All the News That's Fit to Spit On

by Todd Wiese toddw@theroc.org and Kenny Moore

One of the many things that may have been lost in the recent flood in Grand Forks, North Dakota, earlier this year, may have been common sense. It seems a local newspaper, Grand Forks Herald, gave in to the complaints of a few misguided citizens when it pulled a popular masthead slogan from the presses.

The slogan capitalized on the recent flood by proclaiming, "Come hell or high water." The slogan was popular within Grand Forks but not with certain religious groups in the community who claimed that the headline was "against God" because of the use of the term "Hell". The paper received enough complaints to persuade them to yank the slogan.

Technically this is not a case of government censorship since there was no mandate from the state in this matter, but in any case it IS a case of self-censorship as a result of religious bullying by local church groups. Thus the effect is the same. This is the same bullying technique used by "professional" censors like Pat Robertson and Donald Wildman. And here's an example of it happening on a small scale in a small town like Grand Forks, North Dakota.

While this is obviously a very minor incident it does illustrate the self-censorship problem being created by our adversaries in much of the leadership of organized religion. We wonder what important information we may not ever see in the news or in other works because the editors are worried that their content may upset some of the same types of religious zealots like those in this Grand Forks incident. Are there important stories that don't get printed out of fear of reprisals from the religious community? The fact that a few complaints could lead to a paper pulling a popular masthead slogan leads us to believe that it's a very real possibility.

If your local paper tends to cave-in to such backward thinking protests by area religious groups, please contact us and let us know. Whenever we see such protesting occurring it is very important that we raise our voices loudly in support of those facing the protests.

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