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Who do these damned Christians think they are?

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Are you now, or have you ever been a member of a Christian church? That should be the question asked before anybody can do business with the US government.

It has come out that an outfit called Grace Digital Media and their subsidiary Federal News Service have gotten a government contract to provide a television studio for producing an Arab language satellite news service. ZNet has details in an article by Russell Mokhiber (editor of Corporate Crime Reporter) and Robert Weissman, his co-author of the book Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits and the Attack on Democracy. Our pal Brian Flemming is also properly unpleased.

In case you are not yet properly incensed, Grace Digital Media means “grace” as in “by the grace of God.” God. Did you hear that? The person who runs the thing is a fundamentalist Christian name of Cheryl Reagan. If that isn’t bad enough, she is pro-Israel. To top it off, when Mokhiber and Weissman wanted to talk to her she was vacationing IN ISRAEL!!!

Now Grace Digital Media is only providing the studio, not the editorial staff. Still, a legitimate writer or anchor might see a Bible in the breakroom, or even be witnessed to by a camera man. Besides being offensive in itself, this could possibly rub off even accidentally and corruptly influence adherents of the Religion of Peace.

This is so wrong. Somebody needs to investigate. They can’t be allowed to get away with this.

It’s unconstitutional. It says right in the US Constitution that only atheists are allowed to do business with the government. Says it right there in the back somewhere.

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  • Al,

    Why did you leave out the most important part?

  • Alright Brian, I’ll bite: What most important part was that?

  • The part you left out on purpose, as you were writing that article, knowing that it would hobble your argument.

  • That perhaps it isn’t smart to create programming for a mostly Muslim audience designed to win their hearts and minds at the facility of a Christian company (which also makes films in support of Israel).

    I imagine it wouldn’t have been too hard to find a studio in DC owned by a company that isn’t overtly religious.

    But then not many people have accused Bush of being smart.

  • Brian, tell me that Rhodes thing wasn’t what you had in mind.

    Now we want to make some reasonable effort not to needlessly offend their culture in Iraq, but this is unacceptable. If some Arabs want to exhibit such exquisite sensitivity that they will be upset over so little, then tough. They’re going to have to get over some of that if they expect to sit at the big table with the adults.

    Should any companies owned by, say, homosexuals be prohibited from doing business in the reconstruction? Muslims are typically MUCH more offended by such folks than Christians are. It would be a great offense to Muslims to have a homosexual newscaster beaming their Arab language news to them. I suspect good liberals would find that as unacceptable as I would.

    Should Jews be prohibited from getting contracts for Iraqi reconstruction? You KNOW good and well that would inflame their sensibilities, or as I would say it, hurt their itty bitty feelings worse than anything. Tough titty.

    There is a critical point about plurality in society, about everybody getting in on the act that is very important here.

    If members of the Arab audience want to hear another source of info with an open mind, great. If they don’t want to hear, then they won’t no matter what.

    In the meantime, we absolutely should not cater to their bigotry.

  • Al,

    I can’t believe you are unaware of what you are doing. You have taken a company with a single-minded MISSION TO SPREAD CHRISTIANITY and pretended that it is a company merely OWNED by a Christian.

    To use your homosexual analogy, I will take an excerpt from the article you clearly read but ignored and insert an appropriate homo message. The original:

      Grace News Network proclaims that it will be a “unique tool in the Lord’s ministry plan for the world.”

      “Grace News Network provides networking links and portals to various ministries and news services that will be of benefit to every Christian believer and seeker of truth,” according to the company’s mission statement.

    The version Al Barger also thinks is just fine:

      GAY AND PROUD OF IT News Network proclaims that it will be a “unique tool in the HOMOSEXUAL ACCEPTANCE MOVEMENT’S plan for the world.”

      “GAY AND PROUD OF IT News Network provides networking links and portals to various GAY, LESBIAN, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDERED OUTREACH PROGRAMS and news services that will be of benefit to every GAY, LESBIAN BISEXUAL OR TRANSGENDERED PERSON and seeker of truth,” according to the company’s mission statement.

    I’d say, “Get it?” But obviously you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t have gone out of your way to forget to mention (oops!) that Grace News Network has a specific mission as a company to spread Christianity, and is not merely owned by a Christian.

    And, yes, I would say it would be extremely foolish for the Bush Administration to hire the equipment and services of the Gay and Proud of It News Network as well. However, it wouldn’t even be worth noting if the [blank] News Network were merely owned by a person who happened to be gay, or Christian, or both. In fact, I’d be opposed to any contract discrimination on the basis of merely the religion or sexual orientation of the owner.

    Ownership doesn’t matter in this case. Mission does.

    More:

      Grace News Network, headquartered in Washington D.C. a few blocks from the White House, is dedicated to transmitting the evidence of God’s presence in the world today. Through its expanding relationship with many organizations around the world, GNN gathers reports of signs, wonders and miracles and makes that information available to the world at large.

      Grace News Network: Our Purpose

      The purpose of Grace News Network is to proclaim the Good News about what God is doing today across the globe in signs and wonders and in addition, proclaiming the Rhema (prophetic) Word of the Lord. Grace News will be reporting the current secular news, along with aggressive proclamations that will “change the news” to reflect the Kingdom of God and His purposes. GNN will also train and equip the Saints with the necessary tools to sharpen their individual anointing and gifting.

      Grace News Network will be a unique tool in the Lord’s ministry plan for the world. Grace News Network provides networking links and portals to various ministries and news services that will be of benefit to every Christian believer and seeker of truth. Our international community of reporters, missionaries, pastors and leaders work together, encouraging and assisting believers and seekers worldwide. Our service to the world community takes many forms, including an international prayer network, book publishing, musical recordings, seminars, teaching materials in print and audio form and Internet news and views.

      Please check our web site in the near future as we build it with a firm foundation.

    And now I am done telling you what you already knew but pretended not to.

  • Brian, I’m not sure why you keep saying that I’m pretending not to notice something. I’m not going to try to get away with something here. For one thing, I’m a seeker after truth, not of ideological confirmation.

    For another, I couldn’t get away with anything here, cause you in particular (and good ol’ Sanford May) would righteously bust my balls. You help keep me honest, and that why I love you. :)

    I’m well aware that this company has spreading the good news of Jesus Christ as part of their corporate mission. I thought that was pretty much implied by explaining the “grace” name.

    I just don’t care. They’re not proselytizing here. They’re not running Bible verses or Pat Robertson on this satellite channel. They’re not running editorial functions at all. What they do in other aspects of their business is irrelevant.

    I would say the same thing about your hypothetical Gay News Network. If they want to go out after work and stand on the street corner passing out leaflets about how cool it is to be gay, it concerns me not at all.

    I’ll note that in this case at least, you are much more willing to discriminate against homosexuals than I would be.

    Again, neither Christians nor homos need to be using US government contracts to proselytize to the Arabs. What they do when they’re not on Uncle Sam’s tab is their business, not Sam’s, yours, mine, or the Arabs.

    Again, this principle of tolerance is very important in our own public affairs. Demonstrating this principle in action is of absolutely crucial importance in our interactions in the Muslim world.

  • Al,

    You wrote:

      I’m well aware that this company has spreading the good news of Jesus Christ as part of their corporate mission.

    Part? Grace News Network doesn’t HAVE any other mission. It has one mission and one mission only–to spread the Word of God (Christian version). What I quoted above is not an excerpt from their mission statement. It IS their mission statement.

    (Thank you for changing your tune, though. Before, you were writing things like, “Should Jews be prohibited from getting contracts for Iraqi reconstruction?”, which only follows from a straw man argument. Obviously, what you meant to write was, “Should the Jewish Defense League be given a broadcasting contract in Iraq?”)

    And I’m going to go out on a limb here–a Christian country that just conducted a military invasion of a Muslim country might want to avoid even the APPEARANCE of a proselytizing agenda. There’s a history of military force being used in conjunction with spreading the word of Christ in that region, and it’s not a pretty history.

    I think it would be very hard for a reasonable person to believe that the choice of Grace News Network was an accident. Would you really be able to look an Iraqi Muslim in the eye and tell him that you are certain the Bush Administration did not choose Grace News Network because their mission is “to proclaim the Good News about what God is doing today across the globe”?

    Man, the more I think about this, the dumber this choice looks. I kind of hope the Muslims in Iraq DON’T find out about it, because it is obviously such a hostile decision.

    If ACT UP offered broadcasting services, I doubt very much that Bush would contract with them to create the official U.S. propaganda station in Iraq.

  • Jeff PEtermann

    And yet, if ACT UP were the company in question, instead of an actual…dare I say it…Christian company, I doubt very seriously you in all of your liberal glory Mr. Flemming, would have even cared.

  • Matthew Hanna

    I know this is a really old article with really old comments but I wanted to put in two cents for someone who may stumble on it as I did.

    Muslim’s appeciate people being up front with them. Hiding your religion won’t help and in fact it could hurt the outreach effort. The only real way to bring Muslim’s to God is simply through prayer, love and patience. No forcing the issue, no hiding the truth, just being honest and true.

  • Matthew Hanna

    I know this is a really old article with really old comments but I wanted to put in two cents for someone who may stumble on it as I did.

    Muslim’s appeciate people being up front with them. Hiding your religion won’t help and in fact it could hurt the outreach effort. The only real way to bring Muslim’s to God is simply through prayer, love and patience. No forcing the issue, no hiding the truth, just being honest and true.