NYT examines a mega-church


Today's New York Times Sunday Magazine features a cover story on the founding and considerable growth of a church in a town in Arizona. According to the article, the congregation, along with the town, has grown tremendously —— to a point where regular attendance is in the thousands, and many ancillary services are being offered which are not easily otherwise available within the community.
One would think that this is something to be admired. The Times, if I read the piece correctly, however, regards this as a menace. "Welcome," it says in 54—point type on the article's title page in the printed magazine, "to the expanding conservative frontier." In horror, the author notes that the sect with which the church is loosely affiliated "counts John Ashcroft among its more prominent members."
Worse yet, "young, white, married couples of modest means" live in the town; and folks like these "are people that the Republican Party has always run well with."
So, bringing people to religion who otherwise would have remained indifferent or unserved, offering family programs and various social services, providing otherwise unavailable community interaction —— all this is part of a conservative menace in America's growing exurbs.
I am not all that knowledgeable about churches and their operations, "evangelical" (which is treated by the Times as a perjorative) or otherwise; and I do not have the means by which to research the material or the author and his background (some interesting stuff is hinted at in the brief note presented). But this looks awfully prejudiced to me.
Dick Weltz   3 27 05 
Ed Lasky adds: In the article, the Sermon on the Mount is printed "sermon on the mount"—non—capitalized. I am no expert, but isn't this a bit disrespectful itself?