[asa] Is There Disdain for Evangelicals in the Classroom?

From: Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com>
Date: Sat May 05 2007 - 23:49:02 EDT

The following was in today's Washington Post. For those of you who are on
secular University campuses does the analysis at the bottom track with your
experience?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/04/AR2007050401990_pf.html

"On many campuses, if you're an evangelical Christian, you're going to have
> to go through classes in which you're told that much of what you believe
> religiously is not just wrong, but worthy of mockery," said David French, a
> lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund, which sued Missouri State on
> Brooker's behalf.
>
> Such accusations have been leveled for years at the Ivy League and other
> elite private universities. But they are gaining new attention from
> politicians and educators because of the Brooker case, which took place at a
> public school in the Bible Belt, and because of two recent, nationwide
> surveys of professors' views on religion.
>
> The first <http://religion.ssrc.org/reforum/Gross_Simmons/>, by
> sociologists Neil Gross of Harvard and Solon Simmons of George Mason
> University, found that college professors are less religious than the
> general public but are far from the godless horde that is sometimes
> imagined. Even at the country's 50 top research universities, a minority of
> the faculty is atheist or agnostic, Gross and Simmons found.
>
> The other survey<http://www.jewishresearch.org/PDFs2/FacultyReligion07.pdf>,
> by the San Francisco-based Institute for Jewish and Community Research,
> confirmed those findings but also found what the institute's director and
> chief pollster, Gary A. Tobin, called an "explosive" statistic: 53 percent
> of its sample of 1,200 college and university faculty members said they have
> "unfavorable" feelings toward evangelical Christians.
>
> Tobin asked professors at all kinds of colleges -- public and private,
> secular and religious, two-year and four-year -- to rate their feelings
> toward various religious groups, from very warm or favorable to very cool or
> unfavorable. He said he designed the question primarily to gauge
> anti-Semitism but found that professors expressed positive feelings toward
> Jews, Buddhists, Roman Catholics and most other religious groups.
>
> The only groups that elicited highly negative responses were evangelical
> Christians and Mormons.
>
> "When we ask questions like this, we're asking the respondent to say how
> they feel about an entire group of people, and whatever image they have of
> that entire group comes through," Tobin said. "There is no question this is
> revealing bias and prejudice."
>
> Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University
> Professors, disagreed. What the poll reflects, he said, is "a political and
> cultural resistance, not a form of religious bias."
>
> Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Illinois at
> Urbana-Champaign, said the unfavorable feelings toward evangelical
> Christians probably have two causes: "the particular kind of R* 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."
>

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Received on Sat May 5 23:49:50 2007

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