TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Christianity on the move

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The Independent Culture
Middle-aged ladies march down the road singing their version of 'Onward Christian Soldiers'. They are not the Salvation Army, but followers of the Church of the Superet Science in Los Angeles, who see the atom bomb as holy because 'it helped to remove enemies from our soil'. Christopher Hitchens, a sort of badly dressed, heavyweight version of Jonathan Ross, sits in the congregation of some of the world's weirdest religions in 'LA Divine', tonight's WITNESS (9pm C4). What is it that attracts kooks into LA churches? Hitchens attends In- Car Worship for those stuck in the parking-lot of the 'hall of mirrors' church of Robert Schuller, a televangelist and close personal friend of Richard Nixon. Later, Hitchens drops into the Alcor Life Extension Centre, where dead bodies are cryogenically frozen in the hope of being revived when and if technology permits - at a cost of dollars 120,000 - and ends up in a cemetery, although Forest Lawn Memorial Park is more like a Hollywood backlot than a graveyard. Here, if you're really lucky, you can have your grief eased by an actor impersonating Michelangelo, Montezuma or Abraham Lincoln. It's a familiar tour - with a superior courier.

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