Subject: Re: American Family Association censors
this is in response to a somewhat meandering message thread posted to
misc.consumers a few weeks ago. Specific charges were made, and I have
researched those claims.
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com (Vann Clark):
> firstname.lastname@example.org said:
>>What would happen if a bunch of people got together and decided that we
>>didn't want religious programming coming into our homes?
> Well, it just so happens that Madlyn Murray O'Hair, the most famous
>lunatic, atheist in the US tries, almost every year, to get The FCC to *ban*
>*all* religious programming from tv. She relies on the argument that, because
>the airwaves are federally regulated, the presence of *any* religion on tv is
>a violation of the seperation of church and state. Figure that one out.
It's not hard to figure out at all. In fact, it's an outright lie. I'm not
blaming Vann Clark for saying this, as he undoubtedly heard it from someone
else. At one time, this, or a permutation thereof, was a very popular rumor.
Here are the facts:
In the early 60s and 70s, two young men, Jeremy D. Lansman and Lorenzo W.
Milam, were working to help minority groups set up non-commercial, educational
FM stations. As they looked for places on the FM band, they became angry as
they found that many large religious organizations were using up so much of
that band. On Dec. 1, 1973, these two men sent a petition to the FCC asking
for a freeze on applications on the FM band until the FCC could review its
policies by a full Commission inquiry into this situation. The petition itself
said "Religious broadcasters have shown a remarkable cancerlike growth into the
'educational' portions of the FM and TV bands".
They asked that the inquiry be directed to sectarian religious organizations
which they saw as gobbling up the reserved *educational* FM and TV channels.
The FCC stamped this petition as received, with the file number RM-2493, and
clocked it into the Rules and Standards Division of the FCC on Dec. 6, 1973.
Within about a month, the association of National Religious Broadcasters began
a rumor that Madelyn O'Hair had filed 27,000 signatures on behalf of this
petition, which was described as an attempt by her to stop all religious
broadcasting. Soon, the names of Lansman and Milam were simply dropped from
the rumor. By the summer of 1975, the FCC had received 750,000 letters
protesting her alleged activity. On Aug 1, 1975, the petition was denied, but
the rumor continued. By May 1978, the FCC was receiving 13,000 letters a day
on this, despite all attempts to stop it. At the beginning of 1982, the total
count was up to 13,000,000 letters from this rumor.
The truth is, neither Madelyn O'Hair, nor any group she is associated with,
has ever, at any time, advocated censorship of any material, religious or
otherwise, in the public media. Neither Madelyn O'Hair, nor any group of
which she is a member, has at any time filed support for that petition.
Although she may disagree strongly with the content of those shows, she is very
much a champion of free speech. It is a very old trick to charge the person
who works for an objective to be an enemy of that objective. In this regard,
her name was used to bring pressure upon the FCC to permit the religious
broadcasters to have practically unlimited access to the media. Even though
the original petition was denied nearly 14 years ago, the rumor persists to
this day in one form or another.
> Vann Clark
> University of Illinois at
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