Sunday was a good time to watch, but not listen, to the TV
At the start of the television season, The New York Times reported that network television and basic cable were going to push the limits of what's allowed on non-premium channels. The Times report focused on serial shows like The West Wing and Philly, but it turns out that some of the boundaries were pushed over the weekend by special movies. "Time to wash the speakers out with soap," reports the Associated Press's David Bauder. "This past weekend marked a milestone in televised swearing."

ESPN's A Season on the Brink, about basketball coach Bobby Knight, contained a lot of cussing, but simulcast the movie on ESPN2 with the words edited out. "You couldn't produce a movie on Bobby Knight and use phrases like 'aw, shucks' and 'golly gee,' network vice president Mark Shapiro told the AP. "It just wouldn't be believable." Also airing Sunday night was CBS's 9/11 documentary about firefighters at the World Trade Center attack. "The language was rough but the circumstances were rough," executive producer Susan Zirinsky says.

Parents Television Council president Brent Bozell says the 9/11 language was justified, but the ESPN film's use was gratuitous. "Hollywood has done movies involving probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people who were known to cuss," he told the news service. "Were they doing a disservice by not having them cuss? When was the last time you heard people see a movie, and say, if there was more cussing, it would be more realistic?"

Dobson airs his NRB message over Focus on the Family broadcast
As has been reported heavily on this site, Focus on the Family's James Dobson played a major role in the forced resignation of National Religious Broadcasters president Wayne Pederson. He felt personally attacked by Pederson's comments that Christian radio was getting too political, and had indicated Focus might leave NRB and he would not deliver his keynote address if Pederson was retained as president. After Pederson resigned, Dobson devoted his address to urging broadcasters to address the moral issues of the day.

Focus on the Family had reportedly planned to air the speech over Dobson's popular Focus on the Familydaily broadcast some time ago, but apparently those plans were scrapped. On Tuesday, however, his remarks finally got an airing. If you have RealPlayer, listen to what Dobson calls "a message that came from deep within my heart" here.

Dobson doesn't often spend multiple broadcasts in a week discussing controversial issues of the day—"issues of concern" usually are broadcast Mondays, with the rest of the week on less controversial fare (see Focus's recent broadcasts page for examples). But this week is heavier on the controversies: yesterday's broadcast was on the origins of homosexuality. Next Monday's broadcast will focus on allowing homosexuals to adopt children. Weblog readers will also want to check out the broadcasts on March 26, when Dobson talks about the history of Focus on the Family, and on March 27 and 28, when Pat Buchanan is scheduled to talk about his controversial book, The Death of the West.

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  • Assaults in a cloak of faith | Fake spiritual healers in immigrant communities prey on women and girls in hundreds of sexual attacks, police say. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Insurance won't cover abuse suits, archdiocese says | The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Boston acknowledged that its insurance would not cover settlements of suits against priests accused of sexually abusing children. (The New York Times)

  • Antidote to abuse | This time the settlement was not done to prolong the cover-up of archdiocesan officials' complicity in Geoghan's actions, but was part of a disclosure process that is essential to ending the scandal of clerical abuse. (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  • Watch that pedophile priest purge not become a witch-hunt | So much good is coming out of the purge now taking place in the U.S. Catholic Church; it would be a shame for it to get diluted by blind anger, scapegoating and an insidious kind of mob psychology. (Stephanie Salter, San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Ex-priest described at his trial as a 'rebel' | Kimball charged with rape, molestation (San Francisco Chronicle)

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Other stories of interest:

  • Russia's Protestants team up to get stronger voice | Baptists, Pentecostalists and Seventh-day Adventists unite to oppose government restrictions (The Moscow Times)

  • A nun's call for inclusion | The empowerment one feels in a collaborative community of religious women can't help but estrange you from the closed hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. (Eileen McNamara, The Boston Globe)

  • Sea World Orlando's joyful noise | Park plans to host a Christian music concert, joining other local theme parks that have held such performances in years past. (Associated Press)

  • In the land of faith, a time for utter disbelief | The Holy Land has become a war zone with no front. Returning to this place after an absence of more than three years is an exercise in sadness. (Serge Schmemann, The New York Times)

  • Homosexual teacher loses appeal in taunting suit | Tommy R. Schroeder claimed he was driven to a nervous breakdown and disability retirement in 1998 by five years of crude heckling by elementary and middle-school students in Wisconsin (The Washington Times)

Related Elsewhere

See our past Weblog updates:

March 13 | 12 | 11
March 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4
March 1 | February 28 | 27 | 26 | 25
February 22 | 21 | 20 | 19 | 18
February 15 | 14 | 13 | 12 | 11
February 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4