Having a warrant out for his arrest isn’t stopping Ron Luce, the founder of Teen Mania Ministries, from going on a national TV. Last week, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) hosted Luce on its flagship televangelist broadcast, “Praise the Lord,” where Luce, unsurprisingly, didn’t face any questions about a financial scandal surrounding his ministry.
Teen Mania has close ties to right-wing groups and politicians — including receiving an enthusiastic endorsement from Rick Santorum — who are desperate to find young people to campaign against supposed evils like gay marriage, despite accusations that the group employs cult-like practices.
“They’re now at a point where they can’t pay back people,” according to one of the group’s former directors. “People are being suckered.”
Luce is facing lawsuits outside of Colorado as well, WORLD Magazine reports:
Individuals and churches continue to report paying for events that end up being canceled and not receiving refunds. Some say they were offered a small percentage of the amount owed but returned it because they didn’t receive assurance that the rest would come later.
“I’m angry because they are continuing to hurt others,” said Pennsylvania resident Jolie Roth. “They are continuing to steal and lie from fellow Christians ‘in the name of Jesus.’”
Today, Charity Navigator ranks Teen Mania as the nation’s fifth-most insolvent charity, with a net worth of negative–$5.2 million.
Last year, after Teen Mania’s 472-acre property went into foreclosure, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability revoked its membership. ECFA president Dan Busby declined to comment on Teen Mania’s current situation but noted ministries in decline often miss the window of opportunity to merge with another ministry: “As a result, the ministry ends up in a free fall.”