Badpuppy Gay Today

Wednesday, 08 April 1998


Fundamentalist Lifestyle Not as Healthy as Some Had Supposed
Non-Christian Groups: Buddhists, Jews and Moslems More Slender

By Stephanie Donald


Although Baptists have garnered national headlines recently by emphasizing their opposition to the "sin" of homosexuality, a study published in the March issue of the Review of Religious Research suggests that perhaps they should be paying more attention than they do to what the Book of Proverbs calls the "sin" of gluttony.

The study, authored by Professor Kenneth Ferraro and conducted through Perdue University's sociology department, says that religious people generally tend to be heavier than secularists. The heaviest religious group, according to the study, are Baptists. Non-Christians, including secularists, Buddhists, Moslems and Jews weighed in as the most slender.

Little attention is paid to the perils of overeating by most religious groups, says Professor Ferraro. Obesity is associated in medical circles with a host of bodily ills, including heart disease and diabetes.

The Perdue study states: "The religious lifestyle has long been considered a healthy one, with its constraints on sexual promiscuity, alcohol and tobacco use. However, overeating may be one sin that pastors and priests regularly overlook. And, as a result, many firm believers may have not-so-firm bodies."

All 50 states were included in the study. Those with the largest percentages of overweight religious men and women were Mississippi, Indiana, and Michigan. In states where religious trappings appear less popular, including Hawaii, Colorado and Massachusetts, obesity is less of a problem.

There is no evidence, according to Professor Ferraro, that religion promotes a gluttonous lifestyle. It may be, in fact, that overweight people seek solace in religious settings where they are readily accepted as weightless "souls" no matter their excessive poundage.

Upon hearing that Baptists led all other religious groups with its high percentages of overweight believers, activist Steve Yates reflected on the "ex-gay" ministries that Baptists and others fundamentalists have set up nationwide in attempts to eliminate same-sex affection.

"They're after us to change our ways," he told GayToday, "but this new study shows that they haven't put their own houses in order. I think gay and lesbian activists ought to set up clinics and other facilities –maybe even ministries—to slenderize the Baptists. I can see it now: gay weight reduction centers to convert Baptists away from the sin of gluttony."

Yates suggested that the Reverend Jerry Falwell, reported to store large quantities of cupcakes in his Israeli jet refrigerator, set an example by publicly admitting to his sin.

GayToday editor Jack Nichols said he would worry henceforth about the wisdom of feeding any Baptists to lions. "Though it was once thought that Baptists made the best cat food," he said, "this news puts a damper on the practice. We have to think of the health of these caged animals, after all, and it now appears that Baptists are nothing but artery cloggers."

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