Dispatches > In Brief

In Brief

"In Brief" Continued...

Issue: "The Road to Damascus," Sept. 21, 2002

Rev. Maes says he doesn't recall being told, and declines to comment further. But Bishop Fred Henry in Alberta stood behind his priest. A Catholic can be forgiven for having an abortion, he said, but cannot publicly favor abortion and work for a pro-abortion organization without risking excommunication. There's no "wiggle room" on the abortion issue in the Catholic Church, he declared.

Forgiveness is available to those who are repentant, the bishop said, "but it's hard to construe of anybody being penitent when they run to the media and try and politicize the issue."

Rated 'E'

Korey Smitheram wants to cut the sex, violence, and bad language from films sold in his video stores-and his customers, obviously, appreciate it. So when he got wind of a possible lawsuit from film directors, he filed suit first, asking a federal judge to affirm his right to edit his movies.

Mr. Smitheram and two partners own Clean Flicks of Colorado, a franchise of Utah-based Clean Flicks (a chain with 70 stores nationwide and an online rental "cooperative" at mycleanflicks.com). He noticed on the website of the Directors Guild of America that movie directors planned to seek a court injunction against his livelihood. Directors Guild spokesman Andrew Levy said the guild has taken no legal action and that the information should not have been posted on the website.

Clean Flicks spokesman Pete Webb said that movies are edited "to remove the 'rough edges'-the objectionable content-only for the family viewing audience.... [They] appreciate the story line or historical context, and want to be able to view the movie, without having to listen to the 'F' word."

Clean Flicks calls its movies "E-rated," meaning edited for content. Editors mute offensive language on the soundtrack, and splice out sexual and violent scenes. In The Patriot, for example, one scene shows a cannonball blowing a man's head off. This is typical of the content that is cut from Clean Flicks tapes, according to Steve Taylor, owner of a Clean Flicks store in Ames, Iowa. Movies like Traffic, True Lies, Twister, and Saving Private Ryan are among the 350 titles sold there.

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