Poll shows pious often overweight

A Los Angeles Times editorial from January 20, 1998 by Rahn Harris of Ventura said, “In ‘Southland: Televisions’s Bible Belt’ (Jan.12) you gave ink to one of the most reprehensible practices of the broadcast industry, electronic religion. As a 30-year veteran of Los Angeles broadcasting, and an announcer, for over decade, at one of the flagship Christian stations in this country, I witnessed some of the most blatant chicaneries ever fosterd upon an uneducated, unsophisicated, superstitious and redemption-seeking public.

I refer to expensively dressed and coiffed men, with their outrageous, sometimes slattern women, begging, cajoling, in some cases threatening their faithful listeners, in their attempts to extract money for the purpose of perpetuating their opulent temples and ministries.

May I suggest the removal of their tax-exempt status as a means of making them disappear. I assure you, without hesitation, they will.”

Not only are those televangelists expensively dressed and well coiffed, but they are usually as oversized as their bank accounts. The NCT offered the following article that indicated there are many religious couch potatoes in our country who are following the example of those pompous hypocrites on T.V. Rather than eating to excess they all should concentrate more on feeding the poor and hungry!

“They can help believers quit smoking and avoid excessive drinking but the nation’s churches apparently have had little effect on obesity.

In a study on body weight and religion, sociologist Kenneth Ferraro of Purdue University discovered that active church members are more likely to be overweight than other people.

The good news is that churches and synagogues are places where overweight people find acceptance and affirmation, according to Ferraro. But he says the study also raises questions about whether the church may be ignoring a public health concern with its general silence on weight issues.

“There is no evidence…that religion plays a major role in aiding the management of body weight in the United States,” Ferraro writes in an article in the March issue of the Review of Religious Research. “Instead, people who are more active in practicing their religion are also more likely to be overweight.”

“In other words,” he says, “many ‘firm believers’ do not have firm bodies.”

The Bible does not speak directly to issues of obesity, but frequently condemns gluttony. “Do not be among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness, and drowsiness will clothe them with rage,” declares Proverbs 23.

In his study, Ferraro examined data from a 1993 state-by-state comparison of information collected from public records by the MicroCase Corp. and a 1990 survey of 3,617 people age 25 and older funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Ferraro found religion was associated with obesity in all 50 states. Broken down by religious groups, Southern Baptists were the heaviest, while believers from non-Christian religions were the least likely to be overweight.

Among other indicators, believers who watch or listen to religious broadcasts were more likely to be overweight.”