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FCC Makes it Harder to Bring the Good News

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In a world full of sleazy reality TV shows, like The Jersey Shore and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, it is refreshing to have religious broadcasters providing wholesome programming as an alternative.  And while encouraging programming that promotes honesty, honor, respect, restraint, and charity seems like a no-brainer, if the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has its way, religious broadcasters will find it very hard – and, in some cases, perhaps impossible – to continue these ministries.

For years, the FCC has granted churches and small faith-based organizations an exemption from closed captioning requirements, because the additional financial burden would cripple their ability to produce these programs.  Now the FCC is rescinding all exemptions and allowing only 90 days for programmers to meet these costly requirements.

As special advisor for the FCC, I was there when these waivers were first introduced, and I know that without those exemptions, many churches can’t afford to continue broadcasting.

As President Obama goes around the nation talking about his jobs bill, the FCC, under his direction, is making it harder for businesses and organizations to continue their work.  Or are they forgetting that religious broadcasters employ people?  Anyone can see that in order to make the adjustment to comply with these regulations, organizations will need to make some cuts – deep ones if they want to survive.

Remember that many of these ministries already depend on the contribution of their supporters.  And with the current economic climate, those contributions are getting smaller and smaller; everyone is hurting.  The timing of this couldn’t have been worse.

According to Politico, the decision came after deaf advocacy groups sent complaints to the FCC.  If that is the case, their complaints are understandable.  These churches would love nothing more than to share the Good News with everyone, including the deaf.

But the FCC could have taken any number of measures to encourage and, in fact, make it easier for broadcasters to provide that service.  If they really wanted to help those advocacy groups, they could have at least provided religious broadcasters a lot more time to make these adjustments.

The FCC’s “iron fist” suggests a darker motive.  Why such animosity towards religious groups?

The erratic implementation of these high hurdles creates an undue hardship for these small Christian broadcasters that will be very hard to overcome.  Clearly, the cure is worse than the disease in this case.

I hope the FCC reconsiders this unnecessary move and allows religious broadcasters to continue doing their marvelous work, which contributes much needed aid to our moral and cultural decay.

Truthfully, we should be begging them to continue their work for our country’s sake.