The Weekend Edition of National Public Radio (NPR) for July 5 aired a segment with host Scott Simon and musical satirist, Tom Lehrer, that was as insulting as it was unwarranted. Lehrer sang “The Vatican Rag,” a song that disparages Catholicism by ridiculing the Eucharist (“Try playing it safer, Drink the wine and chew the wafer”) the doctrine of Transubstantiation (Two, four, six, eight, time to transubstantiate) and other Catholic teachings.
After the song was finished, Lehrer said that he did not think it was sacrilegious because “it just makes fun of rituals, not the doctrines.” In fact, just the opposite is true. It should be noted that Simon praised Lehrer.
The league pressed its case before the media, issuing the following statement: “When Catholics object to the insults of a Howard Stern, it is with the understanding that the marketplace allows for such abuse. But when Catholics object to the insults of NPR, the situation is much more serious because it is government that allows for the abuse. As a publicly-funded entity, NPR is entrusted with public responsibilities, and surely among them is the duty not to unwarrantedly offend the sensibilities of any segment of society.”
The league contacted every member of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees in the hope that they will consider this incident the next time NPR is up for funding.