Scandals at the biggest Christian TV network

Christianity has a presence on television.  Unfortunately, its presence come from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), a forum that presents a schlocky and embarrassing version of Christianity, its programming consisting mostly of “prosperity gospel” preachers.  It’s interesting how such ventures are so often accompanied by overt corruption and scandal.  From World Magazine:

A $50 million jet. Chauffeurs. Mansions in California and Florida. Clandestine affairs. Crimes and cover-up. Even a $100,000 motor home for the pet dog.

These are just a few of the allegations directed against the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and its directors in a pair of lawsuits filed in February by former employees of the nation’s largest Christian broadcasting network.

The first lawsuit, filed on Feb. 1 in U.S. District Court in California, contains charges by Brittany Koper, the former chief financial officer of TBN and the granddaughter of founders Paul and Janice Crouch. Her lawsuit is not against TBN but against Davert & Loe, one of TBN’s law firms. Koper’s suit says she discovered illegal activities when she became head of finance. Among the alleged activities: “the unlawful distribution of the TBN Companies’ charitable assets to Trinity Broadcasting’s directors,” some of whom are Crouch family members. The suit says “these unlawful financial transactions” exceed $50 million.

She took that information to Davert & Loe, seeking legal advice. The firm “acknowledged that the conduct in question was unlawful but nevertheless advised … Ms. Koper to perform and cover up such unlawful activities,” according to the lawsuit. The suit also says lawyers in the firm harassed her sexually. She seeks more than $500,000 in damages.

The other lawsuit is against Trinity Christian Center of Santa Ana, one of TBN’s corporate entities, as well as other TBN entities and Davert & Loe. Joseph McVeigh, Koper’s uncle, says TBN sued him in retaliation against Koper. A judge dismissed TBN’s claims against McVeigh, who now seeks legal fees and “punitive and exemplary damages.”

Both lawsuits paint a sordid picture of TBN, including allegations that Janice Crouch had an “affair with a staff member at the Holy Land Experience,” a TBN-owned amusement park in Florida. The suit also accuses Matthew Crouch, a TBN director and the son of Paul and Janice Crouch, of sexual and financial misconduct. Koper’s suit said that Matthew Crouch brought a gun to one meeting. He “began tapping the firearm … and asked Ms. Koper what she thought would happen [if] she wrote a memo to the board critical of Matthew Crouch’s financial improprieties.”

via WORLDmag.com | TBN again | Warren Cole Smith | Apr 07, 12.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Ryan

    I much prefer EWTN, Christianity’s other major presence on TV. Too bad the LCMS doesn’t have something on, we have some great teachers/pastors… Of course we are more interested selling media assests than expanding them.

  • Ryan

    I much prefer EWTN, Christianity’s other major presence on TV. Too bad the LCMS doesn’t have something on, we have some great teachers/pastors… Of course we are more interested selling media assests than expanding them.

  • Michael B.

    Even though only some Christian churches will promise riches and health for following Jesus, most of them promise something in the way of family well-being. This is completely contrary to the Gospels, which record Jesus’s followers as having extremely strained family relationships, and even Jesus saying: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.”

    Read the Gospel of Mark. Jesus died a loser in every earthly sense — he didn’t have a penny to his name, he died in physical agony, and he didn’t have a single friend in the world. So much for great wealth and great relationships.

  • Michael B.

    Even though only some Christian churches will promise riches and health for following Jesus, most of them promise something in the way of family well-being. This is completely contrary to the Gospels, which record Jesus’s followers as having extremely strained family relationships, and even Jesus saying: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.”

    Read the Gospel of Mark. Jesus died a loser in every earthly sense — he didn’t have a penny to his name, he died in physical agony, and he didn’t have a single friend in the world. So much for great wealth and great relationships.

  • SKPeterson

    Michael @ 2 – Remember the Resurrection and its aftermath. Peter repentant, forgiven and restored. The disciples, his friends and family brought to the faith.

    Granted, a good many of those persons subsequently followed Jesus literally – torture, persecution, war, crucifixion, beheading. and other grisly deaths.

    Family well-being, however it is defined, is not traditionally, and should not be ever, the primary focus of any church. The focus is on Jesus and the work of Good Friday and the promise of Easter Sunday. Everything else is the fruit of that work; if it leads to family well-being, so be it. If it doesn’t in many cases, so be it. Family virtue and well-being is extraneous to the Christian life, but may be counted as a fruit of the Spirit in the righteousness of Christ.

  • SKPeterson

    Michael @ 2 – Remember the Resurrection and its aftermath. Peter repentant, forgiven and restored. The disciples, his friends and family brought to the faith.

    Granted, a good many of those persons subsequently followed Jesus literally – torture, persecution, war, crucifixion, beheading. and other grisly deaths.

    Family well-being, however it is defined, is not traditionally, and should not be ever, the primary focus of any church. The focus is on Jesus and the work of Good Friday and the promise of Easter Sunday. Everything else is the fruit of that work; if it leads to family well-being, so be it. If it doesn’t in many cases, so be it. Family virtue and well-being is extraneous to the Christian life, but may be counted as a fruit of the Spirit in the righteousness of Christ.

  • Tom Hering

    Yup. The examples I’ve seen of Lutheran television ministry stink. The shows have mostly been about improving your marriage and family life, and about finding peace of mind. When Jesus is spoken of, it’s to convince viewers how relevant and contemporary He is. God forbid there should ever be more of this on television.

  • Tom Hering

    Yup. The examples I’ve seen of Lutheran television ministry stink. The shows have mostly been about improving your marriage and family life, and about finding peace of mind. When Jesus is spoken of, it’s to convince viewers how relevant and contemporary He is. God forbid there should ever be more of this on television.

  • Booklover

    I’m putting my plug in for EWTN, also. I don’t see it on TV, but I hear it on the radio and programming is excellent.

    The Lutheran radio I’ve heard is excellent, also.

  • Booklover

    I’m putting my plug in for EWTN, also. I don’t see it on TV, but I hear it on the radio and programming is excellent.

    The Lutheran radio I’ve heard is excellent, also.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    My own brief forray into Christian private education was as a board member of a small, classical christian school. But, without saying too much – I, and my wife, who volunteered to do the admin free of charge, discovered tax irregularities and dire finances, and then discovered a general apathy amongst board members towards it, more of half of them being Baptist pastors. Well, in the end we resigned. At my last meeting, they decided, with dire finances, to offer the admin position to one of the pastors’ wifes – with a salary!! Later on, they even encouraged a former teacher to mistate her income on her tax returns so as to hide the fact that they did not pay the taxes they deducted over to the receiver!!

    Yes, that did leave a bitter taste. Doesn’t mean that because it is Christian or that it is done by Pastors, that it is all hunky-dory.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    My own brief forray into Christian private education was as a board member of a small, classical christian school. But, without saying too much – I, and my wife, who volunteered to do the admin free of charge, discovered tax irregularities and dire finances, and then discovered a general apathy amongst board members towards it, more of half of them being Baptist pastors. Well, in the end we resigned. At my last meeting, they decided, with dire finances, to offer the admin position to one of the pastors’ wifes – with a salary!! Later on, they even encouraged a former teacher to mistate her income on her tax returns so as to hide the fact that they did not pay the taxes they deducted over to the receiver!!

    Yes, that did leave a bitter taste. Doesn’t mean that because it is Christian or that it is done by Pastors, that it is all hunky-dory.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Sadly, Klasie, non-profits in general are notorious for financial shenanigans. I had one ask me to work off the clock in a job that paid by the hour. Every single time they justify it by falling back on serving the “greater good.”

    I am not surprised at TBN’s troubles, they populated themselves with snake oil salesmen. Did they really think that they would stay out of the cookie jar? Always did wonder why people actually sent money to those frauds.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Sadly, Klasie, non-profits in general are notorious for financial shenanigans. I had one ask me to work off the clock in a job that paid by the hour. Every single time they justify it by falling back on serving the “greater good.”

    I am not surprised at TBN’s troubles, they populated themselves with snake oil salesmen. Did they really think that they would stay out of the cookie jar? Always did wonder why people actually sent money to those frauds.

  • Bob

    This is an old and sad story — corruption at TBN. It’s been going on for years. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Lord have mercy.

    Why Christian TV, anyway? Maybe that’s the bigger question.

  • Bob

    This is an old and sad story — corruption at TBN. It’s been going on for years. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Lord have mercy.

    Why Christian TV, anyway? Maybe that’s the bigger question.

  • Tom Hering

    Right. I agree with Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves To Death) that the only thing TV is really good at is entertainment. (Not that there’s anything wrong with entertainment, as such, and not that TV often succeeds in being entertaining.) News, religious programming, educational programming – everything on TV – will naturally move toward being more and more entertaining. So, if entertainment is the medium, and the medium is the message, can TV convey Law and Gospel truthfully? Would anyone watch if it could?

  • Tom Hering

    Right. I agree with Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves To Death) that the only thing TV is really good at is entertainment. (Not that there’s anything wrong with entertainment, as such, and not that TV often succeeds in being entertaining.) News, religious programming, educational programming – everything on TV – will naturally move toward being more and more entertaining. So, if entertainment is the medium, and the medium is the message, can TV convey Law and Gospel truthfully? Would anyone watch if it could?

  • Joe

    The medium is the message… I’ll stick with Lutheran Public Radio and Issues, Etc. in particular.

    Love the podcast feature that lets me list at 2x normal speed.

  • Joe

    The medium is the message… I’ll stick with Lutheran Public Radio and Issues, Etc. in particular.

    Love the podcast feature that lets me list at 2x normal speed.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, of course. TV does entertainment better than the movies, and radio does thoughtful content better than TV.

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, of course. TV does entertainment better than the movies, and radio does thoughtful content better than TV.

  • Bob

    Wasn’t it Postman who predicted long ago that politics and entertainment would become hopelessly intermingled?

    Welcome to today.

  • Bob

    Wasn’t it Postman who predicted long ago that politics and entertainment would become hopelessly intermingled?

    Welcome to today.

  • helen

    I haven’t been entertained by politics in a long time. :(

  • helen

    I haven’t been entertained by politics in a long time. :(

  • Grace

    Below is the article, written by Teri Sforza who has been covering the TBN story, within the community, NOT from afar.

    ‘Christian sympathy’ and ethical violations in Trinity fight?

    by Teri Sforza, Register staff writer
    April 9th, 2012,

    “We’ve been talking about how attorney Doug Davert, former Tustin mayor, has been accused of professional misconduct by the granddaughter of the Trinity Broadcasting Network empire. Brittany Crouch Koper filed a suit against Davert and his partner, David Loe, claiming professional negligence, and has filed a complaint against the lawyers with the California Bar Association.

    The accusations in Koper’s suit are many and occasionally sordid (Koper asserts that Loe sexually harassed her, grabbing her breasts and slapping her buttocks — which Loe categorically denies), but one of the main legal issues is whether Davert & Loe committed the mortal legal sin of surreptitiously suing their own client — while they were representing her as “trusted legal advisers.”

    “That’s not a subtle point,” said Ronald Rotunda, distinguished professor of jurisprudence at the Chapman University School of Law. “I don’t know these parties and I don’t know the facts of the case … but it’s certainly the case that a lawyer cannot act adversely to a present client, and not to a former client if relying on confidential information obtained in the course of representing that client, or if that client had a reasonable belief that the attorney was still representing that client.”

    READ THE REST: http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2012/04/09/trinity-scandal-christian-sympathy-and-ethical-oblivion/152079/

    If you choose, you can CLICK ON a number of articles, regarding TBN below the article and LINK I have provided. In this way, you can read for yourself.

  • Grace

    Below is the article, written by Teri Sforza who has been covering the TBN story, within the community, NOT from afar.

    ‘Christian sympathy’ and ethical violations in Trinity fight?

    by Teri Sforza, Register staff writer
    April 9th, 2012,

    “We’ve been talking about how attorney Doug Davert, former Tustin mayor, has been accused of professional misconduct by the granddaughter of the Trinity Broadcasting Network empire. Brittany Crouch Koper filed a suit against Davert and his partner, David Loe, claiming professional negligence, and has filed a complaint against the lawyers with the California Bar Association.

    The accusations in Koper’s suit are many and occasionally sordid (Koper asserts that Loe sexually harassed her, grabbing her breasts and slapping her buttocks — which Loe categorically denies), but one of the main legal issues is whether Davert & Loe committed the mortal legal sin of surreptitiously suing their own client — while they were representing her as “trusted legal advisers.”

    “That’s not a subtle point,” said Ronald Rotunda, distinguished professor of jurisprudence at the Chapman University School of Law. “I don’t know these parties and I don’t know the facts of the case … but it’s certainly the case that a lawyer cannot act adversely to a present client, and not to a former client if relying on confidential information obtained in the course of representing that client, or if that client had a reasonable belief that the attorney was still representing that client.”

    READ THE REST: http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/2012/04/09/trinity-scandal-christian-sympathy-and-ethical-oblivion/152079/

    If you choose, you can CLICK ON a number of articles, regarding TBN below the article and LINK I have provided. In this way, you can read for yourself.

  • Grace

    Please excuse my mistake, the blockquote above @ 14 was not properly applied.

  • Grace

    Please excuse my mistake, the blockquote above @ 14 was not properly applied.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Sadly, I cannot say I’m surprised at this.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Sadly, I cannot say I’m surprised at this.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    To the best of my recall, I have never watched a show on TBN.

    Have I missed anything?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    To the best of my recall, I have never watched a show on TBN.

    Have I missed anything?

  • SKPeterson

    TUAD – you’ll miss the awesome irony of the modalist T.D. Jakes being on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

  • SKPeterson

    TUAD – you’ll miss the awesome irony of the modalist T.D. Jakes being on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

  • formerly just steve

    TUAD, #17, judge for yourself.

  • formerly just steve

    TUAD, #17, judge for yourself.

  • Michael B.

    @formerly just steve@19

    “TUAD, #17, judge for yourself.

    Best post ever. If you have 60 seconds to spare, go to 12:28 in the clip.

  • Michael B.

    @formerly just steve@19

    “TUAD, #17, judge for yourself.

    Best post ever. If you have 60 seconds to spare, go to 12:28 in the clip.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    @19 and 20,

    Just saw about 2 minutes from Michael B.’s recommendation at 12:28.

    That’s just crazy. It’s really remarkable how much the charismatic worship and influence and movement has penetrated so many churches and denominations.

    I have a few people I know who swear by these Word-Faith, Prosperity-Gospel, Pentecostal TBN folks. I can’t even talk to them. I’ll just steer the conversation towards food or sports.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    @19 and 20,

    Just saw about 2 minutes from Michael B.’s recommendation at 12:28.

    That’s just crazy. It’s really remarkable how much the charismatic worship and influence and movement has penetrated so many churches and denominations.

    I have a few people I know who swear by these Word-Faith, Prosperity-Gospel, Pentecostal TBN folks. I can’t even talk to them. I’ll just steer the conversation towards food or sports.

  • Bob

    TUAD,

    Just don’t steer it toward politics.

    Given your posts on here, you’d be 2 peas in a pod with this wackadoodle crowd.

  • Bob

    TUAD,

    Just don’t steer it toward politics.

    Given your posts on here, you’d be 2 peas in a pod with this wackadoodle crowd.

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    I knew that there was a charismatic movement within Catholicism, but I didn’t know whether charismaticism penetrated Lutheranism. A quick google search shows that it has. Even within LCMS and WELS.

    An interesting combination: Lutheranism and Charismaticism. Any charismatic Lutheran have their own tv show or radio show? Anyone know a tongue-speaking Confessional Lutheran?

  • Truth Unites… and Divides

    I knew that there was a charismatic movement within Catholicism, but I didn’t know whether charismaticism penetrated Lutheranism. A quick google search shows that it has. Even within LCMS and WELS.

    An interesting combination: Lutheranism and Charismaticism. Any charismatic Lutheran have their own tv show or radio show? Anyone know a tongue-speaking Confessional Lutheran?

  • Justintime
  • Justintime
  • http://watchmanonthewall.webs.com/ Miss Patricia

    Sin is not hidden for long and the separation process is going on and will begin in the house of the Lord!

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/patricia-price-philibert-hagemann/a-word-for-the-watchmen-of-yahweh-and-a-warning-for-the-hirelings-of-lucifer-111/351179228232583

    video of Jan Crouch in Adultery

  • http://watchmanonthewall.webs.com/ Miss Patricia

    Sin is not hidden for long and the separation process is going on and will begin in the house of the Lord!

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/patricia-price-philibert-hagemann/a-word-for-the-watchmen-of-yahweh-and-a-warning-for-the-hirelings-of-lucifer-111/351179228232583

    video of Jan Crouch in Adultery