While time is said to mellow violins and improve wine, time still hasn't made one of the nation's most persistent rumors any more true.
The rumor, often promoted with a photocopied flier, says atheist Madelyn Murray O'Hair has been granted a public hearing with the Federal Communications Commission. The flier says O'Hair's petition would pave the way to ban religious broadcasts."Many elderly people and shut-ins, as well as those in recuperation from hospitalization or illness depend on radio and television to fulfill their worship needs every week," says the flier.
In addition to the statements in the flier, a recent rumor circulating around the Salt Lake Valley is that a bill has also been introduced in Congress.
According to Toni Cook with the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communication, there has been no bill introduced in Congress and the FCC has never considered banning religious programming.
"It's a chain letter and we have never been able to stop it," she said.
FCC spokesperson Callie Holder said that O'Hair never filed a petition, although two other men did in 1975 requesting that no more licenses be granted to non-commercial stations until their activities, including religious programs, were investigated. The petition was rejected.
Since 1975, the FCC has received 21 million pieces of mail about the rumor, Holder said.
Under the Broadcasting Act, the FCC is prohibited from interfering with religious programs because they are protected by the First Amendment right of free speech, she said.