Orginally published on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 6:30 AM
by Todd Rhoades
Huh, Chuck Swindoll? Yes that's not a typo. It seems even Chuck Swindoll has been not been able to pass the Christian censors at the VCY Radio Network. Last week, VCY released a statement telling why they have dropped Swindoll from their stations. Among the bad words Chuck has used since 2000 (yes, they've been keeping a tally for 7 years now): buns, heck, crap, balls, and also for mentioning (and encouraging the viewing of) the Lion King.
Here’s part of the release:
“Since 1979 VCY America has aired Insight For Living. Increasingly over recent years, VCY has been concerned about the content and direction of the IFL broadcasts with Chuck Swindoll. Through the years we have had multiple conversations with IFL regarding objections to content in their broadcasts. It is VCY’s position that certain language and illustrations used have been crude, vulgar, and from the gutter and have no place on Christian radio.
While the listing below is not exhaustive, it does give a representation of VCY’s objections that have resulted in the termination of the broadcast.
The decision to bring termination to the IFL program arrived on March 5, 2007. VCY and listeners were highly offended by Chuck Swindoll’s use of crude and uncalled for language. His message was entitled, “Male Leadership 101” which was a presentation given to men at his church. Although a disclaimer was given at the beginning of the program, Swindoll had a sustained laugh as he stated had he known this would be on radio at the time of speaking he probably would have changed things around because he tends to be “a little loose and a little free.” But he says he found “people appreciate that”. The specific area of offense came when Chuck stated:
“The sons of Issachar understood their times, they were men who had discernment and the sons of Issachar were men who had direction. They could make decisions. They saw through all the fluff of that culture. They stood strong when others were fading in the shadows. Patton would say they had guts. You’d say at work, they had balls. Or maybe that’s a Greek rendering of another verse.” (Laughter)
It is VCY’s position that this language is gutter talk, is crude, and vulgar. VCY stated to IFL that such language is uncalled for, is unbecoming a pastor, and is inappropriate for our listeners.
Within moments of this broadcast, a businessman contacted VCY who uses this station as a witnessing tool. He keeps VCY playing in his office so those who visit him will hear. He told VCY he was very upset by this IFL program and if he wanted vulgar language he would put on secular talk radio. VCY can only agree with this anger and frustration.
Knowing this was Part 1 of a message, VCY pre-listened to the March 6, 2007 broadcast. In this message Chuck Swindoll addressed accountability, sensitivity, purity and integrity. These virtues were compromised when he spoke the following:
“The battle still goes on. It will never end. In fact I had my physical the other day and Cooper who has a finger that long (pause and lots of laughter), that long (continued laughter). And while he was up in there said, ‘Now that’s your prostate.’ I said (Swindoll yells) ‘I know that’. Was this anatomy class? (Laughter). He’s a very sick man. (Laughter). Got through prostate, checked out great. I bragged about that to Cynthia about three hours. ‘I’ve got a great prostate.’ She said, ‘get a life, honey.’” (Laughter)
VCY finds it unacceptable to broadcast Chuck Swindoll’s re-counting of the length of the finger of his doctor and describing it in his body while checking his prostate. This is both crude and offensive.
While the issues presented on the March 5th and 6th broadcast brought the ultimate decision to terminate the program, these were not the only concerns VCY has expressed to IFL. Beginning in the year 2000, there was a national boycott of Disney led by the American Family Association, Focus on the Family, Southern Baptist Convention, etc. Christian broadcasters all over the country were giving warnings regarding the homosexual promotion such as gay days, gay-friendly issues and other depraved issues being promoted by Disney. While this boycott was going on, Insight For Living took another position. The November 20, 2000 IFL program promoted “The Lion King” (produced by Disney) using it as an illustration. Chuck Swindoll stated on this broadcast,
“Now I could ruin the rest of the story for you, but rather than doing that, I’ll urge you to go down to your local video store and rent for yourself, ‘The Lion King’”.
At that time VCY addressed concern to IFL pointing out that researchers who reviewed this movie stated that the one who anoints Simba as king, was Rafiki, who happens to be a witch doctor. Rafiki carries his magical pack on the top of his staff. Viewers are taught throughout the movie that you can align yourself with witchcraft to overcome evil. It is also pointed out that the movie promotes talking to the dead (necromancy). VCY questioned IFL why they would be promoting Disney when so many Christian ministries were warning against it and were participating in a national boycott. No official response came to VCY’s inquiry, only that “the comment would be passed on.”
On the January 3, 2001 edition of IFL Chuck Swindoll used an illustration of Art Linkletter talking to a boy whose father is a police officer. Art asked if the boy’s mother was bothered by this, the boy responded and Chuck emphasized, “Heck, No!”. A couple moments later Chuck again made great emphasis, “Heck, No!”. VCY contacted IFL stating “heck” is slang for “hell” and that listeners were offended by this. The IFL representative assured VCY they’d pass our comment on.
Again VCY contacted IFL on February 5, 2001 regarding that day’s program. Chuck used an illustration from a regular column he reads from “Sports Illustrated” magazine written by Rick Riley. This particular issue’s column was entitled, “Speaking of Class to the Class of ‘98”. Chuck’s illustration dealt with the topic of “perspective”. Before he read the quote he said, “I won’t read it all, but it’s really worth these excerpts.” The offense came when Chuck quoted this portion of the magazine,
“Be careful with your money, write your own checks, none of this power of attorney crap. Get an agent and a lawyer and tell each, the other is a crook. (Laughter) That’s perspective.”
VCY alerted IFL that day that the word, “crap” is crude, uncalled for and offensive and should not to be used in a Christian’s vocabulary, let alone come from a pulpit and broadcast all over the country. VCY stated to IFL that this term Chuck used did not pass the test of Ephesians 4:29.
On February 11, 2001 a personal meeting was held between members of VCY and those which represent IFL to review the various concerns raised. This was followed up by a personal visit of an IFL representative to VCY in late February of 2001.
On August 23, 2001 again VCY brought to the attention of IFL an offending illustration. On that program, Chuck told of the fun they were having on Ben Yahuda Street in Israel and said,
“One of our men said the funniest things that I heard on the trip. He said, ‘I don’t know what the big deal is about all the clothes people bring with them on a trip.’ He said, ‘I’ve solved the underwear problem. In fact, I now carry 1/4th the underwear I used to carry.’ He was telling us things we really didn’t need to know… He said, ‘Actually you can get four times the wear out of every pair of underwear. So simple.’ And, we of course were hanging on these words wondering what he had in mind. He said, ‘Look, it’s simple: right side out, wrong side out, frontward and backwards. You can just wear the same one for’-I noticed toward the end of the second week, no one was sitting next to this guy. (Laughter) There’s just something about it that turns you off.”
Chuck continued with his clothing illustration to bring the point that “clothing polishes the image, but it doesn’t polish the character.” It is VCY’s position that this illustration had no business being on this national Bible teaching program.
On September 5, 2001 VCY again contacted IFL regarding that day’s program on which Chuck Swindoll calls into question a literal interpretation of Genesis for a six day, 24-hour day creation. On that program he stated,
“On what day did He make the sun? It was the fourth day. So for three full creative days or eras of days, however you might handle that. For three solid periods of time there was light, but there was no sun…But what’s interesting to me is that the light that came upon this earth, for a period of who knows how long, did not come from the sun. Where did it come from?”
In this message IFL called into question a literal six-day, 24-hour day creation. IFL responded that he wasn’t teaching on creation at this point and that his “brief comments are to be taken in the context of an illustration rather than a doctrinal teaching.”
FOR DISCUSSION: Any thoughts? Would you be in favor of a Chuck Swindoll banning and book burning? What do you think Ingrid says when she hits her finger with a hammer?
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