From today’s New York Times:
Mr. Arterburn stood in front of a giant blowup of his book “Lose It for Life,” which has sold 113,000 copies, some through his New Life radio ministry, which is carried by 150 stations.
“The world hears all these stories that shed a negative light on Christians,” he said. “If you want the world to notice Jesus, it helps to look and live like Jesus.”
“We don’t do this,” he said, referring to efforts to lose weight, “so we can look in the mirror and be more attractive. We do it so people can look at us and see Jesus.”….
The books serve a ready constituency. A 1998 Purdue University survey found that religious Americans were more likely to be overweight than their nonreligious peers…. Baptists were the fattest, according to the study; Jews, Muslims and Buddhists were the least overweight, though the researchers attributed this to differences in income, ethnicity and marital status rather than denomination….
The combination of faith and weight-loss evangelism goes back to the 1950’s, when a newly slim Presbyterian minister named Charlie Shedd pronounced excess pounds to be a literal manifestation of sin.