Contact Information:

Washington, DC, January 29, 1998 — DignityUSA urges ABC Entertainment and its parent company, Walt Disney, to support Nothing Sacred and resist right wing pressure to censor the show.

"DignityUSA is very disappointed to learn that ABC Entertainment has decided not to run an episode of Nothing Sacred that deals with a priest,Father Jesse, who is gay, has AIDS, and is struggling with the continuation of his vocation." Robert Miailovich, president of DignityUSA, also said, "It is unfortunate that the strident voices of right wing pressure groups prevent viewers from seeing this episode. The struggles and chall enges faced by the character, Father Jesse, are real. By denying viewers the opportunity to see this episode, ABC Entertainment has let a vocal minority control what the rest of us get to see on television. Nothing Sacred is adult dramatic entertainment, and should be viewed in this light. "

"The reality and the sensitivity of the episode is to be commended," says DignityUSA Executive Director Charles Cox. He went on to say, "This episode reminds all of us that the AIDS pandemic has not escaped any segment of society and Catholic priests, like all of us, are not immune. The desire on the part of some to deny this reality is sad and does a great disservice to all of us, especially those among us living with AIDS."

Charles Cox also said, "DignityUSA hopes that ABC Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company will decide to let this and other episodes of Nothing Sacred be aired. It is important to respect the rights of the viewing public and allow them to judge the merits of the show for themselves. Our hope is that Nothing Sacred, which has tackled several controversial topics during its first season, will be allowed to continue. The characters in the show, especially Father Ray and Sister Maureen, remind all of us that questions about faith are hard and sometimes difficult to face, but ultimately need to be answered. While some viewers may feel uncomfort able with the portrayal of Father Ray's character all of us need to remember that his character is more believable than Bing Crosby's character, Fr. Chuck O'Mally, in The Bells of Saint Mary's or Spencer Tracy's character, Fr. Edward Flanagan, in Boys Town."

Founded in 1969, DignityUSA is the nation's oldest and largest organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, and their families and friends.