Noting that “Federal law does not bar showing the services on public television,” PBS fears that religious orientated programing “would cause the public’s trust in PBS to erode.” Given that PBS’s audience is so liberal, I am surprised that there is much of an audience there for religious broadcasts, but I am not surprised by this move. Fox News has the story here:
PBS board members, who for 25 years have turned a blind eye to religious programming at some of their member stations’ religious programing, have decided to enforce a rule banning the broadcasts — a move that spells the beginning of the end for religious shows on public television. Six PBS stations currently broadcast “sectarian” programs produced by local religious groups, including the morning “Mass for Shut-Ins,” which is popular among elderly and ailing Catholics who cannot attend the daily service. Under the terms of a decision reached by the PBS board Tuesday, those stations can retain their current shows. And all stations can air programs and documentaries that cover sacred topics — even a newsworthy service, like a papal Mass. But no new religious shows can be offered, and none of the 350 other stations may air any purely spiritual content, a move some groups say is a quiet means of phasing out religion from their airwaves. “PBS’ goal is to not have religious programming on PBS affiliates of what we call ‘pure’ religious (content)” such as Masses or devotional readings, said Susan Briggs, director of Communications for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington… . .