Of Christians and broadcasting

I don’t usually venture into this discussion, but a couple of recent stories are stuck in my craw, and my roots as a former Christian broadcaster won’t let me keep silent. The first is the story of the Detroit TV anchor who filed a civil rights complaint against his employer for the right to use his gifts and skills to evangelize as he sees fit. This includes a radio program. Billing himself as “America’s First Evangelical Anchorman,” WXYZ-TV anchor Frank Turner was denied permission to do the radio show, so he’s complaining to the EEOC. On his Website (yup), Turner explains that he hasn’t “discerned” from God that he should quit his (six figure) day job to go into the ministry full time.

The second is the matter of Trinity Broadcasting’s new tax exempt status here in Tennessee. This goes back 10 years to when Paul and Jan Crouch (she of the blue hair) bought Conway Twitty’s old place and converted it to a broadcast facility. Crouch wanted a highway sign, but the state refused to give one of those blue signs to what the state felt was actually a church. Crouch was furious and set legal wheels in motion to then claim the tax exemption granted churches. They obtained a favorable ruling a month ago, and Crouch is rejoicing in his victory. This facility is in a small community and county, both of which are now required to pay the ministry tax refunds totaling $400 thousand. That’s $400k during a 10-year period during which TBN raised $120 million a year from viewers. Big money by the county’s standards, not so much by TBN’s standards, but money and the tax exempt status were never the issue. Crouch didn’t get his bloody sign.

In both of these cases, we have Christian broadcasters using the government to get their way, and it, well, it just bothers me. Turner has options, but he knows that it is his position — not his person — that gives him reach potential with an evangelical audience, and that reach will always be greater (especially in Detroit) if he’s still on the air. A “former” anchor who got saved is a whole lot different than an existing one. And yet, he wants to have this cake and eat it too by taking the position that his evangelical status puts him above the rules of his contract. And one has to ask if God really needs Caesar to help Him have His way.

The same thing applies to Paul Crouch. This tax exempt matter is revenge cloaked in fair play, and the fact that he fought in the legal system for ten years to obtain it begs the same question about God’s need for our justice system to assist broadcast ministers in their evangelical efforts.

One hopes that God has a sense of humor, for this is the kind of stuff that gives His people a bad name in their quest to do His will.


  1. Very beautiful and interesting blog! I enjoy reading you blog… keep it up guys!
    Respect you!

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