Watchwoman: FCC cracks down on religious broadcasters by forcing them to comply with a rule that they have to provide closed captioning on their TV broadcasts. Here’s the danger in that. The problems never begin with the extremist of measures — they end there. They come incrementally. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you get religious broadcasting off the air? One rule at a time. The FCC has no business telling churches they have to have closed captioning on their TV broadcasts. It’s fascism. In fact, the government has no business of any kind interfering with the Church of Jesus Christ at all. The reason that Churches are tax exempt is because they are thought of as a foreign embassy. The Church’s home is NOT on planet earth. It has a heavenly home and the only Head of the Christian Church is Jesus Christ! No man-made government official, politician or the FCC. The government saying anything to the church to rule over it is the same as if the government tried to tell the Russian diplomats how to run their Russian embassy in Washington DC. The Russian embassy’s grounds are considered Russian territory and the US government has no jurisdiction there. It’s the same with the Christian Church and it’s grounds. The US government and all it’s rule makers have no jurisdiction there. It comes under the Heading of Jesus Christ only — like a foreign embassy. The FCC may try to bring it’s wrath on the Christian Church of Jesus Christ, but the FCC will incur the wrath of God! God is not going to like anyone dictating to His Church, His Property and His Dominion on Planet Earth. The FCC better look out! They have God’s wrath coming upon them! God wins every argument. So the FCC better rethink it’s stupid and dictatorial position quickly! Don’t be deceived for a moment that it is about the government (FCC) being a nice-guy so that the deaf will have more access, it’s about Christians having less! Like Ronald Reagan said, government is not the solution, government is the problem! ▬ Donna Calvin
By BROOKS BOLIEK
If a church broadcasts the word of God on TV without closed captions, it risks incurring the wrath of the FCC.
Some 300 small- to medium-sized churches can expect letters from the commission within the next few days explaining why their closed captioning exemptions were lifted for TV shows like “Power in the Word” and “Producing Kingdom Citizens.”
The FCC has been mailing the letters for the past few days to churches from Maine to California, explaining that the hundreds of exemptions are now rescinded and giving the programmers 90 days to reapply.
The churches were granted FCC exemptions from the closed captioning requirement under a 2006 commission decision known as the “Anglers Order” for the Anglers for Christ Ministries program that had argued for exemption from the rules.
While the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau used the Anglers Order as the model to grant at least 298 other exemptions, the full commission overturned that decision Oct. 20 after objections were raised from a coalition of organizations for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The churches may still be eligible to win an exemption from the rules if they can prove they can’t afford closed captioning, but they now have to make their case individually.
“This was a process that went awry,” said Craig Parshall, senior vice president of the National Religious Broadcasters, an international association of Christian communicators. “Now, we are going back to Square One.”
Advocacy groups for the deaf contend that the bureau erred when it granted the exemptions en masse because that created a virtual blanket exemption for nonprofit organizations. Under the closed captioning law, programmers can win an exemption if they can prove that the cost of the captioning will cause an undue economic hardship.
The groups wrote to the FCC asking commissioners to overrule the bureau order arguing that the order “improperly and unilaterally established a new class of exempt programming.”
While the commission’s decision has an immediate impact on churches across the country, it isn’t directed at religious organizations in particular, Parshall said. Small- and medium-sized churches just happened to apply for exemptions under the closed captioning law’s exception for TV shows where paying for captioning is an undue economic burden, Parshall explained.
Advocates for the deaf said they were pleased the commission was taking action on the issue, and hoped that it would make more programming accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired.
“Now, we look forward to viewing more TV shows that were not captioned before,” said Jim House, spokesman for Telecommunications for the Deaf Inc. “It is our hope that those producers affected by the decision would see the positive benefits of making their shows accessible to more and more viewers and find that it is the right thing to do.”
Religious broadcasters want to reach the deaf community, but requiring churches across the country to close caption their TV programs could force the programming off the air, Parshall said.
“We believe our message needs to get out to the deaf and disabled communities,” Parshall explained. “All we want is a sensible regulatory structure that recognizes the plight of the small Christian broadcaster.”
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