No New Religion

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

No New Religion


Byline: Amanda Carpenter, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

No new religion

Board members of the Public Broadcasting Service have banned their 365 member stations from offering any new religious programming, after a yearlong review of their policies.

PBS officials reached their decision after they began reviewing their rules in January 2008 as the transition to digital television began and questions regarding religious programming were raised.

The board vote, which took place last week, forbids stations from airing any program that advocates a particular religion or religious point of view on channels branded as PBS or that feature PBS content, like Sesame Street or The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. PBS suggests that if stations wish to continue their PBS membership and broadcast religious programs, it be done on a Web site or other media platforms unaffiliated with PBS.

Howard University's WHUT Mass for Shut-ins is an example of the kind of programs PBS is curtailing.

While Mass for Shut-ins will be permitted to continue airing, no new programs like it or additional broadcasts will be allowed. Board members were considering banning them altogether, but compromised to allow existing religious shows to continue.

The members of the PBS board are pleased to have found a solution that allows the continuation of programming that is valued by individual communities while adhering to our policy of presenting a noncommercial, nonpolitical, nonsectarian service, a statement provided to The Washington Times by PBS Director of Corporate Communications Jan McNamara.

PBS noted that miniseries and specials that present historical, cultural and social aspects of religion will be unaffected by the new policy.

Green-washing

As the number of green products being sold by major retailers increase, so does the fibbing about their claims to be environmentally friendly.

Environmental researchers at TerraChoice analyzed supposedly eco-friendly products on the shelves at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target and found the availability of green products has increased, on average, 79 percent over the last year.

Yet, more than 98 percent of those products were guilty of at least one of six categories of green-washing sins, meaning the products' claims were misleading, vague, irrelevant or false, the survey said, adding that 22 percent of green products carried meaningless environmental endorsements and badges. …

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