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CWA Asks, 'Is There No Room for Jesus in Chicago?'

Contact: Stacey Holliday, Concerned Women for America, 202-488-7000 ext. 126


WASHINGTON, Nov. 28 /Christian Newswire/ -- In a blatantly discriminatory attempt to remove "Christ" from Christmas, the city of Chicago has threatened to drop its support of the 11th German-American festival, Christkindlmarket, unless the New Line Cinema movie, "The Nativity Story" is removed as an official sponsor of the festival.  "The Nativity Story" is a depiction of the historical and factual event which Christmas celebrates, the birth of Jesus Christ.  The movie opens nationwide on December 1.


The city of Chicago claims that having this movie sponsor their festival would "be insensitive to the many people of different faiths who come to enjoy the market for its food and unique gifts."  Cindy Gatziolis, a spokeswoman for the Mayor's Office of Special Events acknowledged there is a nativity scene, but also said there will be representations of other faiths, including a Jewish menorah, all put up by private groups. She stressed that the city did not order organizers to drop the studio as a sponsor.


"This kind of PC nonsense is so over the top, you want to make sure it's not an urban legend before you take it seriously," said Jan LaRue, CWA's Chief Counsel.  "Have the inmates running the Chicago asylum not noticed the 'Christ' in 'Christkindlmarket?'  If this kind of government influence over event organizers doesn't violate the Illinois Human Rights Act, what does?  Hopefully, saner minds will prevail after the good people of Chicago tell City Hall that this kind of anti-Christ intolerance has no place in their kind of town."


Lanier Swann, CWA's Director of Government Relations, said, "This entire scenario is so illogical that it would be humorous if it weren't true. To say that a film about the meaning of Christmas could offend those attending an event based entirely on Christmas is simply astounding. How is it that a nativity scene centered on the Christ child is perfectly acceptable, yet the sponsorship of a film explaining such a scene isn't? The 'trend' of being offended by the mere mention of Christ is so overdone that it is cliché."


Christina Kounelias, an executive vice president with New Line Cinema, said the studio's plan to spend $12,000 in Chicago was part of an advertising campaign around the country.  Kounelias said that as far as she knew, the Chicago festival was the only instance where the studio was turned down.


Christkindlmarket runs from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Eve. 


Concerned Women for America (CWA) is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.