Congress Announces Findings in Case on Atheists & Religious Programming

Congress Announces Findings in Case on Atheists & Religious Programming

Rep. Forrest A. Harness (IN-R)

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A special congressional committee announces its findings in an FCC case, concluding that radio stations are not required to give equal time to atheists to reply to religious programming.

According to the committee, headed by Rep. Forrest A. Harness (IN-R),

"The broadcast of a regular religious worship from a church, cathedral, temple, or synagogue does not represent a public controversy which in the public interest requires that time be granted to those who would destroy the church in America."

The primary complaint here centers around the 1946 Scott decision in which the FCC said that a broadcaster cannot adopt a "rigid policy" of denying air time to people merely because their views are unpopular or because they are few in number. Contrary to what many say, the decision did not require any radio stations to give air time to atheists, but conservatives in Congress are still upset:

"If the Scott decision were applied literally, it would have the effect of either driving religious programs from the air, or flooding the homes of listeners with a barrage of unwelcome attacks on religion.

This obviously would be advantageous only to the atheists and the Communists. For any method or means that blocks the words of God, the enemy of these groups, is a victory for their cause of Godlessness."

FCC Chairman Wayne Coy says:

"The Scott decision does not say that when a radio station carries religious broadcasts, atheists or persons or groups with similar views are entitled to radio time for the expression of their views. I say this with full knowledge that some persons have misinterpreted the Scott decision to hold opposite views.

What the Scott decision has emphasized is the principle that a radio broadcast licensee in exercising his judgment as to what is a controversial issue should not deny time over his broadcast facilities for the expression of a particular point of view solely because he doe not agree with that point of view."

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