Wednesday, March 28, 2012
A sad story... though not surprising
Well, anyone who has watched should have known that this was a disaster in the making and that Jan and Paul might not be fully transparent in the morals and money departments. The whole nature of this enterprise is suspect -- if only because it lacks any real accountability or honest oversight to the excesses that seem to be endemic to such "ministries." And now we know it was "too good to be true" (not exactly how I would put it).
The world's largest Christian TV channel, the California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network, has become embroiled in a multimillion-dollar financial scandal after members of the family that founded it alleged widespread embezzlement.
The claims – by Brittany Koper, whose grandfather Paul Crouch founded TBN, and by Joseph McVeigh, another family member – describe exorbitant spending on mansions in California, Tennessee and Florida, private jets and even a $100,000 (£63,000) mobile home to house the dogs of Crouch's flamboyant wife, Janice.
The network, which claims to broadcast in every continent except the Antarctic and has 18,000 affiliates, was set up by Crouch in the 1970s and preaches a "prosperity gospel" which promises material rewards to those who give generously.
Two years ago it declared a net worth of more than $800m, although in recent years it has faced increasing financial problems. Details of the claims are contained in cases filed with the California courts by McVeigh, who says he was targeted by the network, and 26-year-old Koper, who was fired in September.
According to the lawsuit, reported in US newspapers, Paul Crouch Sr obtained a $50m luxury jet for his personal use through a "sham loan", while church funds – many of which come from donations during events like its "Praise-a-thons" – paid for the dogs' mobile home.
TV has not been necessarily helpful to the Christian cause and a couple of more scandals do not make it easier for those who may legitimately use this technology for the honest work of the Kingdom. That said, I still cannot figure out why folks out there would trade an authentic Christian congregation, Pastor, and mission work for these glitzy and kooky fakes -- like TBN. They would get nowhere unless folks were there sending in the cash. I wonder how many Lutherans have sent in money (while at the same time stiffing their local parishes!).