LA Times Columnist Joel Stein: Christianity Is A 'Death Cult'

An October 17, 2006, op-ed by Los Angeles Times columnist Joel "I Don't Support Our Troops" Stein condescendingly slams Christianity as a "death cult." Writing a lippy account of a Presbyterian service he had recently attended, Stein belches,

"The first thing I noticed about church was how much like PBS it was. The lighting was dim, the speakers talked slowly, the songs were dated, there were a lot of references to reading material and every so often my eye line was interrupted by envelopes asking me to donate money. Also, I kept falling asleep."

And (bold added),

"I'd never realized how much of a death cult Christianity is. When we weren't fixating on how awesome Christ's murder was, we were singing about how terrific it was going to be when we bite it. Chipper up, Christians! There's a lot to live for. They're making more of those 'Narnia' movies."

Cute, eh? Ugh. There's more to Stein's column, but suffice it to say that it is a disrespectful and dismissive slap at Christianity.A few days after Stein's arrogant column appeared, the Times, surprisingly, published two letters that were critical of the column.Thank you, Richard Rorex of Apple Valley, California (bold mine):

Joel Stein's column would qualify as hate speech if the subject were anything other than Christianity. Making light of one of the two mandated ordinances of the Christian religion does not show any sense of decency. Considering the furor over the cartoons of Muhammad published in Europe, I do not understand why Christianity is fair game for ridicule.

And thank you, David Schwankle of Riverside, California, whose letter begins, "Even though I'm an atheist, I find myself offended by Stein's glib, juvenile ridicule of a church service."As NewsBusters reported a couple weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times recently solicited readers for advice on how to improve their newspaper. My very first piece of advice, which I documented in the comments section and at the forum at the Times web site, was for the paper to hire a columnist with a genuine Christian worldview. At NewsBusters, we have documented several instances of anti-Christian and anti-Catholic bias at the Times. Stein's column simply adds to the pile of examples.The Times seems to care very little about how often their columns offend Christians. If they did care, they would do something significant about it - right away.

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.