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Gospel Baggage

February 3, 2003 |

Mr. Keillor:

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy your show, but I am offended by your repeated broadcast of Christian songs and themes. Aren't you in violation of the constitutional principle separating church and state, since you are broadcasting on PUBLIC radio? Shouldn't you at least give equal time to other religions, as well as atheism and agnostism?

Earl M. Kenvin
Alamogordo, New Mexico

You may be right, Earl, but the truth is that I come with baggage, and the gospel is in my bags. I try not to preach, but I do sing the music I grew up with and tell stories about the Christian people of Lake Wobegon, and I do this simply because it's who I am and that's where any writer has to start. I am a fallen, sinful Christian, but wouldn't know how to be a fallen non-Christian. All radio is public, in the sense that the airwaves belong to the public and broadcasting is licensed by the government in the name of the public, but as you know, the airwaves are a bazaar of religion and political ranting and chicanery of all kinds. There's a weekly show for atheists and agnostics on WBAI in New York, which I've listened to on occasion and which is interesting, but atheists tend to be a little dry, like actuaries, and we Christians have better stories to tell. If you want to start an agnostic/atheist show, you should go ahead and do it and God bless you. Or if you want to pursue the question of constitutional principles regarding religious expression on public radio, you could contact your local A.C.L.U. or any attorney who is interested in these issues.

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