feb. 4 in the same time slots as "Different Books, Common Word."

The documentary, for which the producers spent several days along the U.S.-Mexico border, is gaining traction as a moral resource tool as various statehouses have passed or are trying to pass anti-immigration legislation.

More than 5,000 copies of the DVD, which includes long and short versions of the documentary, have already been distributed through Catholic, Methodist, Baptist and other denominational bodies.

"Gospel Without Borders," which runs 53 minutes, will be supplemented in the time slot with an AIB interview with Cliff Vaughn, the documentary's co-director/producer.

Lastly, "Sacred Texts, Social Duty," a 58-minute examination of faith and taxation, will air March 2 and March 3, also in the same time slots.

"Sacred Texts" was originally produced to air on ABC-TV stations in late 2010, but when BCE refused to eliminate a sequence in which some clergy characterized the lottery as a form of "public tax evasion," network censors refused to air the program.

The AIB airing will mark the broadcast debut of the documentary featuring historian and Pulitzer Prize nominee Wayne Flynt and tax expert Ralph Martire.

"AIB's broadcasts of these EthicsDaily documentaries will be used in churches and other religious organizations, they will raise awareness and foster conversation, and hopefully lead to changes in attitudes, practices and laws that oppress the already disadvantaged," said Alan Culpepper, dean of McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University.

"The collaboration of EthicsDaily and AIB can therefore advance the work of both, and ultimately of all our common goals," said Culpepper, who is also vice chairman of AIB's board of directors.

Robert Parham, executive director of BCE and executive editor of EthicsDaily.com, said, "The emerging partnership with AIB represents another example of synergistic mutuality in which faith organizations accomplish more working together than apart to advance the common good."

He also said the collaboration with AIB nicely capped BCE's 20th anniversary, which saw breakthrough partnerships with Catholics and United Methodists.

AIB is the nation's largest interfaith broadcast channel. It reaches 1.3 million homes via Comcast Cable, AT&T U-Verse and Charter Communications. Its community partners include the Carter Center, the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, and the United Way.

AIB is a nonprofit organization begun in 1969. It launched a streaming network, AIBNET.tv, in 2006 and video on demand (VOD) a year later.

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