In what seemed like an ironic snafu, the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) yesterday declined to give Larry Flynt, the pornography publisher who recently converted to Christianity, a forum at their convention.
Flynt, just one of a dozen bornagain celebrities scheduled to appear at the four-day convention at the Washington Hilton Hotel, had never been formally invited to speak at the convention. Both sides agree on that. Instead, Flynt said he was "promised a place on the program," by Ben Armstrong, NRB's executive secretary. Also, William Bray, the convention's public relations man, announced Sunday that Flynt would have a press conference on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Flynt also understood that he would appear at yesterday afternoon's panel on "Sex and Violence in the Media."
However at 1:30 yesterday afternoon a calm but obviously mystified Flynt was leading a camera crew from the Canadian Broadcasting Company out of his suite and holding press conferences in the hotel lobby, while a very tight-lipped aide in the press center was saying he had never neen invited.
"I know I had been invited or I wouldn't have been here," sid Flynt. IT appears that several public remarks Flynt made since he arrived in Washington upset some high-ranking members of the NRB. Armstrong was quoted as saying, by Flynt, that some of his remarks, especially one about preferring whorehouses to churches on Sunday mornings, because the "whorehouses are more integrated," made some NRB members "upset."
Dr. Carl Richardson, a minister from Cleveland, Tenn., who moderated the panel on sex and violence, spoke to Flynt on Monday, and said, "I found him open and casual.
"But I am concerned about evangelical Christians who run up and provide platforms for born-again celebrities." Richardson, quoting St. Paul, suggested that the sincerity of the born-again individual is judged by the change in his lifestyle.
Flynt said he wasn't mad but was bothered by the misunderstanding of his conversion. He sid, "My born-again experience means I have found God and am at peace with myself. But I think the press has misinterpreted my conversion. I get the impression from the church people and evangelicals that they think I want a piece of their pie. I don't want to make religion my business."
As he left the hotel, Flynt said, "We should simply pray over this incident."