National Public Radio made an on-air apology Friday evening for a commentator's remark on the return of Christ, after the Christian Coalition complained that the comment was anti-Christian.
The remark by humorist Andrei Codrescu occurred Tuesday during a commentary on NPR's popular program "All Things Considered."
In a telephone interview from his New Orleans home, Codrescu said his commentary was about a pamphlet he got on the beliefs of a religious group called The Rapture.
In some Christian theologies, the Rapture is the bodily ascent of believers into heaven just before Armageddon.
Codrescu, who is on contract with NPR but not a full-time employee, said on his program: "The evaporation of 4 million [people] who believe in this crap would leave the world a better place."
The apology broadcast Friday evening on NPR's national feed of "All Things Considered" said Codrescu's "remarks crossed a line of taste and tolerance that we should have defended with greater vigilance."
NPR spokeswoman Kathy Scott said: "We spoke to Andrei, who told us he would like to apologize for what, in hindsight, he regards as an inappropriate attempt at humor. It is one that he regrets and so does NPR."
"I simply described the pamphlet and I guess I used language that offended the Christian Coalition," Codrescu said.
He said he apologizes "for the language, but not for what I said."
The Christian Coalition, which represents more than 1.7 million people, said it will intensify lobbying efforts for Congress to discontinue funds to NPR.