Christian Broadcasting Network

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Founded in 1960 by Pat Robertson, the Christian Broadcasting Network started operations as a local UHF broadcast television in Portsmouth, Virginia. It did not take commercial advertising, and conducted its first fundraising "telethon" in 1963. It now transmits, via broadcast, satellite and cable, to approximately 200 countries. Gordon Robertson, Pat Robinson's son, is Chief Executive Officer; President and Chief Operating Officer is Michael Little.[1]

Beginnings

Listeners were told that 700 subscribers, paying $10 per month, would pay the station expenses. This appeal was successful, and provided the name for Robertson's key "700 Club" program.

1964 saw the "televangelism" component develop, in which the audience began both offering contributions and asking for prayer. Robertson formalized the prayer, ministry and television response in 1965, which continued to grow into the present cable, broadcast and satellite distribution to 200 countries.

In 1977, CBN started the nation's first basic TV cable network with satellite transmissions of religious and syndicated family TV shows. By 1981, CBN Cable reached nearly 10 million homes. Renamed the CBN Family Channel in 1988, the commercial cable operation continued to prosper and was sold in 1990 to International Family Entertainment Inc. (IFE), a publicly held company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange. IFE was sold in 1997 to Fox Kids Worldwide, Inc.. Disney acquired the Fox Family Channel and it was named ABC Family on November 10, 2001.

The core CBN remains a nonprofit organization, built around the 700 Club.

Politics

In 1988, Pat Robertson was a candidate president in the Republican presidential primaries. He used the supporter lists to create the Christian Coalition, a political movement. He has consistently used the forum to insist that the United States is a Christian nation.
“America wasn’t built on Hinduism. America wasn’t built on Islam. America wasn’t built on Buddhism. America and our democratic institutions were built on the Christian faith. There is no question about it.” [2]

A television industry journal points out that 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations cannot endorse candidates. Gordon Robertson told the author the Internal Revenue Service if non-profit religious groups spout anything political, especially endorsements or any appearance of promotion of a candidate or political organization. "Instead, most TV ministries like Christian Broadcasting Network's 700 Club, and faith-based networks like Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and INSP—The Inspiration Network, are reminding their viewers of the values they hold dear and then presenting each candidate's position." Gordon was surprised when his father endorsed Rudy Giuliani in 2008, although the elder Robinson made it clear that it was a personal endorsement.[3] Nevertheless, there have been concerns that Pat Robertson's role in CBN is so dominant that there is an appearance of official linkage.

Pat Robertson has dismissed charges that political activity is inappropriate on a tax-exempt religious program.
We have had a distortion imposed on us over the past few years by left-wingers who have fastened themselves into the court system and we have had a lie foisted on us that there is something embedded in the Constitution called separation of church and state.” (2002 “Road to Victory” conference)[4]

CBN produced a special on the 400th anniversary of the settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, celebrated at the Assembly 2007 event. John Blanchard, the event coordinator, said "They did come ashore dragging a cross... We were started as a Christian nation," Blanchard told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, "and I feel it's God's purpose we stay a Christian nation." The local government, however, strictly enforced only the established Anglican Church, and there was no religious freedom even for other Christians. [5]

Evangelism

On 1 October 1995, CBN launched CBN WorldReach with a mission of converting 500 million people to Christianity using Gospel programming to targeted international audiences.

Middle East Television (METV), located in Southern Lebanon, was formed by CBN, and lated was sold to a like-minded ministry, LeSEA Broadcasting, in July 2001.

Over 10 Christian Broadcasters unite in a special for the United States, rWhere is God Now?", a two-hour primetime special produced by CBN, which broadcast between November 21-24, 2001.

700 Club operations

700 Club Prayer Counseling Centers in Virginia Beach, Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee provide prayer, scriptural counsel, and literature to people who call CBN's toll free telephone prayer line. The center's phones are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by a staff of paid, volunteer, and “on call” workers who are trained in offering comfort and encouragement from a biblical perspective.

Humanitarian operations

Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation is an affiliate organization founded by Pat Robertson in 1978.

Education

For more information, see: Regent University.

In 1977, CBN University was founded, and subsequently became Regent University.

International

Pat Robertson reaffirmed his ordination vows on March 27, 2000, following the recognition of his 70th birthday. CBN Newswatch was instituted to cover the Iraq War.

Pat Robertson participated in the the Herzliya Conference in Israel at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy, and Strategy on December 17, 2003. Israeli Cabinet Member and Minister of Tourism, Benny Elon, presents Pat Robertson with honorary Ambassadors Award at the NRB convention on February 15th.

Operation Blessing begins providing emergency relief for Tsunami victims in Asia on December 26th. On January 7, 2005: John Tesh, Connie Sellecca and family travel with Operation Blessing to Sri Lanka to aid Tsunami victims.

In April 2005, Pat Robertson, Bono, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and other celebrieties appeared for ONE: The campaign to make poverty history—www.one.org.

Internet video sharing among Christian broadcasters debuted on 15 May 20005.

Controversial content

In 2005, Robertson said, on the 700 Club with respect to Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with[6]

While CBN later removed the blog, in 2009, it ran a post by Kimberley Daniels, which warned,
During this period demons are assigned against those who participate in the rituals and festivities. These demons are automatically drawn to the fetishes that open doors for them to come into the lives of human beings. For example, most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches."[7]

On the 700 Club show of 13 January 2010, Pat Robinson said to co-host Kristi Watts that Haitians had sworn a pact to the Devil to get independence from France, and the recent earthquake was a manifestation of that. "But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other. Desperately poor...They need to have and we need to pray for them a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I'm optimistic something good may come. But right now, we're helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable. [6]

References