Evangelical Christianity’s Image Problem

Jim Burroway

October 3rd, 2007

According to David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Christianity is facing a severe image problem. And the problem is best exemplified by Evangelical Christianity’s stance toward gays and lesbians.

Kinnaman and Lyons’ new book UnChristian explores how attitudes toward Christianity have changed over the past decade. Kinnaman’s organization, the Barna Group, conducted a poll in 1996 which found that 83% of Americans identified themselves as Christians, and that fewer than 20% of non-Christians held an unfavorable view of Christianity.

Since then, the Barna Group conducted two more polls, in 2004 and 2007, of young people between the ages of 16 and 29, and found a decidedly negative impression  emerging in the next generation:

Nine out of ten outsiders found Christians too “anti-homosexual,” and nearly as many perceived it as “hypocritical” and “judgmental.” Seventy-five percent found it “too involved in politics.”

Churchgoers of the same age share several of the non-Christians’ complaints about Christianity. For instance, 80% of the Christians polled picked “anti-homosexual” as a negative adjective describing Christianity today. And the view of 85% of non-Christians aged 16-29 that present day Christianity is “hypocritical — saying one thing doing another,” was, in fact, shared by 52% of Christians of the same age. Fifty percent found their own faith “too involved in politics.”

Kinnaman spoke about Christianity’s relationship with the gay community in an interview with Time magazine:

A majority of Americans continue to believe that homosexuality is inappropriate. And the Christian biblical perspective is that it is not consistent with Christian discipleship. But non-Christians regarded it as our biggest negative, and most of the Christians we sampled agreed. Many Christians say, “That’s not something we’re willing to negotiate on.” And, certainly, this is based in historical Christian convictions and scripture. But they need to guard against not wanting to grapple with the complexity of homosexuality, against trying to give very simple answers to very complex stories, and against feeling they can solve some of these deep issues without personal friendships with gay men and women. … The two sides ought to have some respect for each other — and the responsibility should be on Christians to lead by example instead of just shouting at others through the ballot box or talk shows.

More conferences like the Family Impact Summit, where leading participants talk about the “evil agenda,” will only reinforce such impressions. By the way, that Summit’s poor attendance provides some more evidence for the problems that far-right politically active Evangelicals face.  Focus On the Family is facing cutbacks, and many are speaking openly of abandoning the GOP, now that the GOP’s current front-runner for the presidential race, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is not deemed sufficiently socially conservative. With moves like that, the Evangelical right’s descendancy is likely to continue.

Hat tip: Jonathan

Randi Schimnosky

October 9th, 2007

This confirms what I frequently tell people – Christianity has come to represent being anti-gay first and foremost. When a lot of us hear someone refer to themselves as Christian what we hear is “Oppressing gays matters more to me than anything else”. Congratulations James Dobson, et al – you’ve usurped the image of Christianity and replaced it with hatred.

elaygee

July 28th, 2008

I think it is time to sue some of these chrsitofacist groups for incitement to murder. It is what was done successfully against two KKK and white supremacy groups in Utah. They lost all their property and holdings.

Lance Bergstrom

July 30th, 2008

Elaygee, that is such a good idea. Maybe the ACLU will lead the charge. Good Call!

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

FBI Reports Massive Surge In Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes in 2015

Baptist General Convention of Texas Warns Churches in Dallas and Austin Over LGBT Inclusion

Trump Selects Alt-Right Nationalist As "Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor"

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.