These are strange, unprecedented days in which we live. Hold on; it's going to get much worse.
PBS board members, who for 25 years have turned a blind eye to religious programming at some of their member stations' religious programing, have decided to enforce a rule banning the broadcasts -- a move that spells the beginning of the end for religious shows on public television.
Six PBS stations currently broadcast "sectarian" programs produced by local religious groups, including the morning "Mass for Shut-Ins," which is popular among elderly and ailing Catholics who cannot attend the daily service.
Under the terms of a decision reached by the PBS board Tuesday, those stations can retain their current shows. And all stations can air programs and documentaries that cover sacred topics -- even a newsworthy service, like a papal Mass.
But no new religious shows can be offered, and none of the 350 other stations may air any purely spiritual content, a move some groups say is a quiet means of phasing out religion from their airwaves.