Televangelist Jan Crouch dies
by Samantha Gobba
Posted 5/31/16, 02:42 pm
Janice Crouch, known for billowy, pink-tinged wigs, ample eye makeup, and prosperity gospel televangelism, died today after suffering a stroke last week. She was 78.
In a post on their website, her son Matt and his wife Laurie wrote that they saw “her step into the presence of Jesus and into her heavenly reward. Jan Crouch, known around the world as Momma Jan, has gone home.”
Crouch and her late husband Paul co-founded Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in the 1970s, growing it into the largest Christian cable network in the nation. Its 24-hour, commercial-free programming featured Praise the Lord, a nightly talk show hosted by the Crouch duo.
TBN, which now boasts 78 satellites and is the third largest television broadcaster in the United States, was Paul Crouch’s vision to replace secular media. It has hosted game shows, fitness programs, and biblical cartoons; broadcast inspirational speakers such as Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyers; and has produced movies such as The Emissary (1997), The Omega Code (1999), and Time Changer (2002).
Jan Crouch played a role in starting TBN’s program Smile of a Child, which runs children’s shows throughout the day. She also managed The Holy Land Experience, a Bible-times theme park in Orlando, Fla., where visitors can view recreations of the Garden of Gethsemane, the Qumran Caves, Bethlehem, and a Jerusalem street market.
Near the park, Crouch lived in a large, company-owned home, one of many luxurious residences that earned the family sharp criticism.
Crouch’s granddaughter Brittany Koper accused the duo in 2012 of funneling donations to pay for multi-million dollar homes, lavish living expenses, and private jets. The ministry sometimes received upwards of $90 million a year, mostly from low-income Americans. Crouch’s two Maltese dogs allegedly enjoyed an air-conditioned motor home purchased with donated money. In 2008 and 2009, while she remodeled The Holy Land Experience, Crouch rented two adjacent rooms at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel: one for her and one for the fluffy white dogs and her wardrobe. Rooms today cost more than $300 a night.
While one granddaughter accused the Crouches of financial malfeasance, another has accused the family of covering up sexual abuse. Brittany Koper’s sister, Carra Crouch, claims her grandmother told her she invited an alleged rape she suffered at the hands of a TBN employee when she was just 13 years old. She has accused the ministry of covering up the incident and forcing her to sign a confidentiality agreement, even though she was a minor.
Despite the ongoing legal battles, TBN continues to bill itself as a purveyor of “traditional values” around the world. “In a world that seems hostile to family values, TBN is a safe, friendly place,” its website states.
The family tributes to Crouch make no mention of the controversy surrounding her. To her family, Crouch was “not a television figure, but was sister, wife, Mom, or Grandma—an integral part of a family,” her son and daughter-in-law wrote. “Jan Crouch loved many things, but most of all she loved Jesus, and now has seen Him face to face.”
Samantha reports on the pro-life movement for WORLD Digital.