On March 12, Comedy Central premiered its new series, “Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil,” with Black as the show’s host. In the show’s first episode Black, who acts as a judge on the show, had to determine who was more evil—the Catholic Church or Oprah Winfrey. The anti-Catholic banter that was featured in the courtroom-style debate was appalling.

The episode featured two comics, Greg Giraldo and Paul F. Tompkins, debating the evilness of the Church and Oprah. Giraldo held the task of proving the Church was the more evil of the two.

Giraldo focused his attacks on the sex abuse scandal, the Blessed Virgin, the Inquisition, and Pope Benedict XVI. The following are excerpts of his vitriol:

      • “The Church is **** tickling its way into bankruptcy.”
      • The Catholic Church is also evil because it has such a grip over the mindless masses that they’ll wait in line, thousands of them in the rain for hours, just to get a glimpse of a pork rind in the shape of the Virgin Mary…God impregnated Mary. We have a whole religion based on one woman who really stuck to her story.”
      • “Let’s not forget the Inquisition. In the 1400s, Jews and Muslims in Spain were forced to convert to Catholicism. And to test the sincerity of these conversions, thousands were tortured.”
      • “The pope, to me, is a hypocrite in his Prada loafers and his ball gown. How can he condemn homosexuality when he dresses like he is on his way to nickel comso night at the Veiny Shaft Tavern?”

The day after the premier episode, the league slammed the show. We pointed out that it is estimated that public school teachers are 100 times more likely to molest minors than are priests (see the work of Dr. Carol Shakeshaft). Yet it wasn’t the public schools that were labeled evil by the show.

We also wondered why it was the Church that was singled out and not Muslims. We noted that radical Muslims behead their enemies, real and contrived, terrorize non-combatants, fly planes into buildings, shoot nuns in the back, kidnap and kill bishops, burn churches to the ground, legally murder those who wish to convert, yet the show didn’t have the guts to call them out.

At the end of the show Black determined that Oprah was more evil than the Church, but the viewing audience, able to vote via text-messaging, voted the Church as the more evil of the two. Regardless of the outcome, anti-Catholic bigotry received a platform.

You can contact Comedy Central’s President Michele Ganeless at: 1775 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, via e-mail at michele.ganeless@comedycentral.com, or call 212-767-8600.

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