Checked indignance

A recent NPR report decried televangelistic and parachurch ministries that frame their organizations as “churches,” escaping certain financial reporting requirements.

My first reaction to this exposé was nascent indignation.  NPR is not exactly an authority on what church is or isn’t.  I mean, just because NPR questions a label for something doesn’t have anything to do with whether that label is or isn’t appropriate, according to the Scriptures or to God.

Within a few seconds, though, I realized that the issue here is not a scriptural one.  Rather, the problem is financial responsibility and the potential for tax evasion and corruption.  These newspeople had identified financially irresponsible, or at least suspicious, Christian organizations — and seemed intent on bringing them down.  While I suspect NPR’s rationale isn’t exactly pure-hearted — meaning I doubt they would have gone after liberal non-profits with the same gusto — they did seem to have gotten into something worth getting into.

Indeed, we should be glad that NPR is working at this¹ seriously.  The eventual riddance of many of the richest, most widely broadcast televangelists would be good for Christianity:  non- Christians would have less reason to distrust bona fide Christian ministers, programs, and projects.

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¹ On the other hand, when NPR meddles, it ought to be radio-man enough to admit that it is biased.  To engage Bart Ehrman on questions of Jesus’ divinity claims (see here if interested), without a more conservative counterpoint, is sheer prejudice.  I’ve gathered that Ehrman is not the most liberal theologian out there, but NPR ought to acknowledge its atheistic and anti-Christian agendas verbally.

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5 thoughts on “Checked indignance

  1. godschildrenorg 04/09/2014 / 4:20 am

    Yes, NPR has influence among many. They know the “leanings” of those whom they allow to speak. Does saying, “The opinions aired in this program are not necessarily those of NPR,” excuse them from stating that the speaker represents a particular “faction?”

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    • Brian Casey 04/09/2014 / 10:02 am

      Interesting. I note especially your phrase “those whom they allow,” and that is very telling. In answer to your question, I’d say NPR is not excused if they are seen to be slanted one way. If they were presenting and allowing balance, the statement about “not necessarily our opinions” would hold more water.

      On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 4:20 AM, NT Christianity wrote:

      >

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  2. Bob Bell 04/09/2014 / 12:23 pm

    Of course if NPR started every broadcast with the phrase “fair and balanced” or “the no-spin zone” like Fox, I might give them more slack!! Anyway, I am a NPR fan but not for their politics. Sometimes their slant gets on my nerves but I always find the topics interesting. More than a few times NPR has caused me to suffer cognitive dissonance…liking the station but hating the station’s politics…

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    • Brian Casey 04/09/2014 / 1:31 pm

      Yeah. I’ll see your cognitive dissonance and raise you an academic disparity (or something like that).

      I like the sense of time they have — giving stories in gulps of 2 minutes or 10 minutes or a half-hour (not that I listen that long) instead of in 10-second bites. The depth is nice, at least, and the topics are at least sometimes intriguing. They just have such agendas, and I wish they’d get off it. Being “public,” it’s fine if NPR interviews an atheist, but not three in a row, as though that’s the only thing out there, following up with a disillusioned, once-atheist babbler who claims to have had paranormal experiences.

      On Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 12:23 PM, NT Christianity wrote:

      >

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  3. Brian Casey 04/10/2014 / 9:08 am

    Commentary from Facebook:

    Matthew William Bassford There are certainly abuses out there, some much closer to home than we might prefer. I’ve heard that Pepperdine describes its basketball coaches as “ministers” so that they can qualify for the clergy housing allowance.
    April 8 at 8:59pm ·

    Brian Casey That’s more than interesting, Matthew (as is the fact that voice dictation assumed I just said “Pinterest” instead of “interesting”). In one respect, anyone who has a Christian worldview is a minister, but it doesn’t seem that the government’s intent with tax shelters would extend to basketball coaches. another way to put this colon the government cannot dictate meaning and theology of the things of the Lord, but when it comes to taxes, that is their bailiwick.
    Yesterday at 7:52am ·

    Lynn Rhodes The IRS has stopped Christian universities from utilizing the ministerial housing allowance.
    20 hours ago ·

    Brian Casey Lynn, I hadn’t heard that and didn’t know how widespread the practice had been, anyway. I wonder if it is partly because universities are such big businesses. Hard to classify them as non-profits….
    46 minutes ago ·

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