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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious information

Part 2 of 2

Prejudice of Americans towards
Mormons and Evangelicals

This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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Attitudes towards Evangelical Christians by college & university professors: (Continued)

The report expressed concern about the overall climate toward evangelicals on American campuses. He wrote:

"How does this disapproval affect the intellectual, emotional, and social experiences of those who identify as Evangelicals? As it was for Jews on campus two generations ago, maybe Evangelical Christians do not want to talk openly about their identities and beliefs. The prejudice against them stands out prominently in institutions dedicated to liberalism, tolerance, and academic freedom. Faculty may deny that their feelings about Evangelical Christians affect research and teaching, or that they interact differently with colleagues and students who are Evangelical Christians. But faculty cannot deny, at least according to these data, that they feel very negatively about Evangelicals, especially compared to the tolerance expressed for other religious groups. ..."

"Colleges and universities have some serious soul searching to do about these findings. Faculty may argue that their level of negativity about Evangelical Christians is a political disapproval, not a religious one. This argument is unacceptable, as are the justifications for all prejudices. ... The attitudes of faculty about Evangelicals have not gone unnoticed by Evangelicals themselves. Organizations representing Christian communities have argued that many universities are inhospitable and some are hostile to Evangelical groups on campus." 1

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Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors and professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, suggests that the poll data does not indicate religious bias. It reflects "a political and cultural resistance..." 2 He believes that the negative feelings towards evangelicals has two causes:

"...the particular kind of Republican Party activism that some evangelicals have engaged in over the years, as well as what faculty perceive as the opposition to scientific objectivity among some evangelicals." 2

William B. Harvey, vice president for diversity and equity at the University of Virginia, said that even if the survey has correctly identified a "latent sentiment" among professors, "I don't know that it is fair to make the leap ... that this is manifested in some bias in the classroom."

In his assignment working on diversity issues at the American Council on Education, he did not come any serious incidents in which a professor discriminated against an evangelical student. He said:

"The campus is a microcosm of the larger society. Of course we have intolerant people. Of course it happens on occasion. But there is no evidence this is a major problem." 2

Attitudes towards Evangelical Christians by the general population:

 2006-APR: CBS News poll: Between APR-06 to 09, pollsters asked 899 randomly selected American adults:

"What is your impression of [the following religion]? As of today, is it very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, very unfavorable, of haven't you heard enough about that to say?" 3

Note that the question relates to a specific religion, and not the followers of that religion.

Religion Favorable Unfavorable Haven't heard enough Unsure
Christian fundamentalist religions 31% 31% 32% 6%
The Mormon religion 20 39 38 3
The Catholic religion 48 37 11 4
Other Christian religions
such as Protestantism
58 12 27 3
The Jewish religion 47 16 33 4
Scientology 8 52 37 3
The religion called Islam 19 45 31 5 4

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2007-APR: Institute for Jewish & Community Research poll: G.A. Tobin and Aryeh K. Weinberg, reported in 2007-APR that the percentage of American adults who hold warm/favorable feelings towards persons of a given religion are:
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50% towards Roman Catholics and Jews,

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Evangelical Christians, 42%,

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Non-Evangelical Christians, 36%,

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Muslims, 36%,

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Mormons, 35%,

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Buddhists, 34%,

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Persons not practicing any religion, 33%, and

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Atheists, 18%.

They note a curious interplay between Jews and evangelical Christians. Tobin and Weinberg, note that:

"Among the public, while 60% of Evangelicals feel warm/favorable toward Jews, 37% of Jews feel cool/unfavorable toward Evangelicals, including 26% who feel very cold/unfavorable, revealing a bit of a one-sided affinity between the two communities." 4

This may be because a significant percentage of evangelicals support Israel. They also anticipate the war of Armageddon in the near future, ending the world as we know it. As a result of Armageddon, many evangelicals believe that a very small number of Jews will survive -- exactly 144,000. The vast majority will be slaughtered by Jesus and his army of angels in a genocide greater than the Nazi Holocaust. This belief may make some Jews less than supportive of evangelicals.

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. G.A. Tobin & Aryeh K. Weinberg, "Religious beliefs of College Faculty," at: http://www.jewishresearch.org/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: 
  2. Alan Cooperman, "Is There Disdain For Evangelicals In the Classroom? Survey, Bias Allegation Spur Debate," Washington Post, 2007-MAY-05, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  3. "Religion," Polling Report, at: http://www.pollingreport.com/
  4. Op cit, Tobin, Page 81

Copyright 2007 to 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-FEB
Latest update: 2015-DEC-30
Author: B.A. Robinson

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