Despite the claims that all television ministries have been or will be affected by recent controversies, the Rev. Frederick K. C. Price of Los Angeles says contributions have stayed "basically the same" from viewers of his program on about 90 U.S. television stations and cable systems.
The Rev. Pat Robertson said this week that donations to his Christian Broadcasting Network were down in April "a staggering 33%" from the same month last year and "cost this ministry $10 million." The Rev. Jerry Falwell said his television ministry lost $2 million in the month since the PTL scandal broke on March 19.
A negative impact has been predicted by sociologists and religious leaders in view of PTL founder Jim Bakker's admission of marital infidelity and, at about the same time, evangelist Oral Roberts' much-ridiculed claim that God would "call him home" if he did not raise $7 million by April 1.
But Price said, "We have had no significant increase or decrease in income." His program, "Ever-Increasing Faith," features his lesson-like preaching from the Bible during services at the 15,000-member Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles.
Price also said that his contributors have not pressed him for full financial disclosure. "One reason why, I believe, is that I don't make any public appeal for money. I don't cry about money," he said.
The pastor said he talks about projects needing money through his monthly magazine and during four-day crusades in major cities, such as one in Chicago next week. "I tell them about costs (of buying television time) and what happens to the money," he said.
A question in his magazine this month about how the pastor's salary is handled "so that your income does not take too much from the church" was answered obliquely by Price. He wrote that the salary should be a "decent" one, "comparable to (one in) secular employment." He did not reveal his salary. "I never discuss my salary or my employees' salaries," he said in an interview.
Most churches, he added, tend to pay the lowest salaries possible because they feel that Christians should not work for as much money as comparable secular jobs would bring. He said his 12-member executive board sets his salary. "They're happy with what they pay me," he said.
The Islamic Center of Southern California and other Muslim centers in the region have protested what they say is insensitive language in a Los Angeles City Council measure making appropriations for the First Annual Salute to Israel parade on June 14. The measure, approved April 29, said the event will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the "reunification" of the City of Jerusalem--which Muslims maintain amounted to an "annexation" of Arab-dominated sections in 1967. Salam Al-Marayati, a spokesman for the Islamic Center, said the City Council "should not be involved in matters of foreign policy." Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky declined a Muslim request this week to introduce an amendment to change the language.
The difficulties of encouraging public morality based on both religious and secular values will be discussed by Richard W. Fox of Reed College, author of the recently published "Reinhold Niebuhr, a Biography," at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Ex-Congressman James Corman, now president of the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, will speak on the role of religion in American politics at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. The Rev. Eugene Boutilier, executive director of the Southern California Ecumenical Council, will moderate a discussion of his talk by a priest, minister and rabbi from San Fernando Valley congregations.
A British Eastern Orthodox bishop who has authored theological books and prayer texts under the name Timothy Ware will lecture on the spiritual meaning of icons at 7:30 p.m. today at St. Michael's Orthodox Church, Van Nuys. The Rt. Rev. Kallistos Ware, 53, a convert to Orthodoxy in 1958, will also serve the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at 10 a.m. Sunday at St. Holy Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in San Bernardino, according to the sponsoring Southern California Orthodox Clergy Council.
The Vedanta Society of Southern California, a group that will be involved in Pope John Paul II's meeting Sept. 16 in Los Angeles with local representatives of non-Christian religions, is holding its annual Ramakrishna Public Dinner at 11 a.m. Sunday at its temple on Vedanta Place in Hollywood. The speaker will be Swami Aseshananda of the Portland (Ore.) Vedanta Society, the senior U.S. swami in Hinduism's Ramakrishna Order, a movement named after its 19th-Century founder.
The Rev. Dumas Harshaw, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, has been elected president of the Los Angeles Council of Churches, succeeding the Rev. James Pierson, pastor of Wilshire Christian Church.