Pittsburgh station fires talk host for caller's questioning papacy
Just how crazy in love with John Paul II are evangelical Protestants? They're punishing people for questioning the papacy.

Pittsburgh's WORD, an affiliate of Salem Broadcasting, has announced the firing of afternoon drive talk show host Marty Minto. His offense? He "entertained a caller's question about whether the late Pope John Paul II would go to heaven."

"WORD-FM needs to function in this city in support of the entire church — that means everybody — and not focus on denominational issues," general manager Chuck Gratner explained to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Minto told the paper, "I made it clear that the discussion was not an attack on the character of the pope but, rather, a look at the teachings — not only of John Paul, but the Catholic Church in general." Shows last week had discussions on Marian devotion, purgatory, and other Catholic doctrines. It was the kind of stuff that pretty much everyone was talking about.

But WORD was apparently distressed mostly about that heaven question.

"I said the question of whether a person is born again is something personal, something between an individual and the Creator," said Minto, who also pastors a small storefront church. "I believe it was a legitimate topic to discuss. … As far as I'm concerned, I was doing what I've always done on the radio — look at events around the world from a biblical perspective. I've always been willing to talk about controversial subjects."

His bosses disagreed. "I was called into the office after my show Friday and told that I was being let go because I was alienating the listeners."

The Tribune-Review notes that the archdiocese didn't complain, but that ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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