Philly Blunt

Freelance writer. Editor and web-video producer. Former Atlantic City Press and Philadelphia Weekly staff writer, City Paper managing editor/columnist and Dougherty for Senate campaign manager. Comments welcome here or emailed to brianhickey9 [at] hotmail. Now on: Facebook (Brian Hickey, in Philly) Twitter at www.twitter.com/brianhickey Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/people/brianhickey/. Be sure to check out Hickey on Divorce Court: divorcecourting.blogspot.com.

13 January 2006

Pissing off Catholics

January 12, 2006
Bearing True Witness
By Brian Hickey

Hope you had as spiritually renewing a "Justice Sunday" as I did. Rather than dialing up Christian radio and listening to Saints Rick Santorum and Jerry Falwell proclaim their brand of liberty throughout the land from a North Philly pulpit, I watched football.
Two playoff games. A full day. And not once did Samuel Alito come to mind.
After dinner, thanks to the divine wonders of TiVo, I got my daily God fix. It came in the form of a two-day-old episode of The Book of Daniel. NBC's latest attempt to corral its lost-ratings mojo—it comes complete with a walking, talking Jesus—is the story of an Episcopalian minister with a sweet tooth for Vicodin. (Praise God!) His wife's chosen poison is the martini; his birth son's, man-love; and his adopted Chinese son's, the blond daughter of a rich congregant who isn't much for mixed relationships (Can I get an amen?).

In episode one, the minister bails his daughter out of jail after she gets pinched for selling weed. His brother-in-law pilfers some $3.2 million in church funds and dies. The dead man's wife then proclaims her lust for a woman suspected of helping to steal the still-missing loot. Facing the loss of his congregation, the minister seeks help from a Catholic priest who summons some friends to investigate. Friends who turn out to be the mob. (Hallelujah!)
I'd planned to watch the show even before conservative Christians claimed it was nothing short of sacrilege. The program was an example of "anti-Christian bigotry," said the American Family Association. As such, an affiliate in both Arkansas and Indiana pulled the show before it aired. (So much for not judging lest ye viewers have a chance to judge for themselves.)
I quickly found myself agreeing that NBC was sinfully wrong. I didn't want network executives smote, but in an era in which torn-from-the-headlines stories equal big ratings, they disappointed me. My beef? They didn't go far enough. Drugs, fornication and racism are staples of many American homes, not just those of the consecrated. For more ...

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