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For week ended March 12, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

'God' Cartoon Cancelled By KSL Called Blasphemy
San Francisco Chronicle 11Mar00 B3
By Don Lattin: Chronicle Religion Writer

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- The prime-time NBC cartoon "God, the Devil and Bob" that LDS Church-owned NBC affiliate KSL-TV declined to carry has also been dumped by several other NBC affiliates. Now Tele-evangelist Jerry Falwell has added to the controversy, saying that the show achieves, "a new echelon of blasphemy'' for network television and "does nothing but diminish the magnitude of almighty God in the minds of naive viewers.''

Falwell made his statements in a "Falwell Confidential" memo to his followers. But Falwell didn't mention in his memo a scene that digs at tele-evangelists, portraying a fat, money-grubbing TV preacher getting a massage from a female assistant.

KSL is just one of several NBC affiliates around the country that have chosen not to air the show. It depicts a diety that looks like Rock guitarist Jerry Garcia and who drinks light beer. The family of "Bob," the main character of the show, is shown as dysfunctional, similar to "The Simpsons." The show revolves around an on-going bet between God and the devil over whether or not man is worth saving. Bob is portrayed as a clueless but good-hearted father of two who works in a factory an unwinds at a local strip club.

But other clergy, including the Rev. Ann Whiting, a United Methodist minster, say that there is nothing wrong with the show. Rev. Whiting says that the "image of God depicted is far healthier and true to Jesus' image of God than that circulated in many religious circles.'' She liked a moment depicting that God -- who seems invisible to everyone but Bob -- can also be seen by small children. "I often find that children have a simple and profound sense of God's presence,'' Whiting said.


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