Televangelism or Porn?

Televangelism or Porn?

Why you should care

Porn stars and televangelists have more in common than you might think, and we don’t just mean the laying on of hands.

Catapulted to prominence by mass media, this controversial industry — with its heavily decorated performers and ornate, kitschy sets — successfully launched global organizations that have provided comfort, entertainment and pleasure to millions of viewers for decades. But now, despite past riches, celebrity performers and surviving countless sex scandals and political controversies, that industry’s star is beginning to fade.

Which industry? Well, the description fits two: televangelism and porn. But the similarities between them don’t end there. See if you can identify which profession the following statements refer to, televangelism or porn. The answers are at the bottom of the page.

QUIZ

1. This industry’s practitioners routinely lay their hands on complete strangers to arouse the recipient into a state of ecstasy as a means of alleviating stress and other maladies. The gratification is usually short-lived.

2. The owner of one of this industry’s most successful companies devotes a quarter of his profits to bringing contraception and contraception clinics to the Third World.

3. The success of this industry on cable television exposed average Americans to an expanded selection of outreach positions, supplanting the more traditional missionary positions used by previous generations.

4. This industry’s largest broadcasting network is headquartered in sunny Costa Mesa, California, where most of the company’s employees live and the majority of their performances are filmed.

5. During the Great Depression, the itinerant predecessors of this industry’s performers went town-to-town in the Midwest and South, earning their living by performing for locals in tents.

6. One of this industry’s founders and leading figures won a landmark First Amendment decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, expanding freedom of speech.

7. One of this industry’s founders and leading figures was forced to step down in disgrace after being caught with a prostitute for a second time.

8. Six well-known leaders in this industry came under congressional investigation in 2007 for misuse of company funds, including excessive executive salaries and housing allowances and luxuries such as private jets and Rolls-Royces.

ANSWERS:

  1. Televangelism
  2. Porn: Phil Harvey, the owner of Adam & Eve, one of the biggest porn businesses in the United States. Harvey recently launched a campaign to get Pakistani men to wear condoms.
  3. Televangelism
  4. Televangelism: The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), America’s largest Christian television network, is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. The adult film industry is largely based in the San Fernando Valley to the north.
  5. Televangelism
  6. Porn: In Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, Larry Flynt was sued by the Reverend Jerry Falwell in 1983 over an offensive ad parody. After Falwell’s recent death, Flynt said that despite their differences, the two had become friends over the years because “I always appreciated his sincerity even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling.”
  7. Televangelism: Jimmy Swaggart, founder of the multimillion-dollar Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, was forced to admit he was addicted to pornography and prostitutes.
  8. Televangelism: In 2007, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent letters to six Christian media ministries, including those of Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland, requesting information about their expenses, executive compensation and amenities given to executives.
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