I stole the first part of my title from FoxNews because I liked it so much. Apparently, the FCC has ruled that using the f-word is profane.
The Federal Communications Commission (search) on Thursday overruled its staff and declared that an expletive uttered by rock star Bono (search) on NBC last year was both indecent and profane. The agency made it clear that virtually any use of the F-word was inappropriate for over-the-air radio and television.Well sure, but that's not what profane primarily means:
"The 'F-word' is one of the most vulgar, graphic and explicit descriptions of sexual activity in the English language," the commission said Thursday. "The fact that the use of this word may have been unintentional is irrelevant; it still has the same effect of exposing children to indecent language."
pro·fane ( P ) Pronunciation Key (pr-fn, pr-)The original purpose of the prohibition on "profanity" was clearly to prevent broadcasters from defaming God, as the AP reporter notes farther down.
1. Marked by contempt or irreverence for what is sacred.
2. Nonreligious in subject matter, form, or use; secular: sacred and profane music.
3. Not admitted into a body of secret knowledge or ritual; uninitiated.
4. Vulgar; coarse.
The decision also marked the first time that the FCC cited a four-letter word as profane; the commission previously equated profanity with language challenging God's divinity.As this 2003 decision from the FCC asserts, bans on profanity are probably not legal anymore.
The United States Supreme Court has also struck down a state statute banning "sacrilegious" movies as violative of the First and Fourteenth amendments. Burstyn v. Wilson, 343 U.S. 495 (1952). In so ruling the court stated: "[i]t is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine. ..." Id. at 505.