Biography of Famous Evangelical Carl McIntire Part 2

About the famous American preacher Carl McIntire, biography and history of the radio evangelical.

CARL McINTIRE (1906- )

But it was the Vietnam War, at its lowest ebb in public support, that gave the fiery radio preacher his greatest opportunity for public demonstration. From 1969 to 1972 he organized a series of "Victory in Vietnam" marches in Washington, D.C. On a few occasions he was able to muster several thousand hawkish die-hards to the nation's capital. He briefly booked South Vietnamese Vice-President Nguyen Cao Ky to one of his pro-war pep rallies. However, horrified State Dept. diplomats quickly convinced Ky that his appearance at a McIntire rally would do the war effort no good.

Generally the Vietnam victory marches were pitiful flops. When the turnout fell far short of his projections, McIntire fumed that his followers had been kept away by inclement weather of "fear of hippies."

McIntire's sorties into public affairs are launched from his headquarters in Collingswood, N.J. There, in addition to his church and the offices of the Twentieth Century Reformation Center, he maintains a broadcasting studio, bookstore, mail room, computer center, high school, and offices of the International Council of Christian Churches.

In 1963 he purchased a hotel and other buildings in the declining resort town of Cape May, N.J., and turned them into a vacation spa and Bible conference center for his followers. He established Shelton College nearby, teaching a 4-year course in McIntire-style orthodoxy.

In Cape Canaveral, Fla., after space business fell off and real estate values declined, McIntire moved in with plans for a multimillion dollar "Gateway to the Stars" Bible center with regular bus service to Cape May. He bought the old Cape Canaveral Hilton and renamed it the Freedom Center Hotel and installed a scale model of the original Temple of Jerusalem he picked up at the Canadian Expo.

Then came the setbacks. In 1969 the American Council of Christian Churches dropped its founding father from the executive board because his antics were giving less flamboyant fundamentalists a bad name. The New Jersey Board of Higher Education withdrew accreditation from Shelton College. The city of Cape May slapped 6 tax liens against buildings on the college grounds. In Florida, McIntire faced losing the options on his Cape Canaveral property and found his Gateway to the Stars hopelessly embroiled in a court dispute.

But the most damaging blow, by far, was delivered by the Federal Communications Commission when it revoked the broadcast license for his radio station WXUR in Media, Pa. McIntire had consistently refused to allow dissenting views on his station, the Government charged, thus violating the fairness doctrine.

The doughty preacher cried "government censorship" and purchased a W. W. II vintage Navy minesweeper equipped with a 10,000-watt radio transmitter. With the words "Radio Free America" emblazoned on the ship's side, McIntire chugged out to sea from Cape May planning to broadcast his radio message from beyond the 3-mi. U.S. territorial limit. But the 1st day's broadcast cut in on several land-based stations and brought a permanent injunction against Radio Free America from a Federal court.

McIntire came ashore, at least temporarily bent to the government's will. But conservative congressman John Rarick of Louisiana introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to restore WXUR's license, and powerful senators like Sam Ervin of North Carolina and William Proxmire of Wisconsin began questioning the fairness of the fairness doctrine in light of the McIntire case.

Meanwhile, the indefatigable fundamentalist was openly discussing plans for going to sea again--this time on a ship of foreign registry, one not subject to the dictates of an American court.

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