Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Check out this CBS story about Joel Osteen's Lakewood super-church, which has over 30,000 members and pulls in $55M a year in donations, television revenues, etc. For those of unfamiliar with Osteen, he preaches a positive form of Christianity, which emphasizes all the good things that will happen to believers, as opposed to the bad things that will happen as a consequence of unbelief. His services are part motivational speech, part religious inspiration.

CBS, seizing on all the normal preconceived notions that atheists have about Christianity, peppered its story with several liberalisms about religion:

"Last year, Lakewood brought in $55 million. Sales of pastor Joel Osteen's book 'Your Best Life Now' became an instant best seller. But he makes no apologies for his style or his success." (So he should "apologize" for running a successful church. When is the last time CBS demanded an apology from some scumbag Hollywood producer raking in cash hand-0ver-fist? Answer: Never.)


As CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts reports, Osteen looks like an anchorman, talks like a Southern salesman and runs this congregation like a CEO. (Allow me to translate: Osteen is nothing but a snake-oil salesman who runs his congregation of mind-numbed idiots, manipulating them like the CEO of Enron did his employees. All CEOs are evil, of course, as are all Southerners in Jesusland.)


Critics like Notre Dame sociology professor Michael Emerson say it cheapens religion by making it just another commodity for people to consume. They call it "feel-good theology." "Religion changes to nothing more than 'make me feel good,' and there's no sacrifice," says Emerson. (Why would they invite this do-nothing, most likely atheist, academic to criticize the success of an innovative new church? Answer: Because they couldn't say it themselves.)

This story is eerily similar to political stories about Republicans. All the media biases against CEOs, religion, successful financial endeavors, etc., are present. If you don't believe that this story shows bias against conservatives, Christians, and southerners, just try to imagine a similar story being printed about Democratic luminary and counselor Reverend Jesse Jackson. Case closed.
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