Evangelicals’ image unfavorable, poll says

Associated Baptist Press
By Mark Wingfield

VENTURA, Calif. – Non-Christians in the United States view evangelical Christians somewhat more kindly than prostitutes but with less affection than lesbians and lawyers.

That’s according to new data released by the Barna Research Group, which recently conducted a national telephone poll of adults who do not consider themselves Christians. The poll asked respondents to record their impressions of 11 categories of people – military officers, ministers, evangelicals, born-again Christians, Democrats, Republicans, real-estate agents, movie and TV performers, lawyers, lesbians and prostitutes.

Evangelicals ranked 10th out of the 11 categories. They received favorable marks from only 22 percent of the non-Christians interviewed, higher than the 5 percent approval rating given prostitutes but lower than the 23 percent rating given lesbians and Republicans.

On the other hand, ministers as a group came in second, with a 44 percent favorable rating, behind military officers, who scored 56 percent favorable.

Born-again Christians also fared better as a group than evangelicals, drawing a 32 percent favorable rating, the third highest of all categories. But pollster George Barna said most respondents don’t know the difference between the two terms.

Barna said the survey is evidence of the power of labeling in American society. He urged Christians to draw a lesson from this study as they are tempted to judge other people by stereotypes.

The findings of this survey are based on a national telephone poll of 1,002 adults conducted in May. Among that sample were 270 adults who described themselves as non-Christians. The findings reported for opinions of non-Christians carry a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percentage points.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday December 18, 2002.
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