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Jesus Christ:

The New "Words You Can Never Say on Television"

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

Back in the 1970s, George Carlin had a famous comedy routine titled "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television." I remember this routine well as at that time I was in Boy Scouts. And at summer camp one year, another scout brought a cassette player, along with a cassette tape of this routine. He played it over and over again for several days, until the batteries died.

Due to hearing it so often, to this day, I still remember these seven words. Of course, I won't repeat them here as they are all very crude. But in the decades since then, I have heard just about every one of these words on TV at one time or another. So TV has become gradually cruder over the years, and these are no longer "words you can never say on television."

But there are now two new such words: "Jesus" and "Christ." Now to be clear, you can say these words on TV if they are used as swear words, but you cannot say them if you use them in their most natural way, as referring to the Christian Lord and Savior.

 

A Catholic Meal Prayer

 

Bless us Oh Lord,
and these Thy gifts which we are about to receive,
through Thy bounty,
through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

 

The above is a basic prayer that many Catholics will say before eating a meal. I know this prayer well as my Catholic father has always recited this prayer before family dinners. And Christians of other denominations will usually say a prayer of one kind or another before eating. However, it is rare to hear someone recite a prayer before eating on a TV show. But surprisingly, I have heard the above prayer on three different shows in the fall of 2013, as least in part.

The first time I heard it was for a show that I've never actually watched, but I saw a clip from it in an advertisement. The ad was for CBS's "Blue Bloods," which I gather is about a family of police officers. In the ad, the rather large family is shown sitting at a table getting ready to eat. The elder prays this prayer, but only the first two lines and the final word "Amen." He omits the third and fourth lines.

The second time was on ABC's "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland." In this episode, Alice's father is captured from our world and taken to Wonderland as "bait" by someone who is trying to catch Alice. He is kept in a cage. He prays this prayer when he is given something to eat. But when he does, he omits the fourth line.

The third time was on NBC's "The Biggest Loser." Contestant Ruben Studdard was eliminated from the show. You might recognize his name. He was the winner of the second season of "American Idol." The episode after he was eliminated, they showed "where he is now." He had started the show weighing 462 pounds, but was now down to 350 pounds. In the clip of him at home, he is getting ready to eat dinner with his wife, and he recites this prayer, but NBC only aired him saying the second line.

Now maybe these networks are cutting the prayer down just to save time, but it really isn't that long to begin with, so why not have the various people recite all the lines? And if they are trying to save time, why bother having them say a prayer at all?

I'm guessing the networks are trying to appease us "religious folks" by including something that millions of Americans do, pray before eating a meal. But they don't want to "waste" too much time on it. But most of all, they don't won't to offend anyone by having someone say "through Christ our Lord." So however much of the short prayer is eliminated, that line is always omitted. It is just too much of a coincidence for all three networks to omit the same line for it not to be purposeful.

 

"Duck Dynasty"

 

I'm writing this article on New Year's Day, 2014. And in the past month there has been a big controversy over the A&E series "Duck Dynasty." I'm not going to get into that controversy. I'm thinking back to before it to when I first heard about this series in the fall of 2013.

The reason I heard about it was because Fox News mentioned about atheists complaining about the Robertson family saying a prayer before dinner at the end of each episode. What the atheists were objecting to wasn't so much the prayer per se, but that they always had to end it with the words "in Jesus' name."

Having never seen the show at that time, I wasn't exactly sure what they were referring to. But I found it interesting that it is okay to use all types of foul language on TV that offends Christians, including again Carlin's "seven dirty words." And if Christians complain about the use of such language, we're labeled as "prudes" and accused of trying to restrict "freedom of speech." But if it is really about "free speech" then why were the atheists complaining about "Jesus" being mentioned on this one series on a minor network?

I later learned that A&E itself has tried to get the Robertson family to stop mentioning Jesus in their prayer, but the family has stanchly refused to do so. So A&E puts up with it as "Duck Dynasty" is a big money maker for them.

I've since watched a couple of episodes of "Duck Dynasty." I'm not much into "reality" shows, but I can see the appeal of this show to Christians and conservatives. It is a "clean" show, depicting a family with close ties and strong Christian beliefs. That is a strong contrast to most of the rest of TV. But I can also see why it has caused such a controversy. The liberals and secularists just can't stand any show that depicts traditional family values and that dares to mention the name of Jesus.

 

Christmas

 

As I said, I am writing this on New Year's Day. But I noticed an interesting phenomenon on TV before Christmas. When watching the Steelers' game the Sunday before Christmas, when they went to commercials breaks, CBS would always display a banner saying "Happy Holidays." And my local TV news would do the same. It was only on Fox News that the banner would say "Merry Christmas."

I also watched several Christmas movies on various networks. Most of them were "feel-good," PG-type movies. So there wasn't much objectionable in them. However, in none of them was the Real Reason for the Season ever mentioned. So even during the Christmas season, "Jesus" or "Christ" can't be mentioned on TV.

 

Politicians

 

Politicians often invoke the word "God" in their speeches. In most cases, I doubt this is because they actually have a strong faith in God, but it's because they know most Americans believe in God, so they are just trying to appeal to those voters. However, you almost never hear a politician say "Jesus" or "Christ." That would be too restrictive and might offend someone and cost them votes. So what we get at best in the public arena is a generic god, not the God of the Bible, and definitely no mention of Jesus Christ.

 

Lack of Christianity

 

It isn't just the name "Jesus Christ" that is never mentioned on TV, but in most TV shows, there is never any mention of the Christian faith in general. People are almost never depicted as praying. And if they are, it is only to a generic god and never to Jesus. People are never shown going to church, reading the Bible, attending Bible studies, or engaging in any other activities that are overtly Christian.

However, tens of millions of Americans engage in all of these activities on a regular basis. If TV was concerned about depicting what life is really like in America, then such activities should be shown on a regular basis. And given the popularity of "Duck Dynasty" you would think Hollywood would get the message and include some mention of Jesus and the Christian faith on TV. But it appears that Hollywood isn't really concerned with depicting real life in America. What it is concerned about is pushing a liberal agenda, and that agenda simply does not include anything Christian. It's a disheartening state of affairs, but it is the direction the USA has gone.

 

The above article was posted on this Web site January 1, 2014.

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