TV president: 'To Hell with you, God"
Wednesday night's finale of The West Wing, the NBC show about life in the White House, had an extended scene where President Josiah Barlet prays in the National Cathedral. But it doesn't begin, "Our Father … " It starts by calling God a "son of a bitch" and a "feckless thug." And it gets worse from there. But perhaps to keep the NBC switchboard from blowing a fuse, they had Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) deliver the prayer in Latin:

Am I really to believe that these are that acts of a loving God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you.

Yikes. Bartlet, you see, was upset with the death of his personal secretary, and was about to announce that he had M.S., and … never mind. Television critic David Bianculli notes that The West Wing's writers may have taken a note from last year's season finales. Last May, he notes, "Andy Sipowicz sat in a small, austere chapel addressing the Supreme Being in language the NYPD Blue detective ordinarily reserves for peddlers of kiddie porn." But, Bianculli notes, the prayers were set in a context that doesn't make them as outrageous as Weblog's little excerpt here might make them seem. "Jed Bartlet's faith was intact by Wednesday's closing credits, and there's reason to believe Andy Sipowicz has more faith than he lets on."

The real president prays, tooWednesday's Weblog noted the heat that Attorney General John Ashcroft has taken in the media for holding prayer meetings in his Justice Department office. Now, apparently, it's Bush's turn. "President's faith is a 'great comfort' to him," says a headline on this morning's ...

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