"Church and State" Press Release
"Church and State" premiers on CTTV

(Clinton Township, Mich.) -- Set to debut in Clinton Township on CTTV (Comcast Cable Channel 5 and WideOpenWest Cable Channel 10) on Friday, August 12 at 7 p.m., the newest production from Clinton Township Television (CTTV) is an 80-minute documentary on religious diversity and a perspective on the concept of “separation of church and State”.  The program, Church and State:  A Perspective, is produced by CTTV producer Charles Dewandeler, a Wayne State University film studies graduate who has been employed with CTTV since 2001.

“Charles Dewandeler had the idea over a year ago to do a program on the different religions practiced by Clinton Township residents.  It evolved into a documentary with substantial subject matter that is timely and educational, and that has far-reaching interest,” says Linda Badamo, CTTV station director.  “Knowing he had the collaborative support of myself and senior producer John Brooks, Charles took on a major production and did an excellent job showcasing the religions practiced not only in Clinton Township, but world-wide, and giving a top ten listing of the number of people practicing the different faiths.”

Viewers will not only find out some of the major religions which are practiced, but they will also receive a basic run-down of various religious beliefs, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and multiple Christian denominations.  The documentary also deals with the complex relationship between government and religion in western history, including but not limited to the role of religion in U.S. politics and demonstrating how the First Amendment has protected the rights of religious minorities in the United States for more than 200 years.

“After viewing the Church and State production, I feel that this work should be required viewing for those who need to understand the co-existing, diverse beliefs in the country, regional area, Macomb County and in Clinton Township,” said Eric Jackson, Clinton Township deputy supervisor and a member of the township's Cultural Diversity Committee.

Church and State:  A Perspective will be telecast starting Friday, August 12, at 7 p.m. and then daily thereafter through Thursday, August 18, at 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.  It will also be shared with all other area Government Access Channels for telecast on their systems.

“All people by whatever way they worship or that they don't worship are still guaranteed the rights of anyone else who lives here,” says Father Doc Ortman of St. Clement of Rome Church.

“The First Amendment of the Constitution provides two-fold protection to freedom of religion,” adds Professor Robert Sedler, who has taught law at Wayne State University for more than 25 years.

Both Fr. Ortman and Mr. Sedler were interviewed for Church and State:  A Perspective.

For the first six months of production, Dewandeler sought out interviews comprised of religious leaders and other figures from the area.  There are 12 interviews in total, four of which are religious leaders within Clinton Township.  Those within the township include:  Pastor Bill Revoir, Cross Current Church; Pastor D.L. Bradley, Bethlehem Temple; Rev. Michael Nardin, Central Baptist Church; and, Rev. Steve Dekok, Bethany Baptist Church.

Also interviewed were:  Father Doc Ortman, St. Clement of Rome Church; Rabbi Dan Syme, Temple Beth El; Parang Geri Larkin, Still Point Buddhist Temple; Pastor Phil Scharnitzke, Trinity Lutheran Church; Professor Robert Sedler, Wayne State University; Hamid Dana, N.C.C.J., Imam Shuajb Gerguri, Albanian Islamic Center; and Governor Jennifer Granholm.

Church and State: A Perspective addresses the current issues with the Supreme Court's recent Ten Commandments display in public buildings decision and other Supreme Court decisions pertaining to the First Amendment, plus a discussion of interfaith movements, which attempt to dispel false notions to create common bonds between people of all beliefs.  The program mentions the teaching of evolution in public schools and the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “under God”.

When asked what interested him in producing this documentary, Charles Dewandeler said, “I have been moderately interested in religious and political studies since before 9/11, but became even more interested afterward.  One image of 9/11 that I remember was footage of a truck driver waving an American flag and yelling `Send them all back', and I remember Muslims getting a bad rap because of one extremist sect (Al-Qaeda).  I think it's the job of the media to be interested in educating the public and reducing possible misconceptions.”