[Note to Self: Set TiVo]
Christmas Magic Show Sparks Outrage
A Christmas magic show on British television claiming to recreate miracles – including making a virgin pregnant – has been condemned by Christian groups.
The Magic Of Jesus, broadcast on the independent Channel 4, features illusionists Barry Jones and Stuart McLeod attempting to see if eight New Testament "feats" are possible, reports The Sun newspaper of London.
The performers sought to raise a headless corpse from the dead, cure a blind person, feed 5,000 soccer fans with five loaves and two fishes, and walk on water, the paper said, but angry Christian leaders said Jones and McLeod are dishonest.
"Maybe these two fraudsters could try being crucified to see if they can rise three days later," said Bishop Michael Reid, founder of television watchdog the Christian Congress for Traditional Values.
"The big difference between a couple of tricksters performing illusions and our Lord's miracles is that Jesus actually healed people, raised the dead, and forgave sins," Reid argued.
In the "Virgin Mary" illusion, the performers passed an ultrasound scanner over a woman to demonstrate she was not pregnant. Then, just seconds later, the scanner purportedly picked up a heartbeat, though the woman never had sexual intercourse.
John Beyer of Mediawatch said the program "seems to me a calculated attempt to cause offense."
The show will be broadcast December 28.