On the Bright Side:
ABC Focused on Teen's Faith
"Today at Cassie Bernallís
funeral friends and family celebrated the strength of one young girlís
faith," ABCís Peggy Wehmeyer observed in opening a story unusual for
network TV, about how church and faith straightened out a wayward teen.
Various forms of Wehmeyerís April 26 profile of one of the students
killed at Columbine High School ran on Good Morning America,
World News Tonight, and 20/20.
On World News Tonight
Wehmeyer, the only religion reporter employed by a network, noted how
Cassie Bernallís "story has touched the Christian community here because
of how she responded when she was challenged by her killer." Her father
told Wehmeyer how one of the killers asked Cassie if she believed in
God, "she boldly said yes" and was shot dead.
Wehmeyer explained how religion
turned Cassieís life around: "Cassieís faith in God had not come easily.
In her early adolescence she was angry and rebellious, dabbling in
witchcraft and experimenting with drugs and alcohol." Her parents felt
they had to step in, Wehmeyer recalled: "Cassie wasnít allowed to see
her friends or use the phone. The only place she could go was to church,
to an intense weekend church retreat which her parents said changed her
Her mother told Wehmeyer: "She
looked at me in the eye and she said, ĎMom, Iíve changed.í" Wehmeyer
picked up: "Just two days before she died Cassie Bernall recorded these
words on a video for her youth group." Viewers saw Cassie in a home
video proclaiming something possibly unprecedented for a network news
story to include: "You really canít live without Christ. Itís like
impossible to really have a true life without him."
Wehmeyer concluded by
highlighting Cassieís legacy: "Today Cassieís friends and family are
determined that she will be remembered as a modern day martyr, a young
woman willing to die for her faith."
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