Chicago’s WLS-TV, the third-ranked ABC-TV station in the nation, will air “Different Books, Common Word: Baptists and Muslims” this Sunday, Jan. 17, at 12 p.m.

For the third weekend in a row, a number of ABC-TV stations across the country are broadcasting’s hour-long documentary that tells five stories about goodwill Baptists and Muslims in the United States engaged in interfaith dialogue and projects.


With few exceptions, “Different Books, Common Word” has received glowing reviews.


Perhaps some Americans have tired of the hate-speech between religions and are thankful to see a program where people of faith are involved in civil dialogue. Maybe those who see all Muslims as terrorists don’t know how to respond when they see Baptists and Muslims speaking thoughtfully to one another and seeking to advance the common good together in their communities. Possibly a backlash is on its way. We’re not sure how to explain the positive response. But at this point, we know that positive emails and calls outnumber negative ones on a ballpark scale of 9 to 1.


That’s an encouraging sign, and one that should motivate readers to contact their friends and family members about upcoming airings of our documentary.


Here are some upcoming airdates:


Saturday, Jan. 16


Kansas City (KMBC) at 2 p.m.


Watertown, N.Y., (WWTI) at 2 p.m.


Sunday, Jan. 17


Duluth, Minn., (WDIO) at 2 p.m.


El Paso, Texas, (KVIA) at 1:30 p.m.


Grand Rapids, Mich., (WZZM) at 12:30 p.m.


Huntsville, Ala., (WAAY) at 5 a.m.


Richmond, Va., (WRIC) at 12 p.m.


Syracuse, N.Y., (WSYR) at 1 p.m.


Waco, Texas, (KXXV) at 12:30 p.m.


Wausau, Wis., (WAOW) at 2 p.m.


If your local ABC-TV station has not yet aired the documentary, consider calling your station’s general manager and asking him or her to broadcast the program at a time that is good for people of faith.


I can testify from personal experience to the responsiveness of station managers and programming directors, who upon contact made good decisions about airing the program.


Additionally, I know of Baptist pastors and leaders who have contacted their ABC-TV stations about “Different Books, Common Word” and gotten a positive response. In one city, the ABC station had announced its airtime for our program, which is part of ABC’s “Vision and Values” series. The time was in a dead zone. Upon contact from area Baptist leaders, the station switched the airing to a mid-Sunday afternoon hour. In another city, a Baptist and a Muslim met with a station manager, who decided to broadcast the program and at a decent hour.


Outreach to your local station may make a difference in whether and when the documentary is aired. Advancing the common ground necessitates pro-active initiatives, rather a passive wishing that something will happen.


Know that ABC-TV stations have the right to air the program in January and February. For a list of ABC stations, click here.


Clips of the documentary were shown earlier this week at the annual gathering of the North American Baptist Fellowship, a regional arm of the Baptist World Alliance, which met in Dallas.


At a dinner event sponsored by Dallas Baptist University, 22 minutes of clips from the documentary were screened. Two interviewees – Sam Tolbert, general secretary of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., and Roy Medley, general secretary of the American Baptist Churches-USA – spoke to the executives of Baptist organizations about the documentary and the ongoing dialogue between Muslims and Baptists.


A third interviewee, David Goatley, executive secretary-treasurer of the Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, reported to the group that he had received a call from a pastor who said that upon viewing the documentary he was proud to be a Baptist.


The documentary presents Baptists and Muslims in a positive light, as those faithful to their own traditions and committed to loving their neighbors to advance the common good.


Will you encourage others to watch this documentary?


Robert Parham is executive editor of and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics.


To order the documentary on DVD, click here.


For a complete list of stations that have made the decision to air the documentary, click here.

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