HOLLYWOOD, CA, January 31, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The song she sang was nominated for an Academy Award, but the Oscar board revoked the nomination. Now prominent pro-life Christian Joni Eareckson Tada hopes the nearly unprecedented move will draw more attention to the family-friendly film it is in.
“While I can only imagine the disappointment of the songwriters of 'Alone Yet Not Alone' in the rescinding of their Oscar nomination, it in no way detracts from either the song’s beauty or its message,” Joni (pronounced “Johnny”) told LifeSiteNews.com in a statement that was subsequently posted on her website.
Tada, who is wheelchair-bound, expressed gratitude “for the attention the nomination brought to this worthy song and the inspirational film behind it, as well as to the ongoing work of [her ministry] Joni and Friends to people affected by disabilities.”
“The decision by the Academy to rescind the nomination may well bring even further attention, and I only hope it helps to further extend the message and impact of the song,” she said hopefully.
The nomination of Alone Yet Not Alone surprised many, since the film, which details how the Christian faith sustained a family captured by the Delaware Indians during the French-Indian War, had a limited release before a tiny audience. It will be released in full later this year.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated songwriters Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel for Best Original Song for the theme song of the film Alone Yet Not Alone. But on Tuesday, the board stripped the film of the nomination, saying that Broughton had sent an e-mail to members of the Academy asking them to consider his song.
That gave the film “the appearance of an unfair advantage,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the group's president, said.
LSN asked Joni if she believed anti-Christian bias played a role in the Academy's decision.
“Regarding the reasons for the nomination being rescinded, it is not my place to speculate as I have no insights into the workings of the entertainment industry,” she said. “If it were for reasons connected with the faith-based message of this film, we shouldn’t be surprised that Hollywood shuns Christ and His message. He was shunned by weightier adversaries than those in the field of entertainment.”
Tada may be seen in a video praying for God's assistance before recording the once-Oscar-nominated song. “You know this body. You formed this body. This is a quadriplegic body that is broken, my lungs are limited, but there's this fine balance between presenting to You all my weakness, and thinking that it can't be done,” she prayed. “I don't want to think it can't be done.”
“Please give me Your strength,” she asked.
Joni became paralyzed at the age of 17 after a diving accident, leading her to a deeper faith in Christ and eventually forming her ministry, Joni and Friends, in 1979. Her encouraging five-minute daily radio commentary is heard on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.
Alongside her ministry, Tada has become an outspoken supporter of the right to life from conception to natural death. “Given my experience with quadriplegia and other forms of disability, I have a special concern to protect and value life in every aspect,” she has written.
“The infant who is developing inside its mother's womb, and who at just a few weeks' gestation already has more mobility than I do, is a human life and a real person,” she said, “and therefore we must give our all to protect that life.”
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She has expressed concern over programs to institutionalize disabled people and government rationing of health care. “If decisions are made by government,” she wrote, “decisions on who gets treatment (and who doesn't) could mean life or death for many, especially the elderly and those with disabilities.”
The nomination of a song by a singer with 51 percent of her lung capacity showed the possibilities inherent in any disabled person, she said.
Joni said she “was as surprised as anyone when I learned of the song’s nomination.”
“I was honored to be invited to sing the song, and it will always be a treasured experience,” she said.
You may see a 28-minute video about her life and testimony here.