14 marchers protest ‘Nothing Sacred’
Say TV Drama Profanes Church
By Robin Rivers
Calling the depiction of a priest’s moral battle with his faith “anti-Christian,” Roman Catholics across the country are protesting ABC’s new television drama “Nothing Sacred.”
Fourteen Spokane protesters marched outside the KXLY-TV studios Thursday night while the show aired, calling for the program to be pulled.
They marched quietly, carrying pictures of Jesus and crucifixes, and reciting the rosary.
“If priests have a question of their faith, then they shouldn’t have been ordained in the beginning,” said Michelle Lowell, a conservative activist leading the protest.
“In the show, the priest is very profane,” she said. “He questions not only the existence of God but that he could be a better priest if he didn’t hate God so much.”
The local affiliate can take the show off the air, but that won’t happen, said Steve Herling, KXLY executive vice president. “The number of people who object to the show are in the minority,” he said Thursday. “People have a choice to not watch it.
“I’m not going to interfere with other people’s right to watch the show. That’s where I draw the line.”
Lowell countered: “The show takes our Catholic religion to the liberal woodshed. It clearly mocks Catholicism.”
“Nothing Sacred” is billed by ABC as an irreverent drama about an unconventional young priest struggling to balance his faith in God with the temptations and troubles of modern-day life.
The one-hour drama, which premiered Sept. 25, sparked outrage from some Catholic groups in July, when the network’s fall lineup was announced.
Some national advertisers are heeding the request by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights to boycott the program.
No local advertisers have followed suit so far, Herling said.
The New York-based Catholic League, which claims 350,000 members, says the show runs counter to Catholic doctrine.
ABC defended “Nothing Sacred” as a “quality program” in a prepared statement.
“We understand their sensitivities and we respect their beliefs …,” the network said of the protestors. “It is our hope that through subsequent episodes, they’ll come to find that the series reflects positively on the issues of faith, for that is our intention.”
“Nothing Sacred” publicist Amber Gereghty in Los Angeles said the controversy has drawn considerable attention to a show that sat at the bottom of the ratings last week.
“This is the best publicity,” she said.
Lowell, heading up local protest efforts, said she has rallied dozens of people, including groups from Protestant churches.
“This affects the whole of Christianity,” she said. “TV is very powerful. It sets the stage for people’s consciousness.”
Friday, October 3, 1997