Linda Rios Brook faced a crucial decision this summer: either give up her prestigious job as station manager of television station KARE, the NBC affiliate in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, or stop discussing her Christian beliefs at evangelical and charismatic conferences. She chose the former.
Brook had been station manager of KARE since May, 1989, and had previously held similar positions at television stations in Texas and Florida. For years she had openly discussed her Christian faith at religious gatherings without controversy until the June 26 issue of City Pages. The magazine, which describes itself as an “alternative news and arts weekly” in the Twin Cities area, published an article about her titled “God and Gannett,” referring to the media conglomerate that owns KARE.
A caption with the article said, “Embattled KARE station manager Linda Rios Brook seems to see herself as a persecuted Christian; news staffers say they dislike her just for being herself.” It quoted comments she had made on such topics as demons, the New Age, the role of Jews in “persuading Pilate to crucify Jesus,” and “the last days before the tribulation and the entree of the anti-Christ.”
In early August, Brook was one of the speakers at the International Lutheran Conference on the Holy Spirit in Arden Hills, Minn. Acknowledging that she had come to “a turning point in my life,” she told the gathering that she must “either be silent about my Christian faith or risk being thought of as a fool, a zealot and a bigot.”
Proclaiming her determination to continue speaking about her belief in Jesus, Brook said, “It is my intention to teach about him and to speak about him on my personal time to those who invite me to do so until I die, even if it means giving up other things that I have worked my whole life to achieve.”
Two weeks later, she had left her job at KARE. In a one-sentence announcement, the station said she had resigned “to pursue a different career challenge and other goals.” Station spokesmen declined to give any further details.
In a telephone interview, Brook said she had decided to resign after consulting with “three pastors that I submit to in the Twin Cities area--of three different denominations, because I speak in a lot of denominations.” She said she had no specific plans for the future but is sure that God “has something in mind.”
Brook, her husband and their two teen-age children are members of Vineyard of the Lake in Orono, an independent evangelical congregation. She said she considers herself to be “a charismatic Episcopalian” but added that she doesn’t attend an Episcopal Church now because “in the Twin Cities, the charismatic movement is not appreciated in the Episcopal Church.”
She declined to say whether she had been pressured by KARE to leave her job but insisted that “I have never used television in any place where I have ever worked to advance my personal agenda.”