The Internet is great level playing field for the expression of different points of view. In a matter of minutes someone with a gripe or praise can broadcast to a potential audience of billions. No single corporate entity owns the Internet and efforts to censor its content either have been struck down by the courts or those methods simply haven’t worked.
Those of us doing the broadcasting have almost unlimited freedom to say what we want how we want. But there is also a danger in that freedom. There is the danger of publicly showing how ignorant we are.
I post quite frequently here but I might spend a couple of hours on each post before showing it to the world. Most of that time is spent checking my facts and crafting the post to convey my point with the hope of persuading you.
For example, a recent post talked about a local minister and the electioneering he is doing for a GOP candidate for Ohio governor. In the post I mention the value of his church’s property and land with a link to the Franklin County Auditor’s property records site where I got the info.
An earlier draft mentioned that the church owned the minister’s house but I wasn’t sure that was true – it was something I heard. I looked up the info in the property records in the county he lives in and found he owns his own home. I deleted the comment about the church owning the house since I confirmed it wasn’t true. I simply won’t say something without trying to back it up.
I mentioned that a danger of the freedom of expression is showing everyone how ignorant we are especially when one fails to check even the simplest of facts.
Blogger Rob Hood shows his ignorance in his article published on the American Daily site. His article, that speaks out against religious liberty and tolerance, is chock full of many lies, some of them downright hilarious.
As we speak, liberal God hating groups are trying to silence Christianity. The same communists who took prayer out of school are now trying to take the name of Jesus out of the public arena. They are outraged when a politician even mentions the word of Jesus, even in a private meeting or prayer. Now these crazed madmen are wanting radio waves that whisper the name of our Lord and savior silenced. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is leading a boycott against Madeline O’Hare, a vowed atheist who alone is responsible for the discontinuation of the CBS show “Touched by an Angel” because it mentioned God too much. She is also responsible for taking prayer out of the schools. It’s almost as if she has joined the Taliban on her conquest to “kill the infidels” of Christianity. She is pushing for a FCC ruling to pave the way to stop the mention of Jesus on public airwaves and is using the age old “it offends people who don’t believe” sentence. The best thing she can do is change the channel. I say if Christians have to put up with watching vulgar filth and garbage on television, then she should have to listen to the word of God in return. It’s only fair in a democracy that we share both sides eh?
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family is leading a boycott against Madeline O’Hare, a vowed atheist who alone is responsible for the discontinuation of the CBS show “Touched by an Angel” because it mentioned God too much?
I’m assuming he is writing about Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the prime litigant in the famous Murray V. Curlett (1963) US Supreme Court case and founder of American Atheists.
Murray V. Curlett helped end the practice of having teachers or other school officials coordinate and even lead students in classroom prayer, creating a government endorsement of a particular religion, and religion in general. It was one of three cases decided around the same time that forced government and its agents (like teachers) to respect and enforce the separation of church and state. Her case helped protect religious liberty by getting government out of the religious cheerleading business. It didn’t take prayer out of the schools.
Now it is plausible that Dobson would call for a boycott against O’Hair, but is it true?
Had Mr. Hood done some basic fact checking he would know that O’Hair disappeared, along with son Jon and adopted daughter Robin in 1995. Two bodies were found in 2001 and one of the men suspected of their murder was convicted. Authorities found they had died in 1995, probably shortly after being kidnapped.
The TV show “Touched by an Angel”, about the adventures of 4 angels amongst us mortals, ran from 1994 to 2003. CBS canceled the show because of ratings and demographics. At the time, experts in the industry felt CBS’ demographics skewed too old and in an effort to appeal to a younger audience they canceled “Touched by an Angel”. It was replaced by the show “Joan of Arcadia” about a teen who speaks to God. If “Touched by an Angel” had been canceled for mentioning God then why did the network replace it with a show that also had God as major part of the show?
Mr. Hood’s comments about O’Hair pushing the FCC to ban Jesus from the public airwaves is based on a classic hoax that many religious conservatives have fallen for since the Internet became popular in the early 1990’s.
The comments most likely refer to a claim that O’Hair filed a petition with the FCC labeled RM-2493.
These statements did not stop the concern of some citizens. Messages have been spread on the internet stating that a ban on religious broadcasting is either being actively considered or has been recently enacted. Variations of this message state that atheists are circulating a petition in support of the ban; that religious people are circulating a petition to oppose the ban; that Madalyn Murray O’Hair is responsible for the ban (O’Hair had no association with RM-2493 and died in 1995); that Dr James Dobson is leading opposition to the ban (Dobson has stated he is aware there is no proposed ban and has not led any efforts in regard to it); and that the ban was responsible for the cancellation of the television series Touched by an Angel. The FCC states that is has received over 30,000,000 pieces of mail regarding this issue since 1975.
Even James Dobson denies Mr. Hood’s comments are true in this response I’ve received an e-mail about prayers and signatures needed to stop Petition 2493. Is it true?
Yes, Mr. Hood’s essay is hilarious as it shows his ignorance but it also shows the hypocracy of religious conservatives in response to what they think is offensive.
They cry and complain about Atheists or “communists” trying to remove God from the airwaves. They claim it is some conspiracy plot to force Christianity out of the public. Yet they see nothing wrong when they organize to try and force a TV network to remove a program they feel is offensive to religious people.
“The Book of Daniel” was a recent TV series about a drug addicted Episcopal priest and his dysfunctional family. The priest had conversations with Jesus in some odd places like his car while driving some where in hopes of helping him deal with is family issues.
James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and Donald E. Wildmon’s American Family Association helped lead an effort to have the show pulled from the airwaves by having their members complain to the advertisers on the show.
Along those same lines, Bob Waliszewski with Focus on the Family offered his take after previewing the pilot and one additional episode. Waliszewski is blunt about how he feels about the program.
“I find [The Book of Daniel] extremely repulsive in its portrayal of Jesus Christ and intentionally offensive in its flippant attitude toward behaviors almost universally agreed upon as unhealthy to society, morally bankrupt, and — dare I say it — sinful,” he says in a recent press release.
But the Focus on the Family spokesman says he most concerned about the “sardonic” depiction of the character of Jesus on the show, who he says is portrayed as a “wimpy, white-robed visitor who cares little about evil, addictions, and perversity.” Waliszewski worries how people unfamiliar with the real Jesus found in Scripture will respond.
“The ‘Jesus’ [in the program] is a long way from the holy compassionate Third Person of the Trinity who created the universe, then found the sin-problems of mankind so egregious that He gave His very life sacrificially to bring redemption,” he shares. “Viewers with limited knowledge of the Bible are going to be asking themselves, why was He crucified?”
Basically, says Waliszewski, Daniel’s Jesus “winks at the behaviors the genuine Jesus was crucified to save us from.” And that, he adds, is indicative of the program’s “callous attitude” towards anything Christian.
It would seem that non-believers don’t have the power that religious conservatives do to have TV shows canceled.
It is more likely that religious conservatives of all stripes want to suppress and censor any expressions they find offensive while seculars, like myself, like to take personal responsibly and not watch an offensive show. We really don’t want a special interest group or the government telling us what we can or can’t watch. That would be un-American.