Here is a letter I’m sharing with some local newspapers:
Come to find out KUER is an actual department of the University of Utah. The call letters KUER are licensed to the University by the FCC.
Recently I wrote to the station manager of KUER with some concerns I have about two of their programs. The programs are funded by the Templeton Foundation, a religious advocacy organization that is controversial with some leading scientists, including Nobel prize winner Dr. Harry Kroto. The programs of concern are “To the Best of Our Knowledge” by Wisconsin Public Radio, and “Krista Tippett on Being” by American Public Media - both funded by Templeton.
In any case, regardless of whether you agree with my comments about the programs, perhaps you can at least agree that an arm of the government should not be telling citizens to shut up.
John Greene emailed me on December 9th and said to me “...Jonathan, You have made your views abundantly clear. Please refrain from e-mailing me any further. John Greene GM.”
Isn’t that nice? He had no cogent response. No detail. All he essentially said was “shut up and go away, and don’t bother me in the future…”
Maybe you don’t care about whether the god of the Templeton Foundation happens to be your god, or whether the conflation of science and religion is an issue for you. Maybe you don’t care about whether an arm of the government is broadcasting two programs that advocate on behalf of a certain definition of god & religion. Probably not your specific definitions. The words may be the same, but the definition probably doesn’t match up with what you believe or do not believe. I suppose the separation of church & state may not matter much to you. Or, if it does then that’s great.
But, you may also want to make note that the First Amendment states that the government should be willing to listen to citizens. Also FCC rules state that broadcast stations must be willing to receive comments from listeners.
KUER is not just another radio station. The programs they have aren’t just on there to be listened to or not. Since KUER is a University of Utah telecommunications department, what they choose put on the air means something more. Also KUER receives federal tax dollars via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
When your and my government decides to put programs funded by Templeton on the air, maybe you love it. Maybe you hate it. But if you comment about it to KUER (which is a part of the U of U & therefore a part of the State), hopefully you’ll appreciate the need for your government to not then tell you to shut up and go away if they don’t like your comments.
Harry Kroto, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Anthony Grayling, and P.Z. Myers all are not big fans of Templeton’s apparent subversion of science. Google them all to find the details. And as an ex-Mormon myself I don’t much appreciate the conflation of science with Krista Tippett’s or Templeton’s definition of god, nor Templeton money going to subvert science & to conflate science & religion (especially as per the readily findable concerns of the noted scientists & philosophers I’ve noted, and as per what I have personally heard from the programs in question).
But when my government picks & chooses arguably religious advocacy programs to broadcast, that raises the bar of concern. And when a department of a public university engages in the distortion of science, and the conflation of science with religion, that is also a concern. And when they tell me to shut up and go away, that’s another disconcerting point.
If you’d like to help with the issue you can write to the following parties:
Please feel free to forward a copy of this letter to these men who are managers & public employees at the University of Utah (a part of the State of Utah), along with your own comments.
Further details and posts:
Maybe you love Krista Tippett & the Templeton Foundation. But at the very least you might make note of the fact that a part of the government is both advocating for and on behalf of a specific definition of the word god (Templeton’s), and when we complain, they tell us to shut up and go away.
p.s. Did you know that Templeton gave Mel Gibson an award for his film “Passion of the Christ” and they deemed it the most inspirational film of 2004? Isn’t that special? Oh my goodness, Passion of the Christ? Go figure. Here’s Hitchens’ responses to Gibson:
And isn’t it great that the same foundation that loved Gibson’s ghoulish film also supports two religious programs on a public radio station near you, and via a publicly funded university near you also. One of several references to the film award: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=20240
...and when you complain to your local public university? What do they tell you? Shut up, and go away. So if you could help in this case that would be great.
More details are at my latest blog post “University of Utah & KUER promotes rich conservative sugar daddy’s god & his religion:”