Casting the first stone at non-Christian 'brothers'

LOLITA HARPER

It was comforting to see that the KOCE drama was finally over when a

judge ruled that the station's sale by the Coast Community College

District to the KOCE Foundation was, in fact, OK.

Well, it was comforting until the next paragraph, in which Daystar

officials -- those who run a very large, national Christian broadcast

company -- "vowed to appeal."

Something about "Christians" fighting tooth and nail for a small,

public station simply does not sit well with me. So, I contacted the

officials at Daystar. After a pleasant conversation with Alan

Bullock, who manages large donations and is the only person on the

Daystar website with a direct phone number listed -- as well as 16

easy ways to donate to Daystar -- I was told to submit my questions

in writing.

So I did. My e-mail explained who I was and who I worked for and

what I was writing about.

"To be very honest, I am struck wondering why a Christian ministry

is fighting so doggedly for this little station," I wrote. "I am a

believer myself and often think that public fights such as these --

in which a Christian ministry refuses to simply turn the other cheek

and continues to waste its viewers' contributions on such nastiness

-- tends to put Christianity in a bad light."

I wrote that I was interested in how the contributions are used

and if the station is a nonprofit entity. I was also curious if the

money is used only for broadcasting or if it finds its way back to

the community in terms of service, etc.

What I received was a response from Marcus Lamb, Daystar's founder

and biggest television personality. He forwarded me the response he

had written to a Long Beach woman named Robin, who happened to be

"both ashamed and appalled" at the behavior of Daystar regarding the

pursuit of KOCE.

OK. Not quite what I was looking for but here it is:

"It is not fair that you rush to judgment without hearing the

other side of the story," Lamb wrote. "Would you want someone to do

that to you?"

Um, no, but I didn't rush to anything, I just asked a couple of

questions.

"You are correct [that the Bible clearly states that we are not to

sue our brother] but the five college trustees are not our Christian

brothers and don't claim to be," Lamb wrote.

Whoa. Talk about judging somebody without knowing the other side

of the story.

The following response actually fit at least one of the questions

I had asked, which was why continue the fight? Why not turn the other

cheek and move on?

"The will of God is not always accomplished the first time," Lamb

wrote. "Satan and man can sometimes hinder the will of God. Sometimes

we have to fight for what is right. Many times we have had to do our

part in seeing the will of God come to pass and it has proven

successful and beneficial to the kingdom of God. God doesn't expect

us to just pray and not make any time of common sense efforts."

Common sense? How is this effort considered common sense?

If the main goal of the station is to spread the word of the

Gospel, one could remind Lamb that we have Trinity Broadcasting right

here in our own backyards.

If you haven't seen the gaudy (no pun intended) structure that is

lighted up like a Christmas tree at night, then I'm sure you've seen

their shows on your television program guide. I find it hard to

believe that those who want to search out the glories of God would

have to do it through television when there are tangible ministries

all around us.

Lamb also purports to be concerned with the college's financial

situation, saying that their refusal to accept Daystar's $40-million

cash bid is fiscally irresponsible because it contributes to the

school's existing financial woes, including an "underfunded"

teachers' pension fund and a 21% cutback in classes offered.

"The trustees are doing what they think is best for their

political careers but at the expense of the college, the teachers and

the students," he wrote.

Right, because a long, drawn-out, expensive lawsuit, in which the

district is shelling out thousands of public funds is good for ... ?

Oh, yeah, that's right, Daystar.

Wait, no -- I forgot the "15 million souls" Lamb said the station

wants to reach.

And their wallets? No, wait -- now I am judging.

* LOLITA HARPER is the Forum editor. She also writes columns

Wednesdays and Fridays. She may be reached at (949) 574-4275 or by

e-mail at lolita.harper@latimes.com.

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