The world’s largest religious broadcasting network faces yet another round of criticism and a lawsuit by former employees.

As the Tustin, California-based Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has grown to become the world’s largest owner of television stations (over 200 worldwide), so has the popularity of TBN president Paul Crouch. Some 25 million people have access to TBN programming via public airwaves, and millions more have access through cable. But with his growing popularity—or perhaps because of it—Crouch has plenty of detractors.

Crouch and TBN were the focus of a major inquiry conducted by the ethics committee of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) beginning in 1988. A statement on the investigation said the NRB did not have sufficient evidence to terminate Crouch’s membership (CT, Mar. 5, 1990). But in another, somewhat curious statement released later, the NRB said its ruling should not be interpreted as an exoneration, implying the complaints might have merit.

Not long after, Crouch withdrew from the organization. According to the Los Angeles Times, he told his viewers, “I don’t need the NRB poking around their nose in my business. Brothers sometimes persecute brothers.… I’ve been persecuted by the NRB, and I resigned from the NRB because of it.”

The latest action against TBN came in August in the form of a lawsuit filed by three former ministry employees. Ruth Ward, her husband, and her son were fired earlier in the summer. According to the suit, Ruth Ward was let go because she questioned the TBN practice of categorizing full-time ministry employees of the organization as contract laborers. This, she claims, enabled the ministry to save money by ...

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