Christian TV Bombards U.S.
There is a storm brewing in the U.S. Christianity: its center the new evangelical movement. But like so many
issues for which there is a vast amount of support, the media is void of critical comment.
The fear of losing sponsors and listeners is effective as censorship. Fortunately,
there are a few media sources that may take a critical look at this sensitive topic.
Christian TV Networks
With 45,000,000 U.S. listeners,
1,300 radio stations, and over 300 affiliated TV stations the size of the movement is of horrendous proportions. These
stations broadcast to a potential listening audience of 150,000,000 people.
broadcasters are adding one new station to their arsenal every 30 days. Two major
networks PTL (Praise the Lord & People that Love) and CBN (Christian Broadcast Network) absorb most of the impetus for
evangelizing by use of television. PTL has a staff of over 550 employees and
$2,000,000 of TV equipment at its center in Charlotte, N.C. Its members contribute
$25,000,000 to keep the operation afloat. There are 179 affiliated stations (ABC
has 204), making PTL the fourth largest purchaser of airtime in the U.S. The
rival Christian Broadcast Network with its headquarters in Virginia Beach, VA has a staff of 700, a $22,000,000 operating
budget and 500,000 supporting members around the country.
these two giants by no means have the Christian TV
market cornered. Others like Jerry Farwell, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, Rex Hubbard,
and Robert Schuller each oversee a massive multimillion-dollar TV and radio operation.
Even local churches are actively involved in a crusade to capture local cable-TV outlets, and not to surrender the
airwaves to Satan. A consortium of major U.S. business leaders, led by Nelson
Hunt of the Hunt Oil Company fortune and Wallace Johnson, founder of Holiday Inn, have joined with Bill Bright of the Campus
Crusade for Christ in announcing a $l,000,000,000 mass-media advertising campaign to evangelize every man, woman and child
on earth at least once in preparation for the millennium. $l00,000,000 is already
in hand. A mass Madison Avenue selling campaign is underway. It is indeed chilling
to ponder the consequences such a huge propaganda campaign sponsored by the regressive elements of our society could have.
evangelical push is not just limited to the media, but is growing within the community, like a Glacier during an ice age. Evangelicals now talk enthusiastically about the development of "a total church living
complex." Typical of this new approach is Faith City, a Baptist
Church complex under construction in Tampa. Florida. When completed Faith City will contain a senior citizens home, an orphanage, a college campus, ranch for
boys, lake, parks, churches, and so forth. Another approach is the Christian
shopping center, piggy-backing off the success of commercial shopping centers. They
contain specialty shops and a central church complex. There are also Christian
nightclubs and restaurants featuring gospel groups, food and wholesome fruit juice cocktails.
To encourage patronage there are directories in every major city containing the names of businesses whose owners have
signed an oath that they are born-again Christians. These Christians can use
the old weapons of boycott and discrimination to add the impetus of the dollar to their cause.
are even organizations that provide Christian "Management" and offer industrial chaplains to "counsel" employees right on
the shop floor. There are over 5,000 evangelical elementary and high schools;
in the past ten years the Christian school movement has more than tripled. Two
new Christian schools are being established every 24 hours. There are well over
1,000,000 students in them. They study the biblical view of the world and each
persons role in it. For example, in social studies Christian curriculum stresses
that original sin is the basis of all human behavior in the physical world. No
one knows if and when this attack upon reason will begin to slow down.
those of us who want to develop a new society we all too often find that out opposition are mostly members of some church. Basic freedoms such as gay rights, abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment are staunchly
opposed by Christian organizations. Leaders like Karl Macintyre make speeches
weekly on radio and TV about fighting the godless communists, and "fearing god more than the bomb." Just like the VFW, the born-again Christians form a vast pool from which the conservatives draw their support. To a great extent, evangelical America is the silent majority that former President
Richard Nixon spoke to and for during the turbulent years of the late l960s and early I970s.
It is these backward looking and thinking people that provide the conservative pull and shape our future into one of
following, rather than setting, trends. Its impossible to forge America into
a progressive country, to develop the economic changes needed for full employment and prosperity for all, to develop a truly
progressive third party, and to defuse the atomic menace which has placed us on the brink of destruction when in this country
there is a huge religious conservative majority.