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Public Radio International skit blasphemes Eucharist, apology made

.- A January 7 public radio skit that made disparaging remarks about the Eucharist while attacking Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee provoked outrage from Catholics and a speedy apology from its distributor.

The offensive segment was part of a show called “Fair Game with Faith Salie,” broadcast on Utah public radio station KCPW.

In the skit, a woman’s voice announces a “Huckabee family recipe” supposedly leaked by his opponents.

A man’s voice then says:
“Tired of bland unsatisfying Eucharists? Try this Huckabee family favorite.  Deep-Fried Body of Christ--boring holy wafers no more. Take one Eucharist.  Preferably post transubstantiation. Deep-fry in fat, not vegetable oil, ladies, until crispy. Serve piping hot. Mike likes to top his Christ with whipped cream and sprinkles. But his wife Janet and the boys like theirs with heavy gravy and cream puffs. It goes great with red wine.”

The woman’s voice responds:  “Now that is just ridiculous. Everyone knows evangelicals don’t believe in transubstantiation.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said in a Wednesday press release that his organization had lodged a complaint with KCPW general manager Ed Sweeney.

“This kind of programming would be over-the-top on a shock-jock station, never mind a station funded by the taxpayers,” Donohue said.  He wrote that the Catholic League wanted to know who developed the skit, which he called “an assault on Jesus.”

Whoever the skit creator was, Donohue said, “he or she used presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee and evangelicals as foil, saving the real sucker punch for Roman Catholics. This is despicable on several counts: it is blasphemous and bigoted. But it may also be motivated by a political calculus, making it really dirty if it is.”

Brian Schott, news director at KCPW, responded to offended Catholics on a blog at the station’s website.  “I can see where the outrage is coming from, but the skit was meant to poke fun at Mike Huckabee’s Southern roots and his problems with obesity. That’s not my interpretation, that’s why they wrote it.”

Schott said the station did not originate the show, and does not have editorial control over it.  “The host is a friend of mine — and she’s really upset that this is the reaction. She’s Catholic herself, and didn’t mean to poke fun at Jesus.”

Terry Mattingly, a religion news reporter and analyst writing at GetReligion.org, discussed Schott’s response:

“The point, you see, is that the producers of the show were not mocking Jesus and they were not mocking Roman Catholics. They were mocking Bible Belt people. They were mocking an evangelical from the Bible Belt who is running for president. The problem was that they had to use the Mass and the Catholic faith in order to get to the punch line about the evangelical target. Follow that?”

An official from Public Radio International, the parent organization that carries the radio show, contacted the Catholic League.  The official said that the offensive skit was pulled from the company’s website and that an on-air apology was given.

“We are satisfied with the result,” a Catholic League statement read, saying the organization’s action “effectively ends the discussion.”

Editor's Note: CNA previously reported that National Public Radio was the distributor of this skit. However, Public Radio International is the distributor of the skit. We regret the error. 


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July 23, 2014

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