Scandal and the New Media – How Should Christians Respond?

By Jay Rogers

(Originally posted on http://www.forrunner.com on November 11, 2010. Note: This article is not copyrighted and may be reproduced in any form without permission.)

I got an email recently notifying me of an advertisement that U.S. Representative Bob Barr (R-GA) is appearing as a speaker on the Cruise for Liberty in January along with a couple of Christian authors whose work has greatly influenced me. The problem is that Barr, a former Libertarian candidate for president, brings a new meaning to the slogan, “Cruise for Liberty.”

Controversies over Bob Barr’s personal conduct

In 1999, during Clinton’s impeachment trial, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt offered money to anyone who could provide evidence that a prominent Republican had engaged in an extramarital affair. According to the American Journalism Review investigators for Flynt said that Barr was “guilty of king-size hypocrisy.” According to a sworn affidavit by Barr’s ex-wife Gail: Barr (a longtime outspoken opponent of abortion) had acquiesced to and paid for the termination of his then-wife’s pregnancy in 1983. In accordance with his public offer: Flynt subsequently paid a sum of money to Gail Barr after she had made her sworn affidavit. Barr never publicly disputed the contents of his ex-wife’s affidavit. Investigators also reported that Barr invoked a legal privilege during his 1985 divorce proceeding, so he could refuse to answer questions on whether he’d cheated on his second wife with the woman who is now his third.

In the early 1990s, Barr was photographed at a fundraising event licking whipped cream off of a woman. According to the Washington Post, “Two people who observed the act say it wasn’t exactly a bosom lick but more like a neckline lick, at the sort of event where business and civic leaders perform dares to raise money. ‘Not exactly Mr. Effusive’, says Matt Towery, the former chairman of Newt Gingrich’s political organization, who observed the brief and awkward licking. ‘You can hardly get the guy to smile.’”

I realize that conference speakers sometimes have to appear on a platform with people who they don’t agree with. However, this is billed as a Christian event with speakers who supposedly uphold God’s Word as a blueprint for liberty. It’s ironic that they feature Bob Barr, a man who is on his third wife and was accused by his second wife of having committed adultery and having paid for an abortion.

Or am I just being a busybody? Am I participating in scandal-mongering by posting this? Even if I knew nothing about the abortion and adultery allegations, it would still irk me that a man on his third wife is lecturing Christians about liberty.

The epistemologist (one who studies belief systems) should understand how compromise works to hijack our worldview. We end up allowing the worst demons of our own depravity to share a platform with the angels of our better nature. We wink at a little indiscretion from time to time due the excuse that we are “all sinners saved by grace.” We slowly allow this to turn slowly into an egregious violation of God’s moral law. In this case, the other conference speakers are winking at an allegation of adultery and murder through abortion. I don’t know if the allegations are true, but I also don’t see where other Christian speakers have addressed the propriety of appearing alongside this man.

To be completely fair, I should address that fact that the “dirt” on Barr was uncovered by Larry Flynt, a pornographer with an open political agenda, during the Bill Clinton impeachment hearings. However, it appears that the allegations were substantial and had enough traction to make it into the mainstream press. Here is an interesting article from the American Journalism Review that discusses the propriety of the “main stream media” exposing the Bob Barr scandal. It also discusses the role of the Internet as the driving force behind the “new media.”

The conclusion I have drawn after 15 years of administrating Forerunner.com is that the Internet is no different than a newspaper press except that it requires no money or training to publish. Therefore, scandal in the new media is so common that most take it with a grain of salt. The downside of this is that nothing is shocking anymore. If scandalous behavior becomes Internet “news” or is already part of public record for those who will connect the dots, then we are repeating what may already be found elsewhere. We should realize that allowing others to read public record and draw their own conclusions cannot be avoided. Most of the time people are commenting on what has already been commented on a thousand times before – Mel Gibson, Tiger Woods, Bob Barr, and so on – even before a civil suit can be written or jury can render a verdict. For better or for worse, the new media is the police, judge, jury and executioner of human character.

For many years, people found it acceptable for journalists to blow the lid off political and private life scandals if the story made it through the rigorous grid of ethical procedural journalism. This was their job. They knew best. Or did they? Now with the Internet, anyone may by pass through this ethical grid with no rigor. As Christians, we are dealing with a new species of animal with the ability to reach thousands at our fingertips in a few microseconds.

The ethics of doing so needs to be examined, but we’ve passed into a time when the genie is out of the bottle. By the time of the Cruise for Liberty in January, many of the attendees will know all about Bob Barr due to the Internet and they will have drawn their own conclusions.

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Jay Rogers is the Founder of The Forerunner International (a/k/a Media House International) and has been writing since the 1980’s. Jay has also acted as script writer and associate producer for several Christian videos, including The Real Jesus and God’s Law and Society. He has a heart for Missions, is a fierce pro-life advocate and activist, and is currently the Director of The Forerunner – http://www.forerunner.com . He and his lovely wife Kalia now live in Kissimmee, Florida.

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War of the Worldviews with Eric Holmberg to air Monday evenings on the NRB Network

TRFW is excited about the new shows on the NRB Network –

Prime time is heating up with Apologetics programming featuring many great teachers, one of whom we have spotlighted right here on our blog.

War of the Worldviews with Eric Holmberg will air every Monday evening on the NRB Network – channels 378 on DirecTV and 126 on Sky Angel – 8 pm Central Time, 9 pm Eastern. War of the Worldviews is a new series from well-known Christian cultural apologist, Eric Holmberg (Hell’s Bells 1&2, Sound of War, Red Pill Forum, Marks of a Cult, and more). Eric is the founder and national director of The Apologetics Group and Reel to Real Ministries.

The first show will be Monday, May 17th.
8-9 pm CST
9-10 pm EST

Meant to challenge both the believer and non-believer, this program takes the truth of God’s Word to the frontlines of popular culture, philosophy, theology, and politics.

The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and offers non-profit programming distributed through a channel on DIRECTV. Please check your local provider for details.

Watch for updates weekly – invite your family, friends and co-workers to watch!

http://www.nrbnetwork.tv/schedules/Pages/default.aspx

War of the Worldviews with Eric Holmberg to Air Monday Nights on NRB Network

Featured Ministry – The Apologetics Group, A Ministry of Eric Holmberg

Many years ago when God first called me out of the darkness (with me very confused as to why he did that…) I saw a film in my church that changed the way I looked at the effects of music on my spiritual life forever. That film was Hell’s Bells, and it opened my eyes to the spiritual war going on that was right in front of me that I’d been totally unaware of. It revolutionized the way I looked at music and made me much more acutely aware of how music effected my life and the lives of my family.

The Apologetics Group, or TAG, once known to many as Reel to Real Ministries, was created by current CEO Eric Holmberg in 2003. Both TAG and Reel to Real have produced presentations such as Amazing Grace – The History and Theology of Calvinism, The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity & Divinity of Christ, God’s Law and Society, and many more great ministry tools.

Eric’s nearly 30 dedicated years of ministry has produced relevant media which has touched many thousands of lives worldwide. He has worked with some of the Reformed world’s greatest theologians, such as the likes of Dr. George Grant, R.C. Sproul, Dr. Stephen Mansfield, Dr. Ted Baehr… and the list goes on.

Anyone who has ever been to one of Eric’s seminars has had the opportunity to experience Eric’s unique and discerning view of media and popular culture from a Christian worldview. Indeed, if you didn’t leave the seminar changed in some way then perhaps you weren’t really paying close attention…

The focus of Eric’s ministry is educating the Christian (and anyone else who has ears to hear) about the world around them – culture, media, church history, doctrinal issues, the abortion industry, etc. Any of the various DVDs produced by TAG can be utilized in such educational settings as a home school, Sunday school, small groups, and as evangelical presentations or outreaches in a church or on a local high school or college campus.

For more information about The Apologetics Group or Eric Holmberg, check out their official website – The Apologetics Group.

Please note: Eric Holmberg and The Apologetics Group (a subsidiary of Reel to Real Ministries) is located in Tennessee and is not affiliated with the website nicenecouncil.com or it’s DBA parent company, Apologetics Group, Inc., which is located in Virginia.

Hope this clears up any confusion.

Abortionist Indicted in 2007 Abortion Death of 22 Year Old Woman

A Barnstable County, Massachusetts grand jury has indicted former Massachusetts abortionist Rapin Osathanondh in the abortion related death of 22 year old Laura Hope Smith. The grand jury investigation discovered attempts by Osathanondh, who was a Harvard Fellow, to cover up his neglect of safety procedures that resulted in the death of Miss Smith on September 13th, 2007.

Eileen Smith, Laura’s mother, spoke with CWA Policy Analyst Martha Kleder about this latest development.

Abortion Doctor Indicted in \"Legal\" Abortion Death. Evidence Shows Cover-up.

It’s time for the church to wake up on this issue. It’s not just the babies lives that are at stake.

Oh, No, Yoko! Your Lawsuit Has Been “Expelled”…

EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed film NEWS

News Watch
“Imagine” She’s Ticked: Yoko Ono Loses NY Lawsuit

New York Lawyer
June, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) – Yoko Ono has lost her Manhattan legal battle to block the use of John Lennon’s song “Imagine” in a film challenging the theory of evolution.

Lennon’s widow had sued the makers of “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” saying they used parts of the song without her permission.

In a decision Monday, federal Judge Sidney Stein says the filmmakers are protected under the “fair use” doctrine. That permits small parts of a copyrighted work to be used without an author’s permission under certain circumstances.

The movie opened on U.S. screens in April; it’s set for release in Canada on Friday and on DVD in October.

It presents a sympathetic view of intelligent design, the theory that the universe is too complex to be explained by evolution alone.

Ono’s attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

ALERT: Barnes and Nobel Allows Porn to be Accessible To Minors in Violation of State Law

Recently a local (TN) minister took his 11 year old son to Barnes and Nobel to pick up some DVDs that he had ordered, and while he was there they both encountered a full color, opened coffee table book that contained something that NO 11 year old boy (or anyone else for that matter) should be allowed to display in a store that is frequented by minors.

We MUST speak out against this idiocy and protect our children from the slow indoctrination in sexual perversion. Let us join with others who care about maintaining a family friendly environment for ourselves and our children in holding Barnes and Nobel (and other businesses) accountable for their actions.

I will no longer shop at Barnes and Nobel until their policies change (and perhaps until they quit allowing their buyers to purchase these types of products for their company.)

Please go here to find out more and please be advised that this information is NOT SUITABLE for children:

Article:
Eleven Year Old Exposed To Gay Porn At Barnes and Noble and They Knew This Sort of Thing Was Happening

Here’s the radio show archive:
Worldview Matters with Brannon Howse: June 9, 2008

Here is the TN state law:

39-17-911. Sale, loan or exhibition of material to minors. —

(a) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly sell or loan for monetary consideration or otherwise exhibit or make available to a minor:

(1) Any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, video game, computer software game, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body, that depicts nudity, sexual conduct, excess violence, or sado-masochistic abuse, and that is harmful to minors; or

(2) Any book, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter, however reproduced, or sound recording, which contains any matter enumerated in subdivision (a)(1), or that contains explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, sexual conduct, excess violence, or sado-masochistic abuse, and that is harmful to minors.

(b) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly exhibit to a minor for monetary consideration, or to knowingly sell to a minor an admission ticket or pass or otherwise admit a minor to premises whereon there is exhibited a motion picture, show or other presentation which, in whole or in part, depicts nudity, sexual conduct, excess violence, or sado-masochistic abuse, and which is harmful to minors.

(c) A violation of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

(d) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the minor to whom the material or show was made available or exhibited was, at the time, accompanied by the person’s parent or legal guardian, or by an adult with the written permission of the parent or legal guardian.

[Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 1; 2000, ch. 763, § 1.]

So – If, after seeing the issue at hand regarding this incident, you wish to stand in the gap over this very critical issue, please go here to sign the petition and stop shopping there until they change their tune.

PETITION BARNES AND NOBEL LINK.
Thank you for your consideration in this vital matter. Please share this with your friends and church family.