Trying to preserve their electronic pulpits, the nation's religious broadcasters find themselves in the unusual position of fighting an effort by anti-indecency groups to thwart channels offering racy programming.Well, if the price of maintaining their viewership (and contribution levels) is siding with such evil channels as LOGO and here! (the new gay networks -- you just know they're talking about those here), so be it, right? Christianity is about sacrifice!
The issue involves a debate over whether cable companies should continue offering subscribers mainstream and niche channels in bundles, or let them buy what they want on an a la carte basis.
What started largely as a consumer issue has now morphed into a larger controversy involving whether cable operators should be required to continue exposing subscribers to niche channels, including religious ones, that people might not order on their own.
The debate has created unusual bedfellows: religious broadcasters that want to keep getting their messages out, and free-speech advocates who are fearful that the unbundling of cable channels is being used by anti-indecency advocates as a tool against provocative shows. It also pits televangelists against their usual allies in trying to clean up language and sex on TV and radio.
Christian broadcasters, including such big names as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, worry that changing the current system will cut into viewership. If that puts them on the opposite side of where they usually stand in the indecency debate, Crouch said, "so be it."
Seriously, I think this quote sums up their dilemma:
"We don't just want to preach to the choir; we want to reach the unchurched," said Paul Crouch Jr. of Trinity Broadcast Network in Santa Ana. "The bottom line is that we want to be everywhere on cable."Sometimes sharing the Gospel means being in the world and letting people make their own choices. Not all Christians like that idea. The world is scary, after all, and it's much easier to hide out, to block all the "bad influences" it throws at us, than to deal with those influences and make the tough decisionss.
Besides, can't any idiot with digital cable set parental controls anyway? (I know I accidentally blocked "Queer Eye" or something yesterday when I hit the wrong button. If I can do it, anyone can.)