Christian Radio Station Asks for Money in a Dirty Way

99point1FMad

A friend of mine from college who lives in New Jersey saw this on her parents’ kitchen table a couple of weeks ago and sent this picture my way. She says it’s a post card advertisement for Star 99.1 FM, a Christian radio station in New Jersey. I really don’t have a problem with this radio station existing, or with them asking for donations from their listeners. I do, however, have a serious issue with what they’re implying through their word choice in this ad. It says:

“I was without a job for over a year and that was a very difficult time for our family of 4.

We really didn’t have extra to give, but God was tugging at our hearts to support Star 99.1 . Just two weeks later I found the job of my dreams.

God is good, faithful, and He keeps His promises. Thank you Star 99.1 for doing His work and for being His voice, hands and feet in the community.”

-Ivan

Look familiar? It reminds me an awful lot of something John Oliver talked about in his video on televangelists and their tendency to go after desperate people for monetary gain. Here’s that video in case you’re curious.

This is really despicable. I’m currently doing mundane temp work to make ends meet (in other words, not default on my student loans) and someone else in my position or a worse one might read this and think, well, I’m struggling financially but how about I make that worse by donating money! Clearly donating to the right place will get me the job I need.

I mentioned this to my mother, who’s a devout Catholic and a fan of our local Christian radio station, and even she thought this was making an inappropriate suggestion. Donating to a Christian radio station is NOT the same as looking for a job. It’s not the same as filling out applications and networking and revamping your resume and writing cover letters galore. I sincerely hope that no one, upon seeing this ad, thought “Well, I’ll have to skip dinner a few times but maybe God will fix my financial woes if I donate money!”

I know that’s not what the station means for its mail recipients to get from this ad. I also realize that the person making the statement in the ad about finding his dream job is supposed to be a listener, not a representative of the radio station. However, I’m also positive that someone who works for the station still had to look at the ad and approve it. Someone affiliated with them saw this and thought, “Yep. In today’s job market and economy, this is an appropriate way to ask for money.” That’s not OK.

If this had been an organization that wasn’t religious, I don’t think anyone would just stand by and consider this normal. But for too many people, this makes total sense. Of course God is waiting for you to donate to His radio station before giving you that dream job you’re looking for!

Have any of you seen similar examples of religious organizations appealing to desperate people for monetary gain? Feel free to leave a comment. All opinions are welcome. Just be respectful and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!

Nancy

The Six People You’ll Meet at a Religious Retreat for Teens

I’m working on a post about religious retreats and emotional manipulation, but it’s not quite ready yet. I’d like to get a post out while it’s still today, so this one’s mainly just for fun. Here’s a list of the six people you’re likely to encounter at a religious retreat or other large youth-oriented religious event.

1) The Addict

This is the guy (or girl) who says he’s done drugs. Specifically, he’s addicted to alcohol and he smokes weed. Maybe he’s done something else too that he refuses to name for dramatic effect. He’ll get up there at the retreat and testify that even though he’s done all these things, being at this retreat makes him want to change. From now on, he’s going to be clean, because Jesus. Next week, you’ll still catch him cutting class to do pot.

2) The one who Needs Therapy

This is a person who tells everyone there that he or she has been abused in some way. Maybe he remembers being beaten by his father, or she wants to tell you that her boyfriend raped her. Whatever the story, you believe it, but you’re not sure how you feel about hearing it. This person just proclaimed their very damaging past publicly to a group of strangers, and sounds like they need psychological help. Like The Addict, they’ll end their story with “It’s all good because Jesus,” but for this person, it seems even more tacked on. It seems like they’re desperate to tell someone their story, regardless of whether or not this is the appropriate setting. You hope they get the help they need so they can stop confessing to retreat groups.

3) The Pop Culture Preacher

This is the priest/minister/monk/nun, etc. who is totally with it. He (or she) will make references to whatever the latest teen sensation is, and every few sentences there’s a joke. You’re more interested in the humor than his message, so when he eventually gets serious and tries to lead you in prayer, you zone out. You wish more priests/ministers/monks/nuns, etc. were like this guy. He makes religion entertaining.

4) The Purity Pledger

This is someone, typically a girl, who says she’s had sex, but won’t anymore. When she gets home, she’s going to have a serious talk with her boyfriend about sex. Whether that “talk” even happens has yet to be determined, but you can bet your own future sex life that by the time she’s in college, she won’t even remember having made this promise because let’s be honest, sex is awesome.

5) The Purity Spokesperson

Generally female, but sometimes male (or a couple that preaches together). This person’s job is to guilt you into not having sex. “Picture your future husband watching what you and your current boyfriend are doing on that couch,” she may say. “You know you’re not going to marry him. Would you still do it if your future husband were watching?”

Some of her arguments may seem reasonable. It’s certainly good to avoid pregnancy and STIs. But then, right when she has the audience agreeing with her, she takes it too far. “I saved my first kiss for marriage,” she says, “and I recommend that for all of you.”

“Well…that ship has sailed.” a solid three quarters or more of her audience thinks, and her influence over them is lost at that point.

6) The CHRISTIAN Musician

This is the person or group that was hired to provide Christian entertainment. Their songs will be even more repetitive than the majority of popular music. If there were any alcohol on the premises (ask person number 1?) you could make a pretty successful drinking game if you drank every time the lyrics said “Jesus,” “Halelujah,” “Grace,” “Cross,” or “lift up.” If you’re ever forced to listen to the sorry excuse for music that is Christian Rock, I recommend this.

A big thanks to my little brother for corroborating on some of these.

What do you think about this list? Do you have anything to add? Have you experienced a religious retreat? Feel free to comment. As always, all opinions are welcome. Just be respectful and think things through before posting.

Happy thinking!

-Nancy