The WORD Network’s future on television has been in flux since the recent announcement by COMCAST to pull the stations broadcast in certain key markets.
The WORD Network has fought this decision aggressively by calling for a boycott, getting civil rights leaders involved, as well as congressmen and women.
Mega-church Pastor Jamal Bryant has penned a recent letter (below) addressing his concerns, and reiterating the need to fight Comcast’s decision.
READ BELOW: Written By Jamal Bryant
As a minister of the gospel one of the things I preach to my congregation each Sunday is the need to fight injustice, speak truth to power and call out those who want to suppress our viewpoints or our perspectives. We live in a nation where everyday we continue to fight for our survival, demand respect from those who try to disrespect us and cry out for freedom as some try to take away our freedom.
The black church has always been there as a guiding light and for years The Word Network, the largest African American religious television network based in Detroit has provided an avenue for black ministers across this nation to reach millions of people beyond their churches in ministering to them.
This platform that enabled the African American religious tradition to come to the living rooms of millions of viewers in the nation and around the world was only been possible because of the hard work and effort of media mogul Kevin Adell who founded The Word Network and made it his mission to disseminate the work of our churches.
That is why the recent decision by Comcast through its Senior VP of Content Acquisition Jennifer Gaiski that it intends to drop The Word Network in certain key markets, after being on Comcast for 17 years is not only unacceptable but a total disregard to the essence of the black church and the millions of customers who depend on The Work Network for religious programming.
Since news broke that Comcast intends to remove The Word Network from some designated markets there has been a community outrage and calls on the Detroit airwaves to boycott the communication giant including calls for customers – especially African Americans – not to renew their subscription of Comcast in predominantly black markets across the nation.
While this protest against Comcast continues we should not allow Comcast to carry out this decision to blackout African American religious programming on the only network that has over the years given us the space and forum to preach and heal lives.
We will not sit by and allow a communication company that thinks that just because it is powerful and enjoys a monopoly in the marketplace, it can carry out any kind of decision that will adversely impact our members.
Good corporate citizenship requires Comcast to demonstrate that it is invested in our urban communities and doing so means that it must also be invested in the organs of the black community such as The Word Network. We cannot stand by and watch this level of disregard for the black church.
Would Comcast plan such a decision regarding a white Christian network?
The attempt to remove The Word Network from some markets as indicated by Comcast is an attempt to deny African American religious institutions the opportunity to continue to air their programs on a network that has shown nothing but respect for the black church and its role.
As a black minister I see this action by Comcast – if carried out – to represent a new era where black ministers will have to stand up and fight this sort of monopoly because it will represent nothing but a blatant disregard for our role.
The Word Network is ready to meet with Comcast anytime but with the understanding that there is a growing need to give African American ministers more opportunities on television.
-Pastor Jamal Bryant