Thursday, April 24, 2008

KBSU: Church Sponsored Station?

KBSU is a television station run by Bemidji State University. This, of course means that state tax dollars are used to provide funding for programming. I haven't seen the program "Does god Exist?" but a trustworthy source (John Kamman) has assured me that it is a blatant violation of the requirement of a separation of church and state. The program amounts to state sponsored Christian proselytism. John has sent a letter to KBSU and agreed to allow me to post it, so here it is:

To the editor:

Over the past several weeks, I have been extremely disappointed to see a program entitled "Does God Exist" regularly aired on KBSU's television station, often up to four episodes per day. The program itself is a misguided series of "educational" videos supporting the Christian message under the erroneous guise of science. The constant airing of this program is a blatant misuse of a public funding, a direct and illegal violation of the first amendment and an insult to scientists, atheists and those of other faiths.

I have attempted to contact KBSU via email and telephone but have not yet received a response. I would like to use this opportunity to publicly request that KBSU cease the broadcast of such deliberate –and illicit- proselytizing. In one "lesson" entitled "Why I left Atheism", John Clayton, the host, refers to atheism as a "poor judgment and foolish mistake…[taking] really rather idiotic positions." As a graduate student of biology at BSU and a devout atheist/agnostic, I find it entirely inappropriate for a publicly-funded student organization to partake in the pseudo-scientific and disturbingly overzealous preaching that the program "Does God Exist" embodies. I would ask those in the position of managing KBSU to make better broadcasting decisions in the future.


Sincerely,

John Kamman.

I'll post any follow-up that should occur.

10 comments:

John Kamman said...

Thanks Shane.
See more @
http://www.doesgodexist.org
or 3-6 hours per day on Channel 17.
Vomit.

John

Shane said...

I watched it today. I feel a little sick. I checked out the website to. I'll post about it later. -Shane

Jason said...

Oh, please. You're just upset that religious programming is getting any airtime. As long as the station does not discriminate against viewpoints, it can use public funds to air pretty much anything. If you can prove that anti-religious programming is denied airtime, then you would have a case. I see nothing that supports that, however.

Of course, you could try to argue, too, that students (who completely run the station) are representatives of the almighty state. That would make me laugh quite a bit.

Shane said...

No Jason, I'm upset that a program based on manipulated statistics, faulty science, and straight up bullshit is being aired with no countering viewpoints. I don't aim to get the program removed based on legality. I'd like to see it removed because it is an embarrassment to the university.

Michael said...

jason, it's not that they're getting airtime. The airwaves are flooded with religious programming of one sort or another. It's using tax dollars to pay for it that's the problem. Religions love to ask for money; they can pay for their own broadcasts, rather than use state funds to do so.

Jason said...

with no countering viewpoints

Then perhaps instead of fighting against free speech, you should encourage someone to step up to provide that countering viewpoint.

I don't aim to get the program removed based on legality.

As Penn Gillette would say: "BULLSHIT!" You are such a liar! In your own bloody letter to them, YOU MAKE A LEGAL ARGUMENT for shutting down the programming. It is, in fact, your primary argument.

I'd like to see it removed because it is an embarrassment to the university.

If that were truly you reason, it would prove two things: (1) you're a bigot and (2) you have no legitimate standing. Of course, even with your argument regarding the First Amendment, you have no standing.

Jason said...

It's using tax dollars to pay for it that's the problem.

Unless you can prove that they are preventing any counter points from being aired, you are 100% wrong. If people with alternate viewpoints have the option to air programs (whether they actually do is beside the point), then there is nothing illegal about this.

Shane said...

Jason, It's interesting that you consider me to be the bigot. I'm not the one slandering a group of people (in this case atheists) on a PUBLIC station.

Let me ask you something Jason. If this were a program pointing out the superiority of the white race over all other races would it still be OK to air it on a publicly funded station? I think not. If you disagree, I have no reason to continue this discussion with you.

Let me clarify the legal issue since you don't seem to get it. I'm not intending to pursue legal action to force the show off the air.

However, funding has been denied to public television stations simply for showing Sunday church services. So yes, I do have a legitimate legal argument.

This goes far beyond church service. In fact, I wouldn't have complained about a church service unless they engaged in similar slander against nonbelievers.

Thanks for reading. god bless.

Shane said...

Then perhaps instead of fighting against free speech, you should encourage someone to step up to provide that countering viewpoint.

I am certainly not fighting against free speech. I am fighting against subsidized hate speech.

John Kamman said...

Zing!