6. Days before Christmas, NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu wishes evangelical Christians would disappear (1995).
NPR’s reputation for being anti-religious was solidified on the December 19, 1995 edition of All Things Considered, when Andrei Codrescu, a Romanian immigrant and English professor in New Orleans, unloaded on fundamentalist Christians just days before Christmas. He described how he had been handed a pamphlet on the Rapture, based on New Testament scripture that the righteous will be “caught up together in the clouds” with Jesus when he returns to Earth:
“The Rapture, and I quote, ‘is the immediate departure from this Earth of over four million people in less than a fifth of a second,’ unquote,” he read. “This happily-volatilized mass of the saved were born again in Jesus Christ. Everybody left behind will basically go to Hell but not before experiencing Armageddon, which is a really bad end of the world. If you find yourself in this situation, there isn’t much you can do except, one, starve yourself to death or, two, get your head cut off.”
Codrescu continued: “This loving Christmas message coming as it did amid the jungle of the mall Santa and the twinkling manger at the corner of Canal and the Ramparts made it clear that the Rapture is indeed necessary. The evaporation of four million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place.”
NPR received 40,000 letters about this commentary. Three days after the commentary, NPR apologized (despite Codrescu’s lack of remorse), but refused then-Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed’s request for a rebuttal. “We turned them down because we felt is was a mistake in the first place,” said NPR flack Kathy Scott. “We weren’t stating a position. You can’t put a counterpoint to a mistake.”
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