Thursday, September 23, 2004

Lawyers--Lord of TBN and Paul Crouch?

This is part 2 of today's soap opera concerning Paul Crouch and TBN and gay sex. Please read part 1 first.

TBN seems to think by making more statements that the whole thing will die down. Yesterday, they released their 2nd press statement responding to the last 10 days worth of LA Times coverage, including the Lonnie Ford interview. The opening 2 paragraphs are written by those looking like they have something to hide:

A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times was full of inaccuracies, condescension and mischaracterizations about the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), its ministry and operations," said TBN spokesperson Colby May.

"It also confirmed that the press at times refuses to understand, respect or appreciate religious issues, particularly Christian inspirational television. One has to wonder what it is these days regarding the elite press' integrity. Over the past year it has collected quite a shameful, dishonest record: B Jayson Blair, a reporter who concocted stories for the New York Times; Jack Kelly at USA Today who did the same; Dan Rather and CBS using fraudulent documents seeking to damage President Bush; and the LA Times, which lost 10,000 subscribers for its partisan attacks on Arnold Schwarzenegger. Readers deserve better," said May.
The whole 2nd paragraph is a blanket attack on the media. This is a deflection tactic used by Democratic political operatives, not a supposed Christian leader. 'The LA Times is wrong because, hey look at the shameful things the media has done.' This is how they open the press release before addressing individual facts in the news coverage. If this doesn't raise red flags with you, dear reader, double-check to see if your heart is beating.

Red flags duly raised, we look for a refutation of the gay sex allegations that started this whole mess. I have pointed out twice before that Crouch and his spokesman have given quotes that don't quite say, 'Crouch did not have sex with Ford.' They try to leave the impression that the sex didn't happen, but they don't come right out and say it. Searching the 19 paragraph press release, we see TBN uses only one paragraph, #9, to address that charge:

TBN officials also state that the newspaper also could not resist once again mentioning a previous story which reported a false allegation that the 70-year-old Dr. Crouch had a homosexual liaison a few years ago. What was omitted, of course, was that the false accusations were manufactured by a convicted child molester and drug user as part of a wrongful termination claim. The claim remains false, no matter how often the story is repeated.
Please read that paragraph carefully. Colby May is a TBN lawyer and this is a written press release. This was surely vetted by lawyers and they know exactly what they are saying.

false allegation about a homosexual liaison--Enoch Lonnie Ford probably details in his book what happened before, during, and after the liaison. His allegation about the liaison could be false if Crouch disputes one of the details. For example, Ford might say they got to the cabin at 9pm; but, Crouch says they really got there at 9:15pm and that would make the 'allegation' false. (what's the deal with putting in there that Crouch is 70-years old...he's so old, there's no way he could do this? what's the point of that little detail)

false accusations--see above. If a point in the allegation is false, then the accusation is also false. They are talking about the allegations made by Ford concerning the liaison, not the actual sexual encounter itself.

the claim remains false--What claim? Which claim? It looks like they are saying the wrongful termination claim is false. There could have been a host of reasons Ford wasn't rehired. Ford alleges it was because of the sexual encounter. TBN can dispute that allegation and say 'the claim remains false.' Doesn't mean the gay sex didn't happen, just means he wasn't fired for that.

Again, this statement, especially this paragraph, is fishy. It's lawyerspeak. It tries to spin that no gay affair happened without actually saying that no gay sex occurred between these two men. Take this, with the other non-statements issued earlier, the hush-money payoff, the $1 million offer, and what do you have? A lot of questions, with the fundamental question left unanswered. Honorary doctorate or not, Dr Paul Crouch isn't really behaving like an esteemed Christian leader.

Ultimately, it matters little whether or not a sexual encounter actually occurred between Ford and Crouch. What's galling me is the inept handling of this matter by Crouch and TBN. They keep digging themselves in deeper, releasing suspicious statements, and trusting lawyers instead of the Lord. Christians 'in-the-know' have many suspicions about the TBN leaders, and this whole sordid affair isn't alleviating any of them.