Subsidize the Great Commission!

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you,” Jesus says to his disciples at the end of the Gospel of Matthew.

This instruction to evangelize the world is known to many Protestant Christians as “the Great Commission,” and apparently some of them feel they need to be subsidized in this effort.

There’s been a move afoot for awhile for what’s known as “a la carte cable” where one could pay for only those cable channels one wanted to watch, rather than having to pay for entire packages of channels. Sen. John McCain, among others, is pushing legislation that would require cable companies to offer a la carte pricing.

Evangelicals provided much of the initial impetus for this legislation, since they were upset about having to pay for MTV and other channels that they regarded as immoral. But apparently the overlords of ‘Christian’ television see it differently, and believe that if people had the option of not paying for channels like the Trinity Broadcasting Network, they wouldn’t pay for them, which would hinder the spread of the Gospel. So a la carte is bad, they say, and cable consumers should have to pay for Christian programming whether they want to or not:

So there you have it: apparently the work of the Lord needs to be subsidized by nonbelievers for it to succeed.

What I want to know is, where’s their faith in God? Don’t they believe He can move mountains anymore? I would have thought the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of all that is, the Savior of the world, could get His message out without a helping hand from the heathens. Especially when 2 billion people around the world already profess to be Christians.

Is Pat Robertson’s God (the ACLJ is one of Pat’s organizations) losing His mojo? Maybe He needs His batteries recharged.

All I know is that my God is doing just fine, and doesn’t need to strong-arm nonbelievers for money, even if theirs is a bit under the weather these days. Maybe we should send Him a get-well card, c/o Pat, of course.

This is a sore spot with me, too.

Religious broadcasters took several loopholes in FCC policy and stretched them as far as they will go. Now that people (well, okay, Congress) want to make changes, the religious broadcasters are scrambling to protect their little patch of cable and satellite heaven and they’re not so hot about it anymore.

In related news, This L.A. Times story describes how religious broadcasters now hold the majority of noncommercial channels that were not intended for them, but for educational channels that couldn’t be expected to make a profit on the commercial band. CBN makes enough money and has enough programming that they can be expected to compete fairly against other commercial channels. Instead, they hog channels intended for educational and public interest programming and force equally (if not more) worthy programming off the air.

Finally, there is the Sky Angel satellite service, which is nothing but religious programming. For nine smackers a month, you can have your fill of it. If the fundies want all Jesus all the time, let 'em pay for it. But don’t force me to. Sauce for the goose, and all that.


OMG! Can this really be true???

Do you mean to say that “a la carte cable” would be opposed by broadcasters who would be hurt by it, and yet supported by broadcasters who would benefit???


It’s not that. The people who originally supported a la carte cable WERE the religious broadcasters, who wanted subscribers to be able to have some choice in the channels they got at home. Until they figured out that others wouldn’t take their channels, and thus they would lose revenue. So it’s a 180 change in thinking, largely over money. According to RT’s cite, they’re claiming that everyone has an obligation to take Christian programming to help spread their message, i.e., if their subscriber base drops, they’ll make less money.


What does God need with a cable channel?


How else are they going to build His spaceship?

Cable indeed!

  • so jump in the river and learn to swim
    God’s gonna take away all your sins
    and when at last you see the light
    God’s gonna buy you a satellite!*

OMG! Can this really be true???

Do you mean to say that a poster would completely overlook the thread title (which makes the point of the OP quite clear, I’d think), and respond to some background info provided in the OP as if it were the subject of the rant?



Nobody is forcing you to do anything. We had this discussion before. BY your criteria I’m being forced to listen to Howard Stern and country music. Or, maybe, I can just change the channel and the problem is solved.

It is possible to object to religion and religious programming without being disingenuous about it.

She didn’t say you’re being forced to listen to it; she said you’re being forced to pay for it.

Which is precisely true.

My cable package includes CBN (as well as a bunch of other religious and non-religious channels that i have absolutely no interest in), and there is no way for me to get cable without having those channels as part of the package.

I would be very curious to see what a la carte pricing packages would look like. Almost certainly there would be a reasonably high base charge to cover the technical solution of providing cable or satellite. After that, I guess it would scale up slowly? $20.00 for one channel, $21.00 for two channels, $22.00 for three channels, etc? Has anyone published any thoughts as to how this would work?

Well, IIRC, Pat Robertson’s God is a wimpy loser who takes six whole days to build one fairly ordinary planet, and then is so tired he has to take a day off. So, yes, he probably needs all the help he can get.

And I bet God can’t leg-press as much as Pat Robertson either.

Okay, let’s have a show of hands:

How many of you would never have known that Jesus is Lord if it weren’t for the religious station that came as part of your cable TV package?

If and when a la carte cable becomes reality, I will drop all of the religious channels like a bad transmission.

Warning - pedantry: No one’s being forced to pay for cable/satellite. I don’t, for starters, and no jackbooted thugs have shown up at my house to get my TV money from me.

Just a minor correction that doesn’t really change any of the arguments here.

I have no Jesus-only networks on my cable and I have heard of this Judean rabbi. I do have the speed channel, but I have no familiarity with the star attractions on that network. So, I think Speed needs to start deifying some drivers :smiley:

I just edit them out of my channel line-up. It’s as if they don’t exist.


I do watch them on occasion for the purposes of “Know thine enemy.” The creationism shows are particularly entrertaining. I laughed until I choked last week when I saw this exchange.

“We’re going to examine this fossil with this forensic tool. It’s so scientifically advanced that it’s used on CSI: Miami.

“Oh, wow, that’s amazing!”


You’re all missing the far more important question: will we be able to refuse the QVC and other shop-at-home channels?

Seriously, I think that Driver8 has a valid point. I’m skeptical, because my impression is that every time Congress has gotten involved with “fixing” cable, fees go up.

Which doesn’t change the fact that Pat Robertson is again proving him to be a Mammon worshipper. (Come on - who couldn’t do the math at the beginning of this strategy and see that for every “devout” person who dropped MTV about 10 others would drop EWTN?)