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from the Bible, someone in the play triumphantly declaring  those verses.   The erring characters repent and are instantaneously reformed .   All ends well.   The world is happy and peaceful again.   Except the discerning one who looked for some quality in the drama.   He develops a headache.

Any play intended to project a moral at the end is bound to be boring.   The target audience to these plays are essentially the simple minded  who are incapable of distinguishing right from the wrong and who absorb these morals at one moment and forget them the next.   Bobby Talayarkhan, a famous cricket commentator once said while broadcasting from Bombay, “The TV set you are sitting before is an idiot box with the idiot at this end.”   In the case of moralistic TV plays one is not sure on which side of the TV is the idiot.         

When the examination months of April and May approach, the evangelists wake up afresh like hibernating frogs after the first rain.   They organise prayer meetings for those hapless students lost in their study, call them together to conduct prayer sessions (not study sessions) and pray over the TV for brilliant success in their examinations in order to get easy entrance into universities and professional colleges.   TV interviews are conducted where ex-students who did well in their exams in previous years are called to witness the benign effect of prayers by      this or that brother or uncle.   They are given prayer cards which the students are supposed to carry with them but not a word is spoken of hard work and concentrated study.   Every student is promised the first place in the examination.   The students are happy as also their parents.   The evangelists are happy too for having made so many young believers, until the day the results are published when it becomes clear to all that only one among them can stand first, not all as prayed for.

I remember the witness of a girl who went through this regimen.   She said, “A week before the examination I fell sick.   I couldn’t study at all.   I prayed with brother ….. ‘s prayer card .   When I went to the examination hall my mind went blank.   I took out the prayer card and prayed.   I then went through the question paper  and prayed again.   And when I started to write, to my surprise, I kept on answering all the questions as if I knew the answers well.   Then I realised that that it was not I but Jesus who wrote the answers.   I thanked Him for that .   I got good marks in the exam and obtained a  first class certificate.   Thanks to Jesus,  thanks to bro…… “   If the girl had realised it was Jesus who wrote her papers she should also have known that she didn’t deserve her degree and must have had the moral courage to return the certificate to the university.   Actually the degree must have been conferred on Jesus.   There is a catch somewhere.   Did Jesus help her with good memory to attempt her papers well or did Jesus connive with her in cheating?    Sometimes a person’s vision goes blurred and logic gets derailed.

Now and then we find these religious channels being used for advertising the sponsor’s own products like books, videotapes, audio tapes, CDs etc.   Books of Benny Hinn range from Rs. 1200 to Rs. 1700.   His pictorial calendar for 2005 was priced at Rs 1850 and a made-in-Israel earthen lamp which gives out fragrant fumes when lighted is prices at Rs. 4750.   Admissions to a group of engineering colleges is given wide publicity by supporting visuals of their lecture halls, laboratories, libraries, hostels, kitchens, playgrounds and other places of interest in the campus  including the enclosure for prayer where offerings  can be made.   Some senior students of the college are called upon to give testimony on the advantages of joining this college.    Evangelism then takes a second place

Evangelist Paul Dinakaran and his wife are on a visit to Norway (telecast: late April 2005)

A preacher from Andhra exhibits his lovely campus of Theological College run by him and charity home for women, near Vijayawada.    Quite a number of them also run orphanages, technical schools. Bible colleges, charity homes which they advertise along with their spiritual messages.   Pastor Benny Hinn’s support by a contribution of 2 million dollars to a Christian charity hospital in Calcutta, every year, was widely acclaimed both by the donor and the recipient on the TV sacreen..

Some of the evangelists in their desire to show how popular their ministries are, show footages of visuals of the crowd attending their meetings video-graphed from different vantage points.   Benny Hinn loves to declare the details and the number  of ‘saints’ at his crusades.   He believes that the total attendance in his three days crusade in Bangalore was 7 millions (seventy lakhs) which is one million

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