TBN airs reruns in wake of scandal

COSTA MESA, Calif. – (KRT) – The Trinity Broadcasting Network kicked off its twice-annual fund-raising drive Monday with reruns, an unprecedented move partly prompted by allegations that its founder had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

TBN: The Blasphemy Network

Trintiy Broadcasting Network (TBN), led by founders Paul and Jan Crouch, is the world’s largest religious TV network. It claims to be a Christian ministry.

However, while some legitimate ministries and teachers (those who adhere to the orthodox teachings and practices of historical Christianity) appear on TBN, the network promotes such an incredible amount of heretical material – including extremist Word-Faith teachings – that it is often referred to as “The Blasphemy Network.”

The 31-year-old Christian TV Praise-a-thons have bolstered the network’s budget since the beginning, now bringing in nearly $200 million in pledges annually.

Officials at TBN, the world’s largest religious broadcaster, are hoping that the reruns, honed to present the best moments of past telethons, will keep viewers’ donations coming.

The telethon runs for a week 24 hours a day, with donations solicited over the telephone and the Internet as viewers listen to music, testimony, Bible teaching and preaching.

The decision to drop a live show in favor of “best-of” Praise-a-thon programming was partly prompted by accusations that network co-founder Paul Crouch had engaged in a homosexual affair and then tried to cover it up, station officials said.

But the decision mostly was made to accommodate health concerns about Crouch, 70, and his wife, Jan, 66, who recently underwent a successful gall-bladder surgery, officials said.

News of Crouch’s alleged tryst surfaced in September when a former TBN employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, went public with his story.

Crouch has denied the allegations. He sued Ford for allegedly violating a 1998 confidentiality agreement in which he was paid $425,000 to keep quiet about the alleged encounter. That lawsuit is pending.

In October, an arbitrator filed an order in Orange County Superior Court awarding Crouch $136,000 in legal fees from Ford to pay for defending the disgruntled employee’s original wrongful termination suit.

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