US Christian evangelist gets nod to start TV broadcasting firm in India

Word of God Fellowship Inc, a controversial Christian evangelistic group with a global TV empire, has been given approval today to set up a fully owned Indian company to redistribute TV channels in the country.

The Fellowship, led by Christian evangelist Marcus Lamb and his wife Joni Lamb were in the news four years ago after Israeli Jewish groups protested the government granting it a broadcasting license in the country.

The protests, which alleged that the network aimed at converting Jews to Christianity, led to the pulling of the channel from its service by HOT, a prominent Israeli cable network — leading to a lawsuit.

According to the Government, the company will set up an Indian unit to “undertake to the business of broadcasting – downlinking and distributing to cable operators a non-news and non-current affairs channel.”

The company owns the Daystar Television Network, which runs tens of TV stations and satellite channels all over the globe, spreading Christianity.

India is seen by evangelistical group — so called because they try to actively spread Christianity through conversion — as a suitable ground for the spread of the religion. Attempts by state governments, such as those of Gujarat, to prevent or disincentivise conversion of tribals (categorized as Hindus by default) have met with fierce criticism from Christian leaders, including from the Vatican.

Marcus Lamb had created much controversy five months ago by claiming that he had been having an affair.

This led to a series of lawsuits, including by those who felt ‘let down’ by the Evangelistical leader who had been preaching the right way to them.

According to Wikipedia, in February 2011, Jennifer Falcon, a former Daystar employee, filed a lawsuit claiming to have suffered sexual harassment by Bill Trammell, Joni Lamb’s father and Daystar’s administrator of special projects. Falcon further claimed to have been demoted and defamed by the Lambs after Trammell’s behavior was discovered.

The following month, Karen Thompson, a former producer for Joni, sued Daystar for wrongful termination, claiming to have been harassed and fired for dating a male co-worker. Daystar denied the allegations of both lawsuits, and accused Falcon of being involved in the alleged extortion scheme.