Guest / Limited Access /

No, Zondervan did not release a Bible for homosexuals called the gNIV. No, Wal-Mart did not ban a racy worship album for "suggestive imagery depicting the church's love affair with Christ". And no, the Bob the Tomato did not call VeggieTales "bigger than Jesus."

But if you stumbled on to the satirical online newspaper Lark News without a sense of humor, you might think so.

Because such humor-impaired readers have been taking the site seriously, a radio program in Wisconsin last month heavily discussed the nonexistent worship album and was forced to issue a retraction. Christian Retailing reported that Big Idea Productions received phone calls from two pastors upset with the comments that Bob the Tomato, an animated character, never made. Zondervan told Christian Retailing that the gNIV story was "a sick joke."

"It gets people into embarrassing situations when they don't recognize outright that it is satire, and I'm surprised that they don't," says Joel Kilpatrick, founder and editor of Lark News. "I am also surprised that when people read something they don't move to the next stage to examine the source." (At the bottom of each page on the Lark News site is a link to a disclaimer.)

Launched in January, Lark News each month publishes articles in the spirit of The Onion: humorous false news reports that poke fun at certain topics and events. For Kilpatrick and his staff, the world it satirizes is the evangelical Christian community.

"We're in the evangelical world but not of it," says Kilpatrick, a freelance writer with a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism. "There's knowledge, familiarity, and real love for our subculture, but there's also a certain outsidedness. We are not campaigning for a certain point [or ...
Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended33 Under 33
Subscriber Access Only 33 Under 33
Meet the Christian leaders shaping the next generation of our faith.
TrendingIntroducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Introducing the Bible! Now with Less!
Delete the chapter and verse numbers. Kill all the notes. Make it one column. Make a million bucks.
Editor's PickWater Works: Why Baptism Is Essential
Water Works: Why Baptism Is Essential
Some churches say Baptism is optional, but the New Testament teaches it is integral to the life of faith.
Comments
Christianity Today
Christian Satirical Website a Blessing to Some, 'Sick Joke' to ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

May 2003

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.