February 2, 2006

Group says “Will & Grace” will mock crucifixion

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A conservative advocacy group that
urged a boycott of NBC's recently canceled drama about a
pill-popping priest turned its wrath on Thursday to an upcoming
"Will & Grace" episode that it says will mock Christ's

NBC announced this week that pop star Britney Spears would
make a guest appearance on the gay-oriented sitcom as a
Christian conservative hired as a talk show sidekick to the gay
character Jack played by series regular Sean Hayes.

In the episode, scheduled to air on April 13, Jack's
fictional TV network is bought by a Christian broadcaster,
leading Spears' character to do an Easter cooking segment on
Jack's show called "Cruci-fixin's."

The American Family Association immediately raised
objections to the planned episode, saying it "mocks the
crucifixion of Christ" and will "further denigrate
Christianity" by airing the night before Good Friday.

"NBC does not treat Jews, Muslims or other religions with
such disrespect," the Mississippi-based group said on its Web
site. "Yet the network demonstrates a deep hostility toward
followers of Christ."

NBC officials were not immediately available for comment.
Nor were representatives for Spears, whose planned appearance
on "Will & Grace" will mark her first public performance since
she had her first child in September.

The advocacy group called on its supporters to urge network
affiliates to refuse to run the episode and to write letters of
protest to NBC executives. It also included an appeal for a
"small donation to help us in this effort."

The same organization urged an affiliate and advertising
boycott of the recent NBC series "The Book of Daniel," a drama
starring Aidan Quinn as a Vicodin-addicted Episcopal minister
who talks to Jesus.

NBC, a unit of the General Electric Co., canceled the
program last month after just three weeks on the air, citing
abysmal ratings.

But the network also had trouble finding commercial
sponsors for the show, and several smaller affiliates declined
to carry the series, objecting to its portrayal of Christian