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A random sampling

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We listened to a variety of radio and television programs of a religious nature during two time intervals: 1995-JUL and 1997-FEB/MAR/APR. We documented any instances of religious hatred, ridicule, misrepresentation, misinformation etc. that we found. 

All of the radio programs which we cited here are produced by Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christian ministries. This is not intended to be an attack on conservative Christianity. It is just that the vast majority of religious programs are produced by conservative Christians.

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Focus on the Family; 1995-JUL-19

(Syndicated program heard on hundreds of North American radio stations at least daily) Dr. James Dobson was describing a policy of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education" which requires all medical schools to train some of their residents to be able to perform elective abortions. The phrases "all the students" and "all the residents" were used during the talk. Many listeners would have concluded that all medical students or residents would have to be trained in the procedure. In reality, the Council's ruling only applies to obstetric and gynecology residents. To his credit, Dr. Dobson did clear up any false impression on the following day's broadcast.

Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council asked the listeners to phone Washington and indicate their opposition to this decision by the Accreditation Council. If the Council's decision is overruled by the Federal Government, then some Ob/Gyn residents will graduate without the knowledge needed to perform a first trimester abortion. Women, for whom a pregnancy could prove fatal might then go to their Obstetrician and find out that their doctor was unable perform the abortion needed to save their life.

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Focus on the Family; 1995-JUL-19

Dr. Dobson described a procedure which he called a Partial Birth Abortion. He described what he called a type of "Nazi era experimentation" in which a full term fetus is in the process of being delivered. With its head in the birth canal, the doctor puts "a pair of scissors into the back of the head and spreads the wound, exposing the brain. And then they inject a cannula (a tube) that has a suction device on it and they suck the brain matter out of a living, viable baby for use in medical experiments". The impression given was that this is an optional procedure done by researchers eager to study brain functions, who didn't mind killing an about-to-be-born fetus. If this procedure were done as described, then it would be indeed be similar to experiments conducted by Nazis. Fortunately, it is not done.

The term abortion means the termination of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable (i.e. able to live on its own, at perhaps the 24th week of pregnancy). Some abortions are spontaneous, and are popularly called miscarriages. Others are as a result of medical intervention. Medical societies in the various states and provinces of North America prohibit doctors from intentionally terminating pregnancies beyond a certain stage - typically after 20 or 21 weeks gestation. The term Partial Birth Abortion is thus an oxymoron (a self-contradictory term). Any doctor performing such a procedure on a viable fetus during an uneventful delivery could have her/his license terminated. It would only be done under an extraordinary condition, such as:
bullet the fetus was dead - a still birth was about to occur
bullet the fetus had no brain, and thus was not viable
bullet continued delivery would kill or very seriously injure the woman
In fact, pregnancies are only terminated in the third trimester (6th month of gestation to near birth) because of overwhelming health concerns. And then they are usually terminated by hysterotomies (Cesarean section).

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Canadian Perspective; 1995-JUL-19

(WMHI, Cape Vincent NY and a network of Canadian secular stations) Laurie Zlatanovski, of Frontenac Coalition of Concerned Citizens was discussing Bill C-41. This is a Canadian Federal Government bill that is expected to become law shortly. She said "it's a hate crime bill and it's to protect. Unfortunately, what's happened is that the homosexuals are being given special rights. We as Christians don't feel that people who have chosen this lifestyle. [sic] this is a lifestyle; this is not somebody who is colored or of a different [sic]. This is a lifestyle that they have chosen. And its a damaging lifestyle. We're not going to support them." OCRT Comments: Ms. Zlatanovski appears to make a number of points:

bullet Bill C41 is a hate crime bill. Actually, it is a sentencing bill. Its title is "An act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing)." It contains a small section [718.2 (a) (i)] which recommends increased sentences for crimes motivated by hatred of a group. For example, if an individual assaulted a neighbor over a property dispute, they might be given a certain sentence; if an individual assaulted a stranger because of the latter's religion, they that sentence would be lengthened.
bullet homosexuals are being given special rights. Actually, they are not. The bill covers hate crimes which victimize a person because of their "race, nationality, color, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability or sexual orientation". Gays and lesbians are obviously not being given special privileges; just the same protection as is being given to asexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals, Christians, Buddhists, women, old folks, etc.
bullet homosexuality is a chosen lifestyle A substantial majority of researchers into human sexuality agree that one's sexual orientation is determined during childhood, and cannot be changed.
bullet it's OK to have laws that protect people of different colors or nationalities; but it is not OK to protect people on the basis of their choices. In that case, crimes based on religious hatred would be exempt from the law; nobody has proposed that change.
bullet homosexuality is a damaging lifestyle. This might be a reference to AIDS. It should be noted that lesbians have a much lower infection for AIDS and other STDs than do heterosexuals.
bullet Christians are not going to support homosexuals. That is not the issue here. The issue relates to a person who goes "gay bashing" and assaults a stranger at random because the latter is perceived to be a homosexual. The motivation behind the assault is often to terrorize the gay and lesbian community. The question is whether that crime should receive a longer sentence than a common assault.
bullet Canadian Perspective; 1995-JUL-18
(WMHI, Cape Vincent NY and a network of Canadian secular stations) Laurie Zlatanovski, of Frontenac Coalition of Concerned Citizens said that "It's medical fact that the pores in the condom are large enough for the HIV virus to pass right through. So its like playing Russian Roulette to put a condom on and think that you are having safe sex."
[OCRT comment: The HIV virus causes AIDS. Latex condoms, which are available in a bewildering array of colors, and shapes at every pharmacy, have no pores and provide a barrier against the HIV virus. "Natural" condoms (made of sheep intestines) are rarely found for sale; they do have pores and lack effectiveness. Most clinics recommend that they not be used. In the area covered by the radio broadcast, natural condoms must be specially ordered.]

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Through the Bible Program; 1995-JUL-14

(Syndicated program heard throughout the world) Rev. McGee:

bullet linked Satanism with criminal activity
bullet said that [presumably illicit] sexual activities is at the heart of the occult
bullet said that the citizens of India are suffering because they are "bound down by the fetters" of their religion [presumably Hinduism].

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Open Mike - Live; 1995-JUL-14

(Mars Hill Network in upstate New York USA) Nick Costello, of Combat Zone Ministries

bullet said that heavy metal T-shirts promote Satanism
bullet said that 20% of young women who enter into a pre-marital sexual relationship with a person that they deeply love will contract AIDS.
[OCRT comment: this number is hopelessly inflated]

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Focus on the Family; 1997-FEB-5 to 7

Three consecutive episodes dealt with "the gay agenda, i.e. the drive by gays and lesbians to have equal rights in America, including the right to marry. Anthony Falzarano of Transformation Ministries and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays said: "The gays are using the AIDS epidemic to push the gay agenda onto our country right now and, in essence, it's really the spirit of Anti-Christ..." Bob Knight of the Family Research Council said: "Wherever you find gay rights laws, you find the church being the ultimate target. I call it the criminalization of Christianity because if you redefine bigotry as being opposed to homosexuality or failing to affirm it, and then you bring the full power of the civil rights apparatus to bear, you're talking about some pretty heavy government coercion directed at Christians. We're sitting in the middle of a bullseye right now."

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Back to the Bible; 1997-MAR-17

(Syndicated radio program from Lincon, NE, broadcast over many Evangelical Christian stations in the United States). On this episode, they discussed religion in Haiti. They stated that in 1991, someone of the Voodoo faith had dedicated the entire island to Satan. Later they said that the people of Haiti are trapped in "Witchcraft and Satanism". In fact, Vodun is the religion which is followed by the vast majority of Haitians. It is a religion based on African native traditions and is totally unrelated to Witchcraft and Satanism. Followers of Vodun recognize neither the pantheon of deities of Wicca nor do they recognize the existence of Satan. Linking the three together is an irresponsible example of religious misinformation.

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Adventures in Odyssey program of Focus on the Family, 1997-APR-7/8 

Two Adventures in Odyssey episodes attacked what they call "Role Playing Fantasy Games." (The correct term is fantasy role playing games.)  Odyssey is a radio play about pre-teens and teens in an American town. In both episodes, Dr. James Dobson presented a short talk directed to the children and youth listening to the program and their parents. He attacked this type of game, because he feels that its players actually become the pretend characters that they have selected. To play the game properly, he said that the players need to practice magic and mysticism. His choice of the terms "magic" and "mysticism" is unfortunate, because both words have multiple, conflicting meanings. In the APR-7 episode, he said that some gamers have reported involvement with demons and Satan worship.

In the radio play, "Jimmy" is visited by a RPG playing cousin, "Len". Len's character in the game is known as "Luther the Magician." The latter introduces Jimmy to a game called Castles and Cauldrons"; he gives Jimmy's character the name of "John Dell, the Apprentice." They play the game together. A battle is fought with some evil enemies; both experience auditory hallucinations in which their plastic swords sound like real weapons. There were many misconceptions mentioned in the play.

"Whit" Whittaker, the owner of a local store comes across Len and Jimmy playing their game. He immediately destroys one of the tools of the game, called The Board of Talisman. Later, Whit casually mentions that he has stolen and destroyed all of Jimmies' gaming equipment. The implication is that a Christian is well within his rights to destroy another person's possessions if he feels that they are unchristian.

The overall effect of the program is:

bullet to give a very distorted view of fantasy role playing games,
bullet to link them with "The Occult", black magick, evil sorcery and demonic activity.
bullet to imply that it is quite acceptable for Christians to destroy other people's possessions.

More details on these two radio plays are available.

Copies of these episodes are available on tape from Odyssey, Colorado Springs, CO 80995.

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Related essays:

bullet Conservative Christian attacks on Wiccans and Neopagans via radio
bullet Christian hate web sites which target Wicca

Latest update: 1999-SEP-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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