Tag Archives: TV

Peter Fonda to Portray Con-Artist Preacher

Deadline Hollywood says:

“Peter Fonda is set for a starring role in The Most Hated Woman in America, the true story of Madalyn O’Hair, an atheist who got the Supreme Court to overturn prayer in public schools. Netflix is financing the motion picture with Melissa Leo starring…

“Fonda will play Reverend Harrington, a con-artist preacher who partners with O’Hair to do a tour of revival meetings to prey on the God-fearing aspect of his followers. Leo will portray O’Hair, the outspoken and overbearing founder of American Atheists, whose eloquent, impassioned speeches in favor of separation of church and state were much at odds with her unethical business practices (the Internal Revenue Service had long-suspected that she moved the organization’s money into overseas bank accounts to avoid taxes).”

Rsad the full article.

Why Trinity Broadcasting Network won’t go away

Mark I. Pinsky, author and religion writer for The Orlando Sentinel, writing in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin:

“Faith and forbearance can sometimes be insurmountable barriers for religion journalists. When it comes to some true believers, I have learned, nothing you write that questions their idols seems to make any difference.

“I have been covering Trinity Broadcasting Network and its flamboyant founders, Paul and Jan Crouch, for nearly two decades. During that time, I have chronicled and investigated the inexorable rise of the world’s largest Christian media empire for newspapers on both coasts, in The Los Angeles Times and The Orlando Sentinel, as well as in chapters in several books.

“My detailed exposés in the Times have included the Crouches’ heavy-handed, corner-cutting, and even cutthroat dealings with fellow Christians, as well as disputes between Trinity and the Federal Communications Commission and evangelical trade groups like the National Religious Broadcasters. In part because of my reporting, Trinity withdrew from the NRB, and was stripped of its Miami television affiliate because of what the FCC charged was misrepresentation of minority ownership.

“I revealed dubious Trinity practices, like ordaining affiliate station managers (often Crouch relatives) in order for them to qualify for parsonage allowance tax breaks. Also, Paul Crouch’s practice of cozying up to third world military dictators like Guatemala’s Efraim Rios Montt, and puppets of the apartheid-era South African government, like General Bantu Holomisa of Transkei, in order to build television stations there.”

Pinsky got an interesting quote from Quentin Schultze, an author and faculty member at Calvin College. “Within conservative media ministries, criticism from outsiders often is seen as a badge of honor that validates a ministry’s righteousness,” Schultze said.

Excellent point, and I think that “criticism from outsiders” is seen as a badge of honor among numerous groups, whether their main thrust be religious, ideological, or political.

But Pinsky has much more to say about TBN and the Crouches than what I’ve shared above.

Read the full text of Pinsky’s outstanding article here.

NBC’s ‘Life’

Here’s what L.A. Times TV critic Mary McNamara said about NBC’s ‘Life’:

NBC’s new show about Charlie Crews, a cop sprung after 12 years in the pen for a frame job, is the best new show of the season. Balancing Zen and vengeful rage, Crews (Damian Lewis) is the most interesting quirky cop since Columbo.

I couldn’t say it better and briefer than McNamara, but I’ll add a layman’s evaluation of the religious and philosophical content of the show:

I’m drawn to this show because Damian Lewis does a thoroughly convincing job of portraying a peculiar character who (1) genuinely appreciates every little thing in life following his time in prison, and (2) seeks a religio-philosophical path to mitigate a barely visible but driving anger. As with the ambiguities of all personalities in a fallen world, Crews’ cassette recordings of Eastern spiritual-philosophical texts help him remain calm at times, and don’t make a difference at other times, when he comes close to losing his cool or leaves his partner at a crime scene to pursue answers to why he was unjustly imprisoned. This points to the value, and to the limits, of ethical philosophies and religions — they help control human nature, but they cannot transform human nature. So when a friend of mine said most evangelical Christians are functionally Buddhists — denying passions instead of allowing God to transform those passions, managing desires instead of learning how to relate to God and others in love — I thought he was onto something. Furthermore, in the ethical systems that have interested me, Stoicism and Confucionism, as well as in Buddism, there are purposeful guidelines and rich thinking, but never a Person who will love you.

Ratings haven’t been great for “Life,” but there’s good news.

“The action-fantasy ‘Chuck’ and the crime drama ‘Life’ have both received full-season orders, despite less-than-stellar ratings,” reported the Contra Costa Times.

Give the ratings a bump. Catch up at NBC.com/Life and then tune in when the holidays — and hopefully the writers’ strike — are over.

-Colin Foote Burch