It was announced on Wednesday that the board of PBS (the Public Broadcasting Service) had voted to prohibit religious programing on PBS stations. I have already seen the faux outrage in the conservative religious community – the ones who believe the government should shove Christianity down everyone’s throat. What the truth in the ban is that PBS stations aren’t allowed to broadcast church services. Some stations either are licensed to religious groups or show church services now. The ban only prevents new shows.
The vote by PBS’s board was a compromise from a proposed ban on all religious programming. Such a ban would have forced a few stations around the country to give up their PBS affiliation if they continued to broadcast local church services and religious lectures.
Until now, PBS stations have been required to present programming that is noncommercial, nonpartisan and nonsectarian. But the definition of “nonsectarian” programming was always loosely interpreted, and the rule had never been strictly enforced. PBS began reviewing the definition and application of those rules last year in light of the transition to digital TV and with many stations streaming programs over their Web sites. The definition doesn’t cover journalistic programs about religion or discussion programs that don’t favor a particular religious point of view.
So we can still see shows that talk about the history of religion, or the issues between religions, or shows focusing on a specific religion.
It is not censorship since church services on TV is not protected speech.