Skip to comments.Taking The Lord's Name In Vain (NPR)
Posted on 07/02/2010 1:23:58 PM PDT by Drango
Taking the Lords name in vain does not go over well in some households, particularly in the South.
In a June 23 story about Tom Cruises new action movie, Knight and Day, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep was discussing the Superstar crisis in Hollywood as Cruise ages out of that category.
Tom Cruise, it seems, is no longer ultra-cool.
But that isnt what lit up the phone lines at NPR member station, PBA in Atlanta, GA.
It was a brief clip of Cruise satirically playing a profane movie mogul at the recent MTV movie awards. Grossman/Cruise used Gods name to amplify his success, much to the dismay of some listeners.
INSKEEP: And you hear the voice of Tom Cruise, but you almost don't see him. He's made up. He's bald. He's wearing glasses. He's got this paunch, this potbelly. And let's listen to a little bit of Tom Cruise in that character, Les Grossman, at the recent "MTV Movie Awards."
(Soundbite of TV show, "MTV Movie Awards") (Soundbite of cheering)
Mr. TOM CRUISE (As Les Grossman): Movies, awards - I've made them, I've won them. And for 35 years, I've done it better and made more [god****] money than anybody in Hollywood. Aside from the money and the power and the money and the power, I do it for only one reason: you.
This kind of thing definitely plays differently for a number of people in the South where we have been referred to historically as the Bible Belt, said John Weatherford, PBAs general manager, who had to deal with the calls and complaints. So why not just bleep it out. How much time or effort can that take? This was an entertainment piece. What would we have lost by bleeping it out?
Another listener in Winston-Salem, NC wrote:
I was shocked to hear a sound clip with strong profanity in the story about Tom Cruise, said David Shuford. It would not have hurt you to bleep that out. This was very offensive. Did the producer ever think kids could be in the car hearing that? But that language isnt even fit for adults.
This is the second time Ive written about this issue. Last July, it was about NPR bleeping out some offensive words in a piece about the movie, Hurt Locker, but not bothering to bleep out "god****."
Its against the law to say some words on air, according to the Federal Communication Commission. But NPRs legal team says that using the Lords name in vain for emphasis is not illegal.
So even if its not illegal, does that make it right?
This time, Im seeing the question through a different lens one that is not based in the New York-Washington corridor, where this example of offensive language often goes in one ear and out the other.
It may not be offensive to me. But NPR has 901 member stations and millions of listeners.
As of the latest national ratings period, fall 2009, NPR stations reach 33.9 million Americans every week, according to NPR data. NPR programming and newscasts reach 27.1 million.
There is no doubt that a healthy number of those listeners take the Lord's name seriously and are offended when it is taken in vain.
And its not just in the South.
WSHU in Fairfield, CT, got a very irate call because the station didnt catch the warning that NPR sent out with the story. Even if someone at the station had seen the language warning, its difficult to bleep out live. It would have been far easier if NPR had covered over the word.
Since the bulk of NPR's staff is in Washington, DC, Im guessing that many staffers wouldn't even hear the Cruise clip as profane. But they should think about how others might hear it including David Shuford and the others who called or wrote to complain.
Its a simple thing to bleep it out.
CBS and NBC both have a policy that forbids using the word on their air. NPR should adopt such a policy and ensure that its staff all knows about it and adheres to it.
This is an easy fix.
UPDATE: Before publishing, I made the case that I've written about to Ellen Weiss, senior vice president for news, that NPR should institute a policy banning the word in question. But I wasn't successful.
While Weiss says she understands that some stations would like to see the word banned, she said, "I dont see a compelling reason to change our practice.
I don't see a compelling reason I'm forced to pay for NPR
It didn't go over very well in our household either. A good way to get your mouth washed out with soap.
It will cost you 3 Hail Marys and two Our Fathers with our parish priest.
The POTUS uses cursewords when he addresses the nation.
It doesn’t go over well with me either.
I cannot stand to hear God’s name taken in vain. There is no reason for it. Why can’t they use allah’s name instead?
It’s a commandment, not a suggestion.
I can’t wait for the next time NPR describes Mohammed as an itinerant goat-screwing pedophile.
I just don’t see that happening. I also don’t forsee any in depth stories about the Dancing Boys of the Warlords of Afghanistan. Turns our the people we are defending over there like to take 9 to 12 year old boys, dress them as girls, and then make the beast with two backs with them.
But it's perfectly okay to take the Lord's name in vain here on FR. Right Admin? I've reported several replies that took the Lord's name in vain. Nothing was done about it. What a shame.
Tom Cruise is a $cientologist. Mocking your God is no concern of his.
What does NPR's legal team say about any possible pro-God use of religious expressions? Would that violate their legal standing since they are government funded?
Clearly it didn’t bother the people in Murtha’s district. They reelected him after he referred to his opponent as a GD carpet-bagger. Old bastard. Wonder what he’s doing now? Burning, perhaps?
LOL...~snort...post your feedback in the NPR comment section.
I know the admins have a lot to review but...If that is the case, I'd respectfully suggest a change in the policy from now on.
I fully agree that G-D is highly offensive, but I don't think that's ALL He meant by that particular commandment [the word vain in Exodus 20:7 is שוא (shav') in Hebrew, meaning emptiness, nothingness, frivolousness, even deceit or lying].
It's been a long time since I have pored over what theological scholars and rabbis say about this but I think it's time for me to do some digging again.
BTW I also think it's important to look at the context to understand exactly what G-d meant by that commandment (i.e. what the Jews were doing at the time of Moses to "take the name of Yahweh/YHWH/Adonai/Hashem/Elohim" in vain).
Of course, there are some believers who believe that the Name of G-d is so holy it shouldn't be spoken at all.
And if Tom Cruise said “allah be damned” I’m sure no one would make a big deal out of it.
His pastor says it's A-OK, "God BLESS America? NO! G**D*** AmeriKKKa!"
But just let somebody on NPR say the n-word, particularly about their lord, Obama, ....
Whoever said they were consistent?
Open your ears and you will hear their promotion of the homosexual lifestyle and the total denigration of religion and of the things that made America great.
I listen for the same reason I read Cosmo magazine. It's how I study the enemy's battle plan.
We're talking about NPR where the editors and staffers are to the left of Stalin.
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