Sunday, September 25, 2005

Venezuela: the irony of evangelical broadcasting

"Robertson's explosive comments managed to inflame Venezuelan public opinion and led to strong statements from incensed officials. Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel, with a long and conflictual history of dealing with evangelicals, remarked that Venezuela was weighing court action against Robertson. 'There is a legal measure in the United States that condemns and punishes statements of this nature,' Rangel observed, referring to broadcasting regulations dealing with calls for the assassination of another nation's leader.

"On the other hand, according to David Zelenak, Director of the Resource Department at the evangelical New Tribes Mission which operates in Venezuela, Chavez was initially somewhat partial to Protestants and evangelical groups like his own. Zelenak says that before Chavez came to power in 1999, Christian radio and TV were outlawed, a policy reversed by Chavez. Robertson in fact broadcasts his 700 Club to Venezuela over TV station Televen.

"Ironically then, 'Robertson's program would never have been there if it wasn't for Chavez.'" ...

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