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Academia and Religion:

When it comes to the attitude of academics toward religion, I suspect that the truth is probably closer to the view articulated by Rick Hills or Ilya than to Eugene's more charitable view. In particular, what the data (and personal experience) indicate is that the views of academics toward religion is not uniform. In particular, academics have a highly negative view of Evangelical Christians and very little hostility to Jews.

According to a study by the Institute of Jewish and Community Research, 53% of professors have an unfavorable view of Evangelical Christians but only 3% have an unfavorable view of Jews. A summary of the study is here. 33% have unfavorable views of Mormons. Muslims, Atheists, and Catholics all score in double-digits. Who would've thought that 13% of academics have unfavorable views of Catholics?

Now let me say that again--53% of academics have an "unfavorable" view of Evangelical Christians. It is almost impossible to imagine any identifiable group of Americans today who would hold such a reflexively negative view of other groups of Americans. I can't imagine that any degree of racial bigotry by any group toward any other group would even approximate this degree of bigotry and prejudice. I also have to say that based on my personal observations this finding is completely plausible (note that it was a Jewish affairs organizaiton that conducted the study so one wouldn't expect that it had an axe to grind or was biased toward trying to find evidence of anti-Evangelical sentiment).

So what to make of this? Given that there are a divergence of views toward different subsets of religious groups, this does not seem to me to be consistent with Eugene's thesis that what is going on here is an incomprehension of a religious worldview. It is clear that bigotry toward Evangelicals and Mormons is much deeper than mainline protestants, Buddhists, and Jews. As Ilya suggests, it is likely that many academics simply know no Evangelicals (at least that they are aware of), so this seems to be pure bigotry based on some general prejudice. But I doubt many academics know many Buddhists either, yet very few hold negative perceptions of Buddhists. And I doubt that academics are any more informed about what "weird" views Buddhists hold than Mormons or Evangelicals. All of these views are based primarily on simple prejudice (in the descriptive sense) not on knowledge or experience.

So what about Ilya's thesis that religious bigotry is a proxy for political bigotry? There may be some truth to this. I suspect that Evangelicals and Mormons are generally perceived as political conservative and Jews are perceived as politically liberal. Other views, such as Catholics and Muslims, I suppose fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to such stereotypes. But I don't think this can explain it all either. For instance, I think that most academics are quite tolerant of conservative Jews. I also suspect that academics probably think that it is ok for blacks to be Evangelical or Southern Baptist, even if they dislike white Evangelicals. Ditto for other unusual religious groups, such as the Amish. My opinion on this score is based on hunch, not data, however, so I could be wrong--it may be that academics hate conservative Jews or black Southern Baptists as much as Evangelical Christians, but my instinct tells me that is not the case.

If that is true, then I think the answer must lie somewhere closer to Hills's thesis that what is really going on here is something closer to simple bigotry, hatred, or fear. The source of the bigotry, I suspect, is cultural in nature. Conservative Jews and black Southern Baptists are ok because their religion is seen as an extension of their cultural and ethnic background and academics look at those cultures through a multicultural mindset.

Moreover, I suspect that many academics would say that their negative stereotypes are justified because they have formed a perception that Christians are "hateful" people intent on imposing a theocracy on the United States. So they would say, "My hostility is based on their hostility, so it is fully justified."

Hills's experience reflects a really quite common mindset in my view. And the disbelief that is expressed is not that suggested by Eugene--"Really, how could he believe that?" What the disbelief suggests is, "Really, yet he seems like such a nice guy. How could he hold such [hateful] views?"

Finally, let me stress one final point--what is so surprising to me about all of this is that the views of academics toward Evangelicals and Mormons are likely based purely on stereotypes and ignorance. I doubt that many academics know any Evangelicals (that they are aware of) and few probably know many Mormons, nor do they likely have much but superficial knowledge about the views of many of these people.

Update:

A commenter notes that in the population at large there are subgroups who are also viewed unfavorably. Opinion polls show that indeed to be the case to some degree. According to this poll, atheists are viewed negatively by 45% of the population and scientologists by 52%. Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians are viewed negatively by 23-25% of the population at large.

I have updated the post to reflect this.

Update:

Some readers have taken issue with my use of the term "bigotry." I used that term to try to capture the flavor of the response that Rick Hills heard in his friend's remark--"the academic's irrational fear of, or intense discomfort around, theist and, in particular, Christian, beliefs." The flavor of the remark is that the friend had a negative prejudice against Christians such that he or she was surprised to learn that the person in question was a Christian. This is functionally no different from meeting someone who is inconsistent with one's negative stereotypical prejudices of a racial or ethnic group. I think the correct word to apply to that prejudice is "bigotry," but if there is a different word, then please suggest the correct word. I think that the term must be freighted with greater normative implications than I intended, as I intended it to be used descriptively, not normatively.

wm13:
O, professors of the world, most of your Asian-American students are evangelical Christians. You should try actually listening to and learning about the people who pass through your classes.

Or not. In all fairness, most of them are not listening to or learning from you.
6.20.2008 9:03am
FantasiaWHT:
It's adorable how you carefully avoid mentioning the religious bigotry shown by such a large number of your commenters in related posts.
6.20.2008 9:04am
davidbernstein (mail):
"For instance, I think that most academics are quite tolerant of conservative Jews." I think you mean "Orthodox" or "observant" Jews, because "conservative Jews" means politically conservative ("Conservative Jews" would mean those who identify with Conservative Judaism, but who are overwhelmingly liberal, in both politics and actual religious practice).

Even then, I don't think most academics are especially tolerant of Orthodox Jews, but that doesn't really answer the quesetion, because Orthodox Jews are associated with conservative views on social issues, and "right-wing" views on Israel. I don't know what the survey results would be if you asked academics about Orthodox Jews specifically. I'm sure the unfavorable statistics would be way higher than 3%, but probably less than 53%, in part for the reason you mention, but in part because they are not seen as a significant element of the governing conservative coalition.
6.20.2008 9:06am
corneille1640 (mail):

It's adorable how you carefully avoid mentioning the religious bigotry shown by such a large number of your commenters in related posts.

It seems to me there's enough bigotry to go around. The fact that there are religious bigots, even in this enlightened age, does not, by itself, disprove that there are anti-religious bigots. I have met both kinds, and, believe it or not, I have been both kinds, too.
6.20.2008 9:07am
davidbernstein (mail):
And, and if you asked someone whether they have a favorable impression of "Jews," this strikes me as an ethnic, not religious category, so the relevant comparison would be "Hispanics," "Blacks," "Koreans," "Italians" "Poles," etc.
6.20.2008 9:08am
Rich B. (mail):
You assume that academics don't "know" any Evangelicals, but you don't stop to think which sorts of Evangelicals academics DO come into contract with:

A. Political leaders of the evangelical movement, talking about how certain types of people (who are types that are friends of the academic) are destroying America.

B. Your gay colleague's parents from Southern Ohio who forwards your colleague e-mails on a daily basis about camps to "cure" your homosexuality, and other such nonsense.

C. The name "Evangelical" implies someone who evangelizes. It is especially difficult to differentiate your feelings for Evangelicals from your opinion of the act of Evangelizing. Sure, you can try to hate the sin and love the sinner, but it is often difficult to separate your feeling for a group from the act that they are most closely associated with.
6.20.2008 9:09am
wm13:
Rich B., I doubt that the act of evangelizing has much to do with it. Most professors would be a lot more annoyed by a colleague with a "Try God" button than one with a "Vote Obama" button. Indeed, I would caution any student against the former, whereas the latter would probably help your grades.
6.20.2008 9:15am
George Weiss (mail) (www):
orthodox jewish people are basically scum to jewish studies professors-who often view orthodox jeews as presumptively closed minded theologians for believing in divine authorship and binding divine oral law supplementing the bible

but the orhtodox jews who are closed minded make the 3% of us who are not look bad
6.20.2008 9:18am
M (mail):
I'd suspect the negative feeling is more towards Evangelical _Christianity_ or _Catholicisms_ than to Evangelical _Christians_ or _Catholics_. That's an important difference, I think. It's also pretty obvious, is it not, that a dislike of a creed, or even those who hold is, is rather different than racial prejudice. In the one case people are disliked for something that's within their control and subject to rational revision while in the other that's obviously not true. A creationist, for example, could change her foolish beliefs in a way that an African-American obviously cannot change his skin color. If these distinctions are not made (as they are not made in the post here, or in Rick Hill's post) the analysis becomes nonsense, I think.
6.20.2008 9:24am
ChrisIowa (mail):
I don't agree that answering on an opinion poll that you have an unfavorable view of some religious group makes you a bigot, or bigoted against that group. It may be an indicator but that's not been established.
6.20.2008 9:25am
Houston Lawyer:
Evangelicals see porn, extra-marital sex, homosexual acts and abortion as sins and aren't shy about saying so. Academics as a group, however, see those things as rights guaranteed by the Constitution. But Evangelicals are at least taught not to hate, something I can't say about academics.
6.20.2008 9:26am
ejo:
protestations to the contrary, the academics aren't coming into contact with evangelicals. they just hate them because of politics. but, don't let anyone tell you that academia is skewed to the left or close minded. they are actually very open minded. right? right?
6.20.2008 9:30am
Estragon (mail) (www):
All of these views are based primarily on simple prejudice

When the legions of Buddhists leverage -- with some considerable success -- the party of government to pervert the course of scientific research, or misrepresent basic findings of research done under its auspices, or demand it allow equal time in the biology classroom for views that have had no scientific credibility for 150 years, then you will see a rapid rise in "simple prejudice" against Buddhism. Until then, you'll likely find working academics have little time for the class of people whose political wing wishes to derail, defund or demonize the work they do.
6.20.2008 9:31am
Mark Buehner (mail):
To be fair, i'd be willing to bet an even higher percentage Evangelicals have a negative opinion of academics.
6.20.2008 9:32am
Bill Owens:
I'm curious, what is your reasoning for concluding that faculty are "reflexively negative" and "bigoted" in their views on Evangelical Christians? The survey, as far as I can tell, did not ask faculty to indicate how they formed their opinions.
6.20.2008 9:37am
Mahan Atma (mail):
"It is almost impossible to imagine any identifiable group of Americans today who would hold such a reflexively negative view of other groups of Americans."


Actually, I think it's well documented that among all Americans, atheists have a higher negativity rating than Evangelicals.
6.20.2008 9:44am
ejo:
I would further bet that that academics would profess to be more offended by a poster of jesus than if one of their colleagues put up a poster of marx/mao/che/castro as heros. just like it would be more likely to find a former terrorist who set bombs on the faculty than someone who was evangelical. the former would likely offend academia far less than the latter.
6.20.2008 9:45am
Justin (mail):
I don't think anybody has seriously argued that most academics are not to the left of the United States' political center. The question that gets people argued is closer to that of whether academics are to the left of the academics applicant pool - that is, whether there is bias in hiring.

Also, there is a seperate question of whether the US academic center is significantly to the left of the global center. Most professors probably would identify with what in the US is reliably the liberal wing ofthe Democratic party, but in non-British Europe, Latin America, Africa, or Asia more close to swing voters. There are also some - but not many - people who are clearly on the global left (ie, actual modern communists and left-socialists), and some who are on the global right (social conservatives, true liberterians). Thus, it's not entirely clear, overall, that the US academic center is liberal given the fact that ideology is not restricted to borders, but that's another debate.
6.20.2008 9:50am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Is it a surprise that the Biology and Physics Departments have a low opinion of the religion that gives us Creationism and Intelligent Design and the drive to teach that drivel in the public schools? Mark Buehner may have been joking, but his point is well-taken.
6.20.2008 9:53am
RBW:
FWIW, I was at dinner with a small group of students plus a law professor who's one of the most prolific and well-regarded scholars in constitutional law, who blurted out "I don't understand how any educated person could possibly believe in God." It was a little awkward considering one of the students was Mormon and had brought his wife along.

Part of our shock might be due to the fact that we ignore how socially maladjusted most professors happen to be. Do you think your average law professor was the type of guy who would grab a drink with friends on a Thursday evening when there was no class the next morning? No, he was probably toiling away working on a paper or outlining his cases instead of interacting with fellow human beings. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but given how most academics probably spent their formative years, it's not surprising that they have strains of intolerance which extend to the groups that it's acceptable to be intolerant of. Their impression of these "other" groups isn't based on experience so much as what they've read or been told from likeminded colleagues.
6.20.2008 9:54am
Damion (www):
Plenty of evangelical students from out here in the Bible Belt are merit scholars with only a chunk or two lopped out of an otherwise well-developed mind. These kids end up in elite schools, exposing their profs directly to the fact that even bright kids can grow up to be religious bigots given the right cultural milieu and home life. Academics are thus exposed to the stunted development of young minds by religious memes with each and every freshman class.

Most of my friends from high school have moderated or apostatized, but we all gave the profs some grief and exasperation along the way.
6.20.2008 9:55am
Mitchell Freedman (mail) (www):
I thought I'd read at least a part of the report before commenting and found this paragraph in the discussion regarding faculty's views on Evangelical Christians:

"The general public does not share the views of faculty regard-
ing religious groups. Among all Americans, Catholics and Jews
ranked the highest, with just over 50% holding warm/favorable
feelings toward them. Catholics and Jews are followed by Evangeli-
cal Christians, 42%, non-Evangelical Christians, 36%, Muslims, 36%,
Mormons, 35%, Buddhists, 34%, persons not practicing any religion,
33%, and atheists, 18%. Americans on the whole feel warmest toward
Christians and Jews, and coldest toward atheists, Muslims, and, in-
terestingly, Buddhists. The most notable difference from the faculty
is the reversal of Buddhists and Evangelical Christians. 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."

But even that paragraph shows the authors of the study are using words to make faculty members look less than sympathetic. From their own study, 58% of Americans have negative feelings towards "Evangelical Christians." That is a fairly significant majority of Americans. Compare that with 70% of faculty who have negative feelings, per this survey. Yes, there is a delta of 12%, but still, it's not so far off to say faculty members are bigots and outside the mainstream of the American public.

What bothers me about some of the commenters' comments is that the very question of whether you have negative feelings does not automatically translate into bigotry, which is a loaded term that often implies something near or at the level of the Ku Klux Klan. I note the authors themselves and the magazine in which their study appear are overreaching in their conclusions because they seem to assume that every faculty member who feels something negative about Evangelical Christians is doing so on the basis of ignorance or hate--which is something we generally assume when we use the word "bigotry." How do any of the commenters, or even the authors of the report, know what faculty members who so responded experienced with Evangelicals? The study does not even bother to ask that question from what I've seen so far.

Let's also compare the faculty's response in this regard to the general public's disdain towards atheists. What has been the experience of the general public with athiests? Somehow I think one may surmise that the large percentage of the American public who view athiests unfavorably have had less experience with athiests than the corresponding faculty has had with Evangelical Christians. What then is one to make of the polls showing the general public's bias against athiests--or is such a discussion less enjoyable to the many commenters who, by their comments, appear to disdain what they perceive of as "liberal" faculty members? Would it not also be interesting if it turned out the faculty which had the most negative feelings about Evangelicals are those who live in areas where Evangelicals are more demographically congregated, and exercise political influence in such areas?
6.20.2008 9:57am
Mahan Atma (mail):
Here's a Gallup poll showing that among all Americans, the negativity rating for atheists (45%) is nearly twice as high as for Evangelicals (23%).
6.20.2008 9:57am
Tim Lambert (mail) (www):

Now let me say that again--53% of academics have an "unfavorable" view of Evangelical Christians. It is almost impossible to imagine any identifiable group of Americans today who would hold such a reflexively negative view of other groups of Americans.


A Pew survey found that 53% of Americans have an unfavourable view of atheists.
6.20.2008 10:01am
wfjag:

All of these views are based primarily on simple prejudice


Estragon, while I agree that the perceived power and organization are factors, I believe that Prof. Zywicki is closer to a more important and fundamental point. My experience has been that humans are tribal, and have a fundamental "us" vs. "them" outlook. Even in places where the population is culturally and ethnically fairly uniform, like a lot of places in Central and Eastern Europe, people will create "us" and "them" groups, and have negative views of whoever the "them" are. Not infrequently these views are clothed in some pseudo-scientific or intellectual jargon. Of course you (individually and your group) can't take ID seriously, since it's proponents ("they") are just a bunch of ignorant cretins. (And, as Mark points out, "they" have a negative opinion of "you", too).

Decision making by humans is never a wholly logical process. Dr. Temple Grandin, Ph.D (Psy), in various books and articles has described brain damage studies -- people whose decision-making and emotional centers were traumatically severed. Many of these people are quite brillant. However, they end up in analysis paralysis and unable to make even simple choices. An emotional commitment is essential to making a decision. There are also a large number of studies in psychology concluding that people usually decide on their opinions first, and then seek out or intrepret facts to support their opinions, and may seek out people who share their opinions. In trial, I never tried to convince a jury -- I let them convince themselves. My first and most important task was to establish an emotional bond between me and my client and the jurors. Thereafter, "we" explored the facts, and "we" reached a decision -- which supported "our" view -- and which view necessarily concluded that the opposing attorneys and clients were a bunch of ignorant cretins, deserving of sanction.
6.20.2008 10:01am
Gorgias:
53% of academics have an "unfavorable" view of Evangelical Christians. It is almost impossible to imagine any identifiable group of Americans today who would hold such a reflexively negative view of other groups of Americans.



Impossible to imagine a group more or less reviled by about half the population? Um, let's see:

1. Atheists--See Ilya's related post and his statistic of roughly half of Americans believing it's impossible to have moral values if you're an atheist and as many refusing to vote for an avowed atheist within their own political party.

2. Homosexuals--See any recent news item on resistance to gay marriage, which at bottom can only be (1) a bigoted stance based on loathing for homos or (2) a greedy stance based on not wanting one's own insurance premiums to rise.

3. Academics--I can't read a single post on anything written here at VC about academics without seeing the usual seething hatred / unqualified dismissal of academics as "mere left-wingers", presumably marking them as sub-human, but roughly half of those posting. Same goes for virually any written remarks by any conservative writing on academia. And roughly half the country is conservative, no? Is there some great silent majority of cons who have no qualms with academia but just don't speak up to defend them in mixed company?

4. Lawyers. No assumptions need be excavated nor any evidence presented here. We all take this as a given. Same goes for avowed communists or socialists. ;-)

QED
6.20.2008 10:01am
Jaypher (mail):
I'm not convinced that EV is wrong. This post is predicated, it seems to me, on a mistaken view that the various mentioned religions are fairly equally likely to rely on "factually unfounded" (that's EV's term, of course) beliefs. But a significant percentage of U.S. Buddhists are non-theists, and a significant percentage of American Jewry is secular.

I'll be interested to read EV's response.

P.S. I'd be shocked if most academics didn't know someone with a Buddhist practice.
6.20.2008 10:01am
Ken Arromdee:
"For instance, I think that most academics are quite tolerant of conservative Jews." I think you mean "Orthodox" or "observant" Jews, because "conservative Jews" means politically conservative

I think he meant what he said. Academics are tolerant of politically conservative Jews more than they're tolerant of politically conservative Christians.

I'm not convinced that this is right, though. The left can easily show signs of antisemitism, and the alliance in some places between the left and Muslim extremists or black extremists (neither of whom like Jews much) doesn't help.

It may not be so much liking Jews as it is characterizing their opposition to Jews differently. If you say "I don't hate Jews, but I hate Zionists", then technically, you don't hate Jews, but in practice you end up hating a lot of them. They could equally say something like "I like Evangelicals, but I hate creationists and believers in the Rapture and creationists" and claim, correctly, not to hate Evangelicals; the fact that they choose to not to phrase it that way is purely a difference in terminology which makes no practical difference.
6.20.2008 10:04am
CBM (mail):
Lazarus,

"the religion that gives us Creationism . . ."? Are you serious? Setting aside the fact that every civilization from the beginning of time has had some sort of creation myth, you do understand that Evangelicals take their creation story from Genesis, which is from the Old Testament (and is therefore Jewish in origin).

Also, I think the initial post is too quick to discount the cultural proxy. Are academics really that tolerant of black conservatives? Tell that to Clarence Thomas.
6.20.2008 10:07am
anonymous coward (mail):
I'm less surprised by the 53% number for a reason I've not seen mentioned (but I've not gone through all of the posts); of all the religious groups subject to the survey, only Evangelical Christians regularly attempt to insert their agenda into academia via litigation. The forays by too many school boards to mention pushing Creationism (and Scientific Creationism, and Intelligent Design, and "Teach the Controversy," and now "Strengths and Weaknesses") to the head of the Science-line is seen by many professors--and not just Science professors--as a hostile act of academic circumvention. (Granted, not all Evangelical Christians back these attempts, so the generalist labeling may not be entirely deserved, but for the most part, those responsible for these attempts are Evangelical Christians).
6.20.2008 10:14am
akwhitacre (mail):
It seems more plausible that it's a combination of political and religious bias. In America at least, "evangelical" is paired (usually unfairly) with "fundamentalist". This makes it easy for an academic to reach the superficial conclusion that an evangelical would be more likely to ignore rational debate and stick to a position even in the absence of evidence.
6.20.2008 10:14am
Whadonna More:
If you ask the median professor (or any highly-educated group) what they think of Evangelicals as a whole, you're going to get an "unfavorable" based on the Intelligent Design and Creation-only education issues. There may be other anti-religious sentiment behind it, but the disparity is clearly based on the very anti-intellectual message of leading Evangelicals.

No offense, OK, but it would be predictable that Mormons, Christian Scientists and Scientologists (and Catholics to a lesser extent) get an extra helping or two of anti-dogmatic disfavor since they all include additional dogma and benefit less from the view that the median Methodist, Baptist, etc. has a more universalist/new age-y view of God.
6.20.2008 10:28am
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
CBM, most Jews (including the observant but excepting the Lubavitchers), the Catholic Church, and most mainline Protestant denominations read Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 allegorically and have for many years. (See St. Augustine on this topic.)

The idea that the earth is 6000 years old and that's how it should be taught in public school is (almost) entirely Evangelical Christian. When the Navajos start agitation for Navajo-Intelligent-Design in the schools, get back to me.
6.20.2008 10:29am
Philistine (mail):

Now let me say that again--53% of academics have an "unfavorable" view of Evangelical Christians. It is almost impossible to imagine any identifiable group of Americans today who would hold such a reflexively negative view of other groups of Americans.


Really?

When the choices are: unfavorable, cool, warm, favorable -- do not find it in the least strange to think that there would be an identifiable group of Americans who would hit 53% of "unfavorable" and "cool" of another group.

A few examples, as pointed out, I'd suspect that the unfavorable rate of Evangelicals for Atheist Professors probably exceeds 53% (heck, the general population probably exceeds that).

Similiarly, I'd expect the Evangelical rate to exceed 53% for American muslims.

Heck, my guess is Conservative Republicans probably exceed 53% unfavorable for Liberal Democrats (and vice versa).
6.20.2008 10:48am
Philistine (mail):
Oops--sorry, posted before I saw the update.
6.20.2008 10:49am
Recently Graduated:
Despite all the blather about how only "Evangelical" Christians get the stink-eye from academics--and how that justifies the bigotry--I suspect most (left-leaning) academics don't really think to make that distinction when they judge someone for being Christian. Being Christian seems to be enough--and I'll provide my own anecdotal evidence of that, for what it's worth. (I realize: not a lot.)

I spent some time working at a large research university with a highly respected academic (and his highly respected academic wife) and when I mentioned that I was not only planning a church wedding but was also a member of the (Episcopal) parish where that wedding was to take place, I got a very shocked and appalled look from both of them. And then the wife said, "Are you a . . . 'holy' person??"

I brushed it off at the time because I didn't want to be rude, but it really turned my stomach. I never looked at them quite the same way again; for all their talk of tolerance, they seemed quite disturbed that a smart young woman like myself might actually (gasp!) belong to a church!

(They also reacted the same way when I mentioned I had season tickets for our university's well-regarded national football program. That might have just been jealousy of the athletic program's flush bank account, though.)
6.20.2008 10:49am
Elliot Reed (mail):
I think saying that academics have cold/unfavorable views of evangelicals because they're seen as "politically conservative" is not quite the right way of putting it. Evangelical Protestantism is the force behind the conservative position in the emotionally volatile culture wars on virtually every issue other than guns. Whether it's gay rights, support for teaching "intelligent design" in the public schools, abortion, stem cell research, abstinence-only sex-ed, or giving condoms to people in AIDS-stricken parts of Africa, it's evangelical Christians heading the charge. Several of those issues wouldn't even exist as matters of political dispute if it weren't for evangelical Protestant theology. If you're politically liberal on culture-war issues (as academics are), an unfavorable view of evangelical Protestantism is entirely rational.

Nonetheless, I suspect a considerable amount of academics' unfavorable of evangelical Protestants is due to ignorant stereotyping that could probably be classified as bigotry. They are, for example, probably entirely ignorant of the better parts of evangelical Christianity, such as their considerable charitable works and, iirc, generally liberal positions on economic issues. (Though the major evangelical political groups like Focus on the Family have entirely sold out on that point, and confine themselves to reiterating the Republican economic platform.)
6.20.2008 10:53am
Elliot Reed (mail):
The idea that the earth is 6000 years old and that's how it should be taught in public school is (almost) entirely Evangelical Christian. When the Navajos start agitation for Navajo-Intelligent-Design in the schools, get back to me.
This is not a fair portrayal of their viewpoint. Lots of evangelicals are old-earth Creationists and there haven't been any efforts of significance to put young-earth Creationism in the public schools. The big push has been to put special creation of life in the schools, whether branded as "creation science" or rebranded as "intelligent design."
6.20.2008 11:01am
avery:

But Evangelicals are at least taught not to hate, something I can't say about academics.



And yet Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Terry Dolan, Jerry Falwell, etc, etc, etc are and have been evangelists of hate.

Maybe they're just not Real True Christians.
6.20.2008 11:08am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
The name "Evangelical" implies someone who evangelizes.

The CPUSA and Moveon.org are evangelical organizations. Those of us who don't like them are not put off by their evangelism but by their politics.
6.20.2008 11:08am
byomtov (mail):
Estragon is exactly correct. Why wouldn't a biology or geology professor have a negative attitude toward Evangelicals who tout their absurd theories? More broadly, why wouldn't people who value intellectual activity have negative feelings towards a group which, to be blunt, has a pretty strong anti-intellectual streak?

And why woudn't a generally liberal group have a negative view of a highly conservative group. Maybe that's unfair to many individuals, but we certainly see plenty of negative, insulting comments directed toward liberals, right here at VC. So stop whining.
6.20.2008 11:13am
David M (www):
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/20/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.
6.20.2008 11:17am
Happyshooter:
And yet Fred Phelps, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Terry Dolan, Jerry Falwell, etc, etc, etc are and have been evangelists of hate.

Maybe they're just not Real True Christians
.

Two questions:

1. Why did you mix Dobson and Robertson, who do take positions strongly against sin but without calling for violence against others, with real fringe people who do call for violence?

2. Why did you run straight to the Fringe? I can play the same game, watch. 'You are an associate professor of math at Rinsdale Community College? You are an evil liar and espouse death for Americans, just like your fellow Ward Churchill! You print fake papers, just like your fellow Michael Bellesiles!'

Now if you could say something like "52% of Christians think gays are sub-human."--now you have a counter to the bigot academics.
6.20.2008 11:18am
anomie:
I doubt that many academics know any Evangelicals (that they are aware of) and few probably know many Mormons, nor do they likely have much but superficial knowledge about the views of many of these people.


I'll leave it for others to decide how much ignorance is involved, but that doubt certainly appears to be based in stereotype.
6.20.2008 11:19am
Catholic law student:
I think some of the hostility on the part of academia has to do with our contacts with the worst of fundamentalist Christianity. As a teenager, I had several repeat, incredibly negative experiences with Christian fundamentalists, including one where, at my non-religious private school, my algebra teacher spent much of his time proselytizing and speaking out against how the professional roles of men and women should be different and how homosexuality was completely and utterly evil. When there were cases of kids being actively harassed and assaulted at school for being perceived to be gay, and incidents of racism that went beyond mere words, and when I was a girl who wanted to do well in science and math, I became extremely anti-Christian for several years. So the hostility I felt was in response to very concrete events. I wanted to learn the quadratic equation, not be asked about whether I believed Christ died for my sins. The same with many of my friends at college who were attacked for who they were, or for the fact that their parents had gotten divorced, or because they were poor, etc.

As I got older, I went back to the roots of my religion, Catholicism, and also started meeting similarly more mature conservative protestants. When they were willing to engage in respectful dialogue, I was able to start listening to them and find a lot of value in their faith. Actually, at my amazingly liberal feminist college, my physics professor in my philosophy of physics class was absolutely happy to have me focus a paper on conceptual physics and Christianity.

Yes academics (and especially liberal ones) are hostile to fundamentalist Christians. Generally the solution to this hostility is to get to know some of them (just like it wouldn't hurt for progressives, liberals, libertarians, conservatives, etc. to talk to each other).
6.20.2008 11:22am
Alan Gunn (mail):
Disapproval of particular religions is not necessarily bigotry. Geology departments that won't hire people who insist that the earth is 6000 years old because that's what you get when you count up generations in the Bible are not bigots. And it's not bigotry to disapprove of those whose religious beliefs include the desirability of exterminating those who don't share their views.
6.20.2008 11:24am
CBM (mail):
Lazarus,

I agree creationism (which, contrary to your obvious assumptions, is not the same as ID) shouldn't be taught in schools, but that does not make your statement any less false. Moreover, the suggestion that creationism means the belief that the world is 6,000 years old is incorrect. Creationism is the belief that god(s) created Earth and the universe out of nothing. While the young Earth theory is certainly a form of creationism, it is not a synonym for creationism. Jews, Catholics and, yes, even the Navajo have always been and continue to be creationists.
6.20.2008 11:32am
avery:
While Dobson and Robertson do not specifically call for violence, they do preach a gospel of hate.

I went to the fringe because that it was the quickest and easiest place to refute the assertion that evangelicals are not taught to hate while academics are.

I assumed that it would be obvious that there is a significant difference between Phelps et al and Paster Smith at the local congregationalist church.

However, I would argue that the fringe of Evangelical Christianity has considerably more influence over the evangelical movement as a whole than Ward Churchill has over academia as a whole.
6.20.2008 11:35am
avery:
Paster = Pastor
6.20.2008 11:36am
The General:
these academics know that it will be much more difficult to propagandize and indoctrinate evangelical students with their anti-Americanism, socialism, Gaia worship, secular humanism, moral relevancy and hedonism and have likely encountered difficulties doing so. That's why they don't like evangelicals. they're seen as a threat to these ivory tower egomaniacs.
6.20.2008 11:38am
Bill Owens:
Todd updated his post to say that:

Some readers have taken issue with my use of the term "bigotry."

I have no issue with your use of the term, and I agree with your definition of it. Certainly the person involved in the anecdote appears to have a bigoted attitude towards Christians.

However, I don't see a basis to assume that bigotry is responsible for the survey results. Drawing such a conclusion without evidence could be seen as an indication that someone has a prejudice with respect to the attitudes and behavior of academics.
6.20.2008 11:46am
Bible Belted (mail):

As Ilya suggests, it is likely that many academics simply know no Evangelicals (at least that they are aware of), so this seems to be pure bigotry based on some general prejudice

Or perhaps it's a judgment informed by accurate representations of what evangelicals believe? As it happens my negative view of evangelicals was incubated the first 18 years of my life (spent nearly exclusively with Southern Baptists) but the first reports about evangelical opposition to the HPV vaccine would have sufficed.
6.20.2008 11:48am
Mr. X (www):
It is clear that bigotry toward Evangelicals and Mormons is much deeper than mainline protestants, Buddhists, and Jews.



Have you considered that the difference between Evangelical Christians and those other religious groups is that first word? Evangelical. They are required to evangelize their beliefs to others. Those other groups do not make it their business to try to convert you to their beliefs. That makes them per se less annoying.
6.20.2008 11:49am
Mahan Atma (mail):
<blockquote>"the alliance in some places between the left and Muslim extremists"</blockquote>

What alliance is this, exactly?
6.20.2008 11:51am
Zywicki (mail):
Bill Owens:
Ok, I see what you are saying. What I was trying to get at is the idea of establishing prejudices about a given person based on a negative stereotyping of a group. But I now understand what the concern is.
6.20.2008 11:57am
martinned (mail) (www):
I've been reading some of Richard Dawkins' books lately, so let me see if I can't shed some light on this issue. (Disclosure: I'm an avowed atheist, but with a number of fairly religious friends.)

In past threads, some of the discussion centered on what "God" means in this context, or what kinds of religion count. (Does Spinoza count? Etc.)

I would suggest dividing the faithful into two rough groups: those that think that revelation trumps evidence, and those that don't. The former group includes all our young-earth creationists, and those guys who went drilling for oil in Israel because they believed the Bible said there was oil there.

Considering that academics make a living searching for and analysing evidence, it seems reasonable that they would have some difficulty wrapping their heads around the notion of someone who would choose faith over evidence.

Considering that some religious groups, including evangelicals, are much more likely to let revelation trump evidence than others, the observation that there are academics who have difficulty wrapping their head around the idea that an intelligent person could possibly be an evangelical seems not unexpected or unreasonable.

I'll do you one better. I'm not sure if I count as an academic, but I have more than a little difficulty with an intelligent person accepting, say, young-world creationism myself. (Creationism of the non-young-world variety comes in too many forms for me to be able to say anything about the all of it.) There are some beliefs that people hold that are so spectacularly in contradiction with scientific evidence that it is difficult to understand how any intelligent person could hold such beliefs. What is unreasonable about that?
6.20.2008 12:09pm
Bad (mail) (www):
You post seems otherwise sound to me, but when you say that you mean the term "bigotry" in merely a descriptive sense, it makes me wonder what universe you're from. Which universe is it in which "bigotry" is NOT an inherently, unavoidably normative expression? :)

I do agree it's the right term though.

However, I think Hill is quite wrong to credit these prejudices purely to isolation. In plenty of cases, it's exactly the opposite.

I think part of the problem is that both academics AND evangelicals have high levels of distrust for each other, levels that are not borne merely out of ignorance, but actual experience. Evangelicals, in real life, are hostile to non-believers in ways that they may not be to other evangelicals. And non-believers respond by being hostile back.

This, frankly, explains the numbers far better: if evangelicals are hostile to non-theist liberals, and non-theist liberals are hostile back, then pretty much everyone's views are based on experience, not ignorance, including all the regular people not hostile to evangelicals. The issue is that certain groups of people are hostile or not depending on who the target is.

Thus, I bet if you surveyed evangelicals on their opinions of "liberal professors" you'd find quite a high level of hostility there as well.
6.20.2008 12:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Some years ago, the WaPo ran a piece explaining that evangelicals were poor, dumb, and easily led. After they got the fan cleaned off, they went scratching around for excuses. The first one was they thought they were only saying what everybody knew. The second was that nobody at the paper actually knew any evangelicals. Possibly some worked at the loading dock, but journos don't talk to that sort.
It would be hard to figure who'd win in the insular culture handicap. Surely journos and academics would tie for first.
It happened that somebody actually did their homework--not a journalist--and discovered that evangelicals are slightly better educated, slightly above average in wealth, and the splintering and reforming congregations show either that they're easily led or they're cats who don't like being herded.
I see the initial report "nervousness". That speaks of bigotry. So would scorn, condescension, and snark. But nervousnes is a whole other thing.
6.20.2008 12:11pm
CJColucci:
I haven't done a rigorous survey, but I'd bet that a large percentage of VC commenters have an unfavorable view of statist liberals, Nazis, communists, single-taxers, and believers in a jihad against the western world, formerly known as Christendom. Is that "bigotry" or simply disagreement with ideas that those persons are trying very hard to implement in the world? Which is it with Evangelical Christians? Does it depend on whether the alleged bigot is largely correct in his factual beliefs about what they believe and want, or does something else come into play?
6.20.2008 12:11pm
Cityduck (mail):
"Who would've thought that 13% of academics have unfavorable views of Catholics?"

How many of those academics are Evangelicals? We've all read Hagee's comments, and most of us are probably familiar with the anti-Catholic screeds in Tim LaHaye's popular books. My guess is that anti-Catholic attitudes are far more prevalant in the Evangelical community than in academia.
6.20.2008 12:20pm
Aultimer:
Recently Graduated's experience regarding football is more telling about the phenomenon than Rick Hills' anecdote.

The ivory tower has highly homogenous views - football is for dolts, Creationism (and much else about fundy Christianity) is laughable and lefty politics are good, righty politics are evil. When they run into contrary views among their own, it's startling. That's true of every homogenous group - citizens of Japan, southern rednecks and Berkley-ites. Not surprising.

The Evangelicals get the worst of it because the "outside" views are core to the identity of academics. Kind of like the treatment Prof. Post gets for discussing soccer among a group of largely real-man gun-toting freedom-loving football fans.
6.20.2008 12:22pm
Recently Graduated:
I just want to note that this entire debate has become about whether bigotry toward Evangelical Christians is justified, but Prof. Hill's post never identified the subject of his colleague's comment as an Evangelical Christian--the subject was simply referred to as "a" Christian.

So this discussion really annoys me because what I'm seeing is a bunch of academics finding a way to say that it's OK to be bigoted toward a group of equally bigoted individuals when, in fact, the actual discussion was started by a comment that did not at all indicate the subject was similarly bigoted (or anti-intellectual, a believer in fairy tales, and the like). Is the assumption that anyone self-identifying as "Christian" must be evangelical?

So let me ask: why are academics in general, less tolerant of Christianity, PERIOD, than of other belief systems, including observant Judaism?
6.20.2008 12:26pm
ejo:
people have a negative view of atheists, primarily for two reasons: 1. Hate to keep harping on it but communism is the flowering of the philosophy/belief system; 2. the atheists who make the public eye, usually by showing their hatred and contempt for christianity. 3. Add in the number of things that have been built by churches, the charitable work done by churches, etc as opposed to the number of schools/soup kitchens/etc run by the philosophy of atheism.
6.20.2008 12:27pm
Rogi (mail):
Aultimer: You make it sound like there is no such thing as objectivity in politics or world views. While contrived dualisms make for great straw men, what is there for the people trying to navigate more or less a rational, middle path? There's enough room for ultimate good vs. ultimate evil in children's book and various religious texts.
6.20.2008 12:31pm
R Gould-Saltman (mail):
Recently Graduated:

...and you consider the mote in their eye, while not noticing the beam in yours.

While they displayed some sort of shock or dismay at "holy" people, your reaction was

". . . it really turned my stomach. I never looked at them quite the same way again; for all their talk of tolerance, they seemed quite disturbed that a smart young woman like myself might actually (gasp!) belong to a church!".

I'm gathering your reaction might well have been the same had they announced, for instance, their atheism, and their sincere belief that otherwise apparently rational people who believed in an anthropomorphic God were immersing themselves in irrational and primitive superstition.

It's not a polite way of putting it, and my mom taught me to be polite in addressing matters of religion, but it's a legitimate and coherent view to have, whether you agree with it or not. Just outa curiosity, what was your answer to their question?

That their reaction "turned your stomach" suggests that you have little experience with real religious intolerance. They didn't tell you, for instance, that in their view, you were going to hell for your beliefs, or that your views were likely to corrupt your children, or that your views were likely to result in your town being struck by natural disaster as an expression of God's displeasure; they simply expressed distaste.

Notably, no religious group in the US other than Protestant Christians, (and in particular self-identified Evangelical Christians) has a recent history of quite as much clear political clout, coupled with as much of a self-expressed sense of "persecution"; the instant thread is merely a shining example.

When was the last time you heard anyone, let alone an American politician, or cleric, asserting that "America must acknowledge that is is fundamentally a Jewish nation"? "Buddhist"? "Bahai""? Next time you hear someone lamenting the restriction of prayer in public schools, ask her if "Sentient beings are numberless,I vow to free them; Delusions are inexhaustible,I vow to end them; The Dharma Gates are boundless,I vow to open them; The Enlightened Way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it. " would do the trick for her.

My anecdotal experience is that self-identified Evangelical Christians, particularly in academia, have an unusual propensity, (unusual at least as among religious groups represented in American academia), for announcing their religion, injecting discussion of it into contexts in which its relevance is not clear to others, seeking to evangelize to many they encounter, regardless of context, (Catholic Law Student: my son had a similar, but less noxious experience with a math teacher at his urban, public high school a couple of years ago, who was openly evangelizing his calc class) coupled with expressing the above-noted sense of persecution. Self-identified evangelical Christians are also notably hostile towards mainstream academia, particularly in small towns; academics are in some cases, understandably defensive in response.
6.20.2008 12:36pm
Rogi (mail):

the atheists who make the public eye, usually by showing their hatred and contempt for Christianity.


Easy target cause it hits close to home in the western world. I'm sure other religions are left untouched by the pesky atheists.


Add in the number of things that have been built by churches, the charitable work done by churches, etc as opposed to the number of schools/soup kitchens/etc run by the philosophy of atheism.


We can cite good done by religion vs. bad done by religion the whole day, but are you saying that you need to believe in God to be charitable. Seeing how the religious comprise the majority of the population (10-15% atheist agnostic), should that be taken into account in determining the amount of charitable activity of by secular vs. religious groups?
6.20.2008 12:37pm
SIG357:
Is it a surprise that the Biology and Physics Departments have a low opinion of the religion that gives us Creationism and Intelligent Design and the drive to teach that drivel in the public schools?

Yes, since it's the same religion that gave us universities and Biology and Physics Departments in the first place.
6.20.2008 12:43pm
d:
"bigotry" is likely the wrong term for what's happening.

"bigotry," in merriam-webster online, is defined the state of mind of one obstinately devoted to a particular "prejudice." "Prejudice" is defined as "an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge."

Here, the poster is presuming that academics form an adverse opinion of evangelicals without just grounds or sufficient knowledge.

It seems much more likely that academics are simply reacting reasonably to their informed opinion of what evangelicalism actually is:
Wikipedia says evangelicalism involves, among other things, evangelism, which is an attempt to convert others to your beliefs. Like many people, academics may justifiably resent those who feel compelled to preach to and convert them.
Or Academics may be reacting to another facet of evangelicalism: a belief in the inerrancy of the bible. (see "evangelical" at wordnet.princeton.edu.)
It is perfectly justified for academics - who value critical intellectual inquiry as part of their jobs - would think negatively about people who believe in the inerrancy of whatever version of the bible they happen to own.

Since it's justified, such a belief is not "bigotry."
6.20.2008 12:44pm
robc:
avery,

Phelps isnt evangelical. His "church" is hyper-calvinist - they dont believe in evangelizing.

You want so far to the "fringe" that you moved into a completly different category.
6.20.2008 12:46pm
SIG357:
Notably, no religious group in the US other than Protestant Christians, (and in particular self-identified Evangelical Christians) has a recent history of quite as much clear political clout, coupled with as much of a self-expressed sense of "persecution"

That's debatable. For instance, Jews would seem to be comparable. Assuming Jewishness is seen as a religion - it's all very murky.
6.20.2008 12:47pm
Cityduck (mail):
To add further context to my comment above, a May 12, 2006, Gallup poll found that 30% of Americans have an unfavourable view of the Catholic faith, which is far in excess of the 13% unfavorable of academics who have unfavorable views of Catholics.

Sort of renders Todd's question "Who would've thought that 13% of academics have unfavorable views of Catholics?" a little ambiguous. Are you surprised that academics are less "bigoted" towards Catholics than the rest of the population?
6.20.2008 12:47pm
Morgan Price (mail) (www):
I am an evolutionary biologist. Many (most?) of the public leaders of evangelical christianity claim that my field of study does not exist. So it is true that I have a negative opinion of evangelical christians, and it is also true that I rarely talk to an evangelical christian. But it's not bigotry.

P.S. I imagine many other biologists feel the same way.
6.20.2008 12:47pm
Recently Graduated:

Self-identified evangelical Christians are also notably hostile towards mainstream academia, particularly in small towns; academics are in some cases, understandably defensive in response.


Ah, but I am not a self-identified Evangelical Christian. I am a self-identified Episcopalian. ;)

My response to the question about whether I was "holy" was to say that I regularly attend church. I let the questioner draw her own conclusions from that. You seem to think that my negative reaction was because they were NOT Christian; on the contrary, both were culturally Jewish (though quite open about being atheist).

You seem to assume that because I was bothered by their lack of tolerance of my (mainstream Protestant) faith, I am prone to trumpeting my faith to anyone I meet. Quite the contrary. (In fact, the only reason the conversation went in the direction it did is because one of these two academics asked me where I was getting married--I had recently become engaged. So, I didn't thrust it at them at all.)

But why should I have to be defensive? I mentioned I belonged to a (in that community, fairly liberal) church, and got a reaction that I thought was odd, coming from an academic couple who genuinely believed in the necessity of tolerance (we'd had a lovely conversation the day before about what we thought the Massachusetts Supreme Court would do regarding the same sex marriage issue in front of them at the time--all of us pro-SSM, by the way).

Your response doesn't answer my question--Protestant Christians may be quite mainstream, but we are not talking about mainstream views, we are talking about academic views. Why do academics so distrust Christians in general? I can certainly sympathize with the distrust or dislike of the in-your-face proselytizing of many evangelical Christians, but that was not what I experienced.
6.20.2008 12:48pm
robc:
martinned,

I like your last paragraph. I think you could, however, replace "young-world" with "marxist" and "creationism" with "socialism" and it is just as valid.

And yet, academia is filled with people who belief it via revelation instead of evidence.
6.20.2008 12:51pm
SIG357:
It seems much more likely that academics are simply reacting reasonably to their informed opinion of what evangelicalism actually is

Oh, piffle.

You could just as easily have written "It seems more likely that whites are simply reacting reasonably to their informed opinion of what blacks actually are like".

Or "It seems more likely that Nazis are simply reacting reasonably to their informed opinion of what Jews actually are like".



It is perfectly justified for academics - who value critical intellectual inquiry as part of their jobs

Snort. The typical Catholic priest circa 1500 had a better spirit of "critical intellectual inquiry" than the average modern American academic.
6.20.2008 12:54pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@robc: Maybe it's a Europe vs. US thing, or maybe it has something to do with the kind of research I do (law and economics), but I've never met a Marxist academic in my life.

What's more, while at least 20 years ago there was quite a bit of literature written from a Marxist perspective, most of it fairly reputable (in the sense of complying with academic standards as to what constitutes a valid argument, etc.), I haven't seen very many articles like that published recently.

Finally, going back to Marx himself, I would have to argue that he tried to do something academic, in the sense of pursuing truth and knowledge. Comparing his work with the economics of his time, a time when the science was still in its infancy, it is not unreasonable. Very wrong, sure, but given the knowledge of his time not unreasonable. Evidence has added up since, and as a result fewer and fewer people believe Communism is a good idea.
6.20.2008 12:58pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@SIG357: Bigoted about academics, are we?
6.20.2008 12:59pm
L.A. Brave:
From this survey:

Of the five faith segments (evangelicals, non-evangelical born again Christians, notional Christians, adherents of non-Christian faiths, and atheists/agnostics), evangelicals were the most likely to do each of the following:

# discuss spiritual matters with other people.
# volunteer at a church or non-profit organization.
# discuss political matters with other people.
# discuss moral issues and conditions with others.
# stop watching a television program because of its values or viewpoints.
# go out of their way to encourage or compliment someone.


Yeah, who would have unfavorable views of people that go out of their way to discuss spiritual, political, or moral matters? All the charity and compliments in the world don't make up for how $%%^ing annoying that is.
6.20.2008 1:00pm
Federal Dog:
"". . . it really turned my stomach. I never looked at them quite the same way again; for all their talk of tolerance, they seemed quite disturbed that a smart young woman like myself might actually (gasp!) belong to a church!".

I'm gathering your reaction might well have been the same had they announced, for instance, their atheism, and their sincere belief that otherwise apparently rational people who believed in an anthropomorphic God were immersing themselves in irrational and primitive superstition."


Why would you be "gathering" such an illogical conclusion?
6.20.2008 1:01pm
L.A. Brave:
SIG357:
Your analogies don't hold up. Those traits are immutable. Unless you think that ignorance is immutable to Evangelicals...

Well, never mind. Point taken.
6.20.2008 1:03pm
SIG357:
Considering that academics make a living searching for and analysing evidence

Don't be absurd. The typical college professor teaching "Introduction to Literature" to a group of bored kids will never spend a moment of his life searching for or analysing evidence.


I've never met a Marxist academic in my life.

Look in the mirror sometime.
6.20.2008 1:04pm
SIG357:
Your analogies don't hold up. Those traits are immutable.

Not really. But even if they are, how does that alter anything?

You must be working off some private definition of the word "bigotry", one in which the phrase "immutable characteristics" appears.

Contrary to what you may think, bigotry is not a synonym for racism.
6.20.2008 1:09pm
SIG357:
Bigotry

stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own.
6.20.2008 1:11pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
sig357-

does that mean if i stubbornly and completely disagree with nazism im a bigot?
6.20.2008 1:17pm
A. Nony Mouse:

Don't be absurd. The typical college professor teaching "Introduction to Literature" to a group of bored kids will never spend a moment of his life searching for or analysing evidence.



Of course. Everyone knows that Lit 101 and Marxist Indoctrination is the majority of the college experience. Languages, Art, Psychology, Economics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Accounting, Business Administration, and History are just fillers.
6.20.2008 1:18pm
bls (mail):
I'm not a college professor. I have the same attitude, though: I have much more respect for conservative Jews and Roman Catholics than I do for Evangelical Christians.

The reason is simple: Jews and Roman Catholics have been engaged for thousands of years in rational argument and debate, and have produced some terrifically good theology and philosophy. (Not to mention some really great art and musci and architecture, in the case the Roman Catholicism, and one of the most admired people in the history of the world in the person of St. Francis of Assisi.)

Evangelical Christianity - the modern, Protestant version, I'm talking about - has produced Creationism and "Sola Scriptura" (not in its original meaning, but in what it's become) and "Sinners in the hands of an angry God." Too, Protestantism has fractured into literally hundreds of denominations, most of the time along some obscure (and absurd) point of theology. It can't play nicely with others, and when it doesn't get its own way, it takes its ball and goes off to start a different, purer, church. It's really not very serious or interesting; it's mostly personal opinion writ large. It does not know how to debate; it merely makes assertions - and it doesn't bother to listen to anybody else.

It could be that many academics are like this, too, of course; I have no way of knowing. And perhaps Evangelical Protestantism of the type found in America will grow out of its infancy, too - but so far, there isn't much evidence of that.
6.20.2008 1:21pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@George Weiss: I was thinking the same thing, but I figured that's probably not what whatever dictionary he was quoting meant.

Let's look up intolerance, which seems to be the key word here:

Main Entry: in·tol·er·ant
Pronunciation: \-rənt\
Function: adjective
Date: circa 1735
1: unable or unwilling to endure
2 a: unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters b: unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights : bigoted

OK, that doesn't help very much. I'm thinking you can't be considered bigoted or intolerant if it's an informed opinion, which is pretty much what half of the commenters above were pointing out, which makes it rather hard to understand what SIG357 thought he was saying...
6.20.2008 1:22pm
robc:
martinned,

Just saw this on reason.com's blog on an unrelated issue:

Yalit Amit, a statistics and computer science professor ... the background image on Amit's faculty webpage is a repeated image of Karl Marx.

Doesnt prove he is a marxist, but economics isnt his field anyway, so Im not holding him to a high standard on that.
6.20.2008 1:22pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Yes, since it's the same religion that gave us universities and Biology and Physics Departments in the first place.
Evangelical Protestantism gave us biology and physics departments? Evangelical Protestantism of the type practiced in the U.S. is an invention of the 19th Century. It didn't even exist when modern scientific physics came into existence. Nor can it be credited with modern scientific biology.
6.20.2008 1:25pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

I think the correct word to apply to that prejudice is "bigotry," but if there is a different word, then please suggest the correct word. I think that the term must be freighted with greater normative implications than I intended, as I intended it to be used descriptively, not normatively.


Todd, I agree with you.


There are a number of these other comments that remind me of my great-grandfather (born in 1861 in Georgia, and named "Jefferson Davis ...") who said "I'm not a bigot. Niggers really *are* inferior."
6.20.2008 1:26pm
Randy R. (mail):
"I went to the fringe because that it was the quickest and easiest place to refute the assertion that evangelicals are not taught to hate while academics are. "

You don't have to. Just go to any one of the hundreds of Christian websites that exist, and you will see plenty of evidence of hatred towards certain groups, especially anyone who is prochoice or gay.

In fact, post on their comments section anything faintly positive about gays, like they deserve the same rights as anyone else, and you'll see the hatred come out. Believe me, I've done it, and it isn't pretty. Hate like that comes from preachers, ministers and other religious leaders who keep repeating that nothing is worse that gays and abortion. Except maybe a gay abortionist.
6.20.2008 1:31pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@Charlie (Colorado): Good example. If black people were demonstrably inferior in some sense, holding that belief would not make someone a bigot.

@robc: I have to say, the fact that the University of Chicago would let one of their researchers use an image of Marx like that on the University's website is testimony to their belief in Free Speech. My university, on the other hand, feels that faculty websites have to conform to the general style of the site.

Anyway, my point wasn't that there are no Marxists in academia (with last week's Ohio judge in mind, I would never claim such a thing), but instead that they are rare enough that I've never met one.
6.20.2008 1:32pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Elliott Reed wrote

Lots of evangelicals are old-earth Creationists and there haven't been any efforts of significance to put young-earth Creationism in the public schools. The big push has been to put special creation of life in the schools, whether branded as "creation science" or rebranded as "intelligent design."
This is simply false. The creation science law in Arkansas provided, and I quote (also, my emphasis),

In 1981 Arkansas Act 590 mandated that "creation science" be given equal time in public schools with evolution. Creation science was defined as follows:

"Creation science means the scientific evidences for creation and inferences from those evidences. Creation science includes the scientific evidences and related inferences that indicate:

1. Sudden creation of the universe, energy and life from nothing.
2. The insufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about development of all living kinds from a single organism.
3. Changes only with fixed limits of originally created kinds of plants and animals.
4. Separate ancestry for man and apes.
5. Explanation of the earth's geology by catastrophism, including the occurrence of worldwide flood.
6. A relatively recent inception of the earth and living kinds."

After this law was struck down in 1982, creationism evolved into Intelligent Design—so obviously that in the Dover case, this was part of the Court's findings.

There are varieties of creationism, including Old Earth Creationists, but no matter how you slice it, one could hardly expect academic Science Departments to esteem highly a movement that hatches such anti-scientific, anti-intellectual nonsense.
6.20.2008 1:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
If evangelical christians are really worried about how they are treated in academia or other walks of life, then they do what we gays have done. come out of the closet.

When people see you are realize that you are not a bigot, anti-intellectual, fire breathing, or whatever, they will realize that you are normal like everyone else. It takes time (we gays are still working on it), and some people will never fully accept you (like us), but it's really the only and best thing you can do to counter the image.

From Alexander Pope:
"Tis with our judgements, like our watches,
None go just alike, but each believes his own."
6.20.2008 1:35pm
Randy R. (mail):
Just wondering: How many evangelical Christians would like to be treated with respect by academia, but also want gays to NOT be treated as equally as well by Christians or the population at large?

Seems that if you want respect, you should be willing to give it to everyone.

And yes, that goes for gays as well. I've met plenty of religious people in my life, and they range from the lunatic to the sane, liberal to conservative, and I generally have no problem with them and we all get along fine.
6.20.2008 1:42pm
bls (mail):
(I should probably have said that "I have more respect for conservative Judaism and Roman Catholicism than for Evangelical Christianity." I don't really have anything against the individuals involved themselves - only against the approach to religious faith.

Actually, I'm beginning to worry that American Evangelical Christianity is going to infect American Roman Catholicism, too; I think that's already begun to happen, in fact.

I don't know what it is about the American version, either; I don't have the same feelings about, say, British Evangelicalism.

Maybe it's the "American" part that's really the problem; it does seem from this thread that all Americans hate each other, doesn't it?)
6.20.2008 1:44pm
phree:
I'm an academic and I have contact with evangelicals on a regular basis because I teach in PA with many students from OH. Generally they are theocratic and I've only met about 5 in 13 years of college level teaching who have an open mind about views that do not accord with their narrow metaphysics. They are generally not very literate or good academic performers though I have taught exceptions to this rule. In short, when I see them coming, I can't wait until they're gone.
6.20.2008 1:47pm
hawkins:
Sorry if this has already been stated in the comments, but to me it seems entirely reasonable that there is much greater skepticism and bigotry directed against relatively recent religions (Mormonism) or religious movements (Evangelicals) than at well established religions (Buddhism). I dont think it indicates much about the particular religions or the bigots. I believe most people would naturally be bigoted against all religions, but older religions are so well established that acceptance is ingrained in society.
6.20.2008 1:47pm
Latinist:
A few things:

1. The original post's puzzlement about why Jews don't get as unfavorable ratings as evangelicals is either astonishingly ignorant or disingenuous. A lot of people call themselves, and are called, Jews (and ditto Catholics, though I think not as much), without following traditional Judaism's metaphysical or moral beliefs. Calling yourself an evangelical Christian, on the other hand, is just about always a profession of faith.

1a. This applies somewhat to other religions too: people who call themselves Muslims or Protestants usually hold at least some of those religions' beliefs, but you can stray pretty far from traditional teachings without giving up the word. I think most people who use the term "Evangelical" of themselves are within a narrower range of beliefs. (But maybe I'm wrong; are there people who think of themselves as, e.g., "Christmas and Easter Evangelicals"?)

2. It's not just Evangelicals' political beliefs that people disapprove of; a lot of academics (and others) find some moral beliefs widely held by Evangelicals -- e.g., that homosexuality is a perversion hateful to God, that ought to be cured -- offensive, regardless of their political implications.

3. Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Catholics may hold similar beliefs to Evangelicals' about, e.g., the moral status of homosexuality; but those religions are less involved in public debate on those issues, so there's less awareness and resentment of their beliefs. The Amish have (I think) some ideas that most people wouldn't like, but they don't face much hostility because they don't interact that much with the rest of society.

4. There's some truth to the point that academics don't interact much with evangelicals; but of course, nobody's born an academic; lots of them have evangelicals in their families, grew up among evangelicals, etc. I don't know if the hostility is stronger or weaker among academics with less experience with evangelicals; my experience is mixed. It'd make an interesting follow-up study.
6.20.2008 1:59pm
cMh:

I would suggest dividing the faithful into two rough groups: those that think that revelation trumps evidence, and those that don't.


In my opinion, a more accurate description of the two groups is this: those that think that revelation trumps is evidence, and those that don't.
6.20.2008 2:04pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Generally they are theocratic and I've only met about 5 in 13 years of college level teaching who have an open mind about views that do not accord with their narrow metaphysics. They are generally not very literate or good academic performers though I have taught exceptions to this rule"

If this is true, then these people can hardly complain about being treated with respect by academia. I mean, if you enter the universe of scientific inquirty with the thought that you will be rejecting it, you can hardly make a claim for respect.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.
6.20.2008 2:06pm
Latinist:
Oh, and I don't know where a couple commentors get the idea that academics are intolerant of football fans. I often talk about football with my colleagues, and have never felt any hostility as a result (well, except from a Patriots fan, when I wouldn't shut up about the Super Bowl). A colleague of mine actually appears on a sports talk radio show in her spare time, and I don't think the feelings directed towards her get any worse than envy.
6.20.2008 2:08pm
wfjag:
Elliot wrote:


Evangelical Protestantism gave us biology and physics departments? Evangelical Protestantism of the type practiced in the U.S. is an invention of the 19th Century. It didn't even exist when modern scientific physics came into existence. Nor can it be credited with modern scientific biology.


"Flaws of Gravity" by Christopher Hitchens (April 18, 2008) on vanityfair.com:


Continuing our stroll—or pub crawl—we might pass Christ’s College, alma mater of the Reverend William Paley. In the early 19th century, Paley’s book Natural Theology, arguing that all of “creation” argued for the evidence of a divine designer, became the key text for those who saw the hand of god in the marvels of nature. A young student named Charles Darwin came to the same college not all that long afterward and was overcome by awe at being given the same rooms as Paley had occupied. As a naturalist and biologist, Darwin hoped to follow in the great man’s path and perhaps himself become a priest.


Sorry Elliot, but I think you're completely wrong in your assertion.
6.20.2008 2:15pm
bls (mail):
"The original post's puzzlement about why Jews don't get as unfavorable ratings as evangelicals is either astonishingly ignorant or disingenuous. A lot of people call themselves, and are called, Jews (and ditto Catholics, though I think not as much), without following traditional Judaism's metaphysical or moral beliefs. Calling yourself an evangelical Christian, on the other hand, is just about always a profession of faith. "

This is a really good point; there is both "cultural Catholicism" and "cultural Judaism" - but there's no such thing among Evangelical Christianity.
6.20.2008 2:16pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@cMh: Fair enough. How about "those that think revelation is evidence that can trump other evidence, and those that don't."

My point was that very few scientists would have a problem with religion as a source of moral teaching and (other)metaphysics, although they might have a problem with the content of that teaching on certain points. It gets problematic when evidence relating to, say, evolution or geology, is rejected because it allegedly contradicts Genesis.

(Einstein is frequently, and frequently erroneously, quoted in this kind of debate. He distinguished between what is and what should be, limiting religion to the second. Where the faithful accept biblical evidence on "what is" to contradict scientific evidence, they might be faced with more than a little skepticism.)
6.20.2008 2:16pm
ejo:
when you use "jew" in this academic context, aren't you usually talking about someone who is reliably left wing, supports abortion on demand and goes to the synagogue about once every 10 years? religion doesn't come into the equation. while we can discuss it, does anyone ultimately care that academics don't like evangelicals? I imagine more people in general society have contempt for academics, where communists can still be respectable and holocaust deniers cash a check after tenure, than for christians they deal with every day. the echo chamber makes it tough for academia to realize they are not held in the highest esteem either.
6.20.2008 2:23pm
Fub:
Todd Zywicki wrote in original article, June 20, 2008 at 7:53am:
It is clear that bigotry toward Evangelicals and Mormons is much deeper than mainline protestants, Buddhists, and Jews. As Ilya suggests, it is likely that many academics simply know no Evangelicals (at least that they are aware of), so this seems to be pure bigotry based on some general prejudice. But I doubt many academics know many Buddhists either, yet very few hold negative perceptions of Buddhists. And I doubt that academics are any more informed about what "weird" views Buddhists hold than Mormons or Evangelicals. All of these views are based primarily on simple prejudice (in the descriptive sense) not on knowledge or experience.
I agree that fewer academics know many Buddhists than know many Evangelicals or Mormons. That may, in part, account for many academics not holding negative views of some Buddhists. In general, except for some particular sects, Buddhists tend not to proselytize at all.

There are many Buddhist sects (the term "sect" is equivalent to the term "denomination" in this context). At most only a few sects' general behaviors bear similarity to many Evangelical Christian denominations' behaviors, ie: they proselytize fervently and persistently, to the great annoyance of many proselytizees; they hold "non-mainstream" beliefs (among Buddhists); they sometimes denounce other sects as heretics; etc.

While many Buddhists may be generally aware of these sects, it is likely that most non-Buddhists have not encountered them, or recognized them when encountered. Most non-academics may not have encountered them as well.

That may account in part for Profs. Zywicki's and Somin's observation.
6.20.2008 2:23pm
ejo:
shhh, don't bring the facts about institutes of higher learning being founded by those dirty christians into the discussion. they probably weren't really christians anyway.
6.20.2008 2:30pm
L.A. Brave:
wfjag:
So evangelicals are going to take credit for an agnostic, who at one time wanted to be priests?
6.20.2008 2:34pm
Randy R. (mail):
Yes, ejo, many colleges and universities were founded by the Jesuits, who were committed to free inquiry, which led to them being scientific places of study. But the Jesuits were founded precisely to go where most Christians don't, and to argue it freely and find the 'truth' of matters.

Universities founded with a Chrisitain ideology, such as Bob Jones U, or Oral Roberts U might have many good departments, but their certainly are not leaders in biology or any other scientific endeavor that clashes with their theology.

Moreover, many of the universties that were founded as Christian colleges years ago have long ago shed their religious strictures in pursuit of pure knowledge. Harvard, for instance, was founded as a divinity school, and still has one. ARe you suggesting that Harvard is today a Christian college? I would hardly think so. They are one of the leading universities of the world precisely because they left Christian teachings to one part, and left science to another.
6.20.2008 2:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Oh, and I don't know where a couple commentors get the idea that academics are intolerant of football fans."

Agreed. And I don't know when drinking chardonnay and nibbling brie got to be regarded as elitist and the provence of academics, atheists, and other assorted snobs.

And don't me started about classical music!
6.20.2008 2:43pm
ejo:
nope, I am suggesting that the current academics/non-academic know it alls are free riders on what was created by the people they hold in contempt today. if they go to europe, do the same folks avoid any building/monument/etc that has a taint of christianity?
6.20.2008 2:50pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Andrew J. Lazarus—I hadn't realized the old-school creation scientists actually wanted to put specifically young-earth creationism in the schools. As I understand it that's now how the contemporary ID movement works however.
6.20.2008 2:54pm
bls (mail):
"nope, I am suggesting that the current academics/non-academic know it alls are free riders on what was created by the people they hold in contempt today. if they go to europe, do the same folks avoid any building/monument/etc that has a taint of christianity?"

And in this way, Evangelicals can avoid any criticism, for the rest of time!

(The admirable "buildings/monuments/etc" in Europe you refer to were mostly erected by Catholics, BTW; Evangelicals had little to do with it - and in fact, Protestants destroyed a lot of the art in Catholic Europe. They famously whitewashed over frescos in England, for one.)
6.20.2008 3:11pm
L.A. Brave:
ejo:
How can you free-ride on charitable institutions? Free riding is the very essence of charity. I don't think you know what that word means.
6.20.2008 3:11pm
shawn-non-anonymous:
bls:


Actually, I'm beginning to worry that American Evangelical Christianity is going to infect American Roman Catholicism, too; I think that's already begun to happen, in fact.


I was raised Roman Catholic. (or what might be amusingly called "Irish Catholic".) I went to both public and Catholic grade and high schools. I sang in two choirs on every Sunday for part of that time. When I finally came out of the closet, I chose to leave the church. At the time, I did so out of respect for its beliefs that I could no longer share. That was over 20 years ago and in that time the Church has moved steadily to the right. Positions on what it is proper for a Catholic to do appear to be enhanced with a belief that these rules are universal and cash has flowed into politics to fight for change. $250K just landed in California to fight against equal marriage rights. Meanwhile, there have been threats to withhold communion or excommunicate a politician that doesn't vote according to Catholic belief, regardless of what their constituency desires.

When I meet someone and discover they are Catholic, Mormon, or Evangelical/Fundamentalist, I immediately distrust them. I've got decades of experience with Christians and their strong belief that harassing me, insulting me, picketing me, passing laws to restrict me, etc is "love". Tomorrow, I'll go to an event where I'll meet more Christians like these. They hired sky writers to harass people like me at Disney a few weeks ago. They stand outside our night clubs, restaurants, and vacation spots. They'll be there when I attend the next film festival. I'll hear their views on me regularly from now until the next election in all facets of the media. I wish I was a stronger person and could tune out all of this "love", but I have to tell you that it wears on you, year after year, until even the chance some new person could turn out to be another "loving" Christian is enough to make me wary.

It's so much easier for me to be tolerant of Wiccans, Jews, and other religions because they don't expend as much energy on making sure my life as a gay man is Hell on earth.
6.20.2008 3:17pm
Abandon:
It is rather difficult to round up all believers as the faith in a religion stands on much personal grounds, and not all individuals within a given religion necessarily embrace the same faith on different levels.

Many of the most influent scholars admit the importance of their religious beliefs in their personal lives. Especially striking is the case of Jean Delumeau, a French historian who became a world wide respected authority in the development of christianity during the Middle Ages. Even to his most vehement critics, the scholar's catholic faith doesn't seem to be a problem.

One's faith can't be considered as an obstacle to fair judgment, unless the contrary can be proven. But if religion can be looked at as a contributive factor to possibly impair academician's judgement, it only is one among a plurality of others.
6.20.2008 3:18pm
hawkins:

if they go to europe, do the same folks avoid any building/monument/etc that has a taint of christianity?


Go to Europe, drink wine, eat Brie? ... why on earth would any good God-fearing red-blooded American do such as thing?
6.20.2008 3:22pm
bls (mail):
"It's so much easier for me to be tolerant of Wiccans, Jews, and other religions because they don't expend as much energy on making sure my life as a gay man is Hell on earth."

Yes, I've noticed the rightward lurch of the Catholic Church in recent years, too - and I really do think it's because of a new alliance with Evangelicalism.

Probably gay people notice this much more than others because, as you say, so many conservative Christians direct their political efforts - and their fury and hatred - at us. It is surprising to me, though, that Catholics joined in on this, because my experience of (Northeastern) Catholicism has been much different; Catholics were one of the few groups you could count on to be decent and sympathetic about the issue, even while they might have disagreed.

But it has changed a lot, I think - although Catholicism in this part of the world is a shadow of its former self. They are closing churches and schools everywhere - and even cultural Catholicism has become very weak.
6.20.2008 3:34pm
Federal Dog:
"But the Jesuits were founded precisely to go where most Christians don't, and to argue it freely and find the 'truth' of matters."


Except for -- you know -- that whole Inquisition thing.
6.20.2008 3:39pm
J.McFaul (mail) (www):
Is it really bigotry to have a poor opinion of people who either burn crosses into the arms of public school children or who make excuses for those who do?



“With the exception of the cross-burning episode … I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district,’’

(Be sure to read the pdf full report)

I missed the Star of David, Ohm and crescent moon brandings of school chidren.
6.20.2008 3:43pm
Dave N (mail):
Recently Graduated has made some excellent points. Many, many commenters on this thread, her professor and his spouse, and the person whose comment started this debate conflate all Christianity with a stereotype of what they perceive Christianity to be, even if the truth is different from the stereotype (as truth is often--and perhaps usually--different from stereotype).

I grew up in a liberal Protestant denomination (Presbyterian), have fundamentalist and evangelical familty members (the two terms are not synonymous in either direction, btw), and still consider myself religious. My political views do not necessarily shape my religious views (or vice versa).

I have been amazed at the amount of ignorance spouted but have mostly bit my tongue. That is not to say there haven't been some intelligent, thoughtful comments--on both sides. Unfortunately, they appear to be the exception, not the rule.

Dialogue and understanding is important (I lived a decade in Utah as a non-Mormon so I fully understand being a religous minority). However, dialogue cannot occur if you live in an echo chamber (which is why this is my favorite blog) or if you are not willing to give others the respect you think they should give you.
By the way
6.20.2008 3:44pm
Calvin Plantinga:
My anecdotal experience (also maybe not worth much): I spent nearly four yrs in a Ph.d program. During most of that time I was an outspoken atheist on the left.

During the last semester before I quit the phd program, I finally ended a long intellectual battle and realized I was a conservative/libertarian and not too long after that became a *gasp* Christian. (These events, quitting phd, and intellectual conversion, had nothing whatsoever to do with one another--though losing my faith in leftism and gaining it in Christ had at least something to do w/ each other).

Most colleagues did not really care or notice but some ridiculed me to my face. I had colleagues who had long sung my intellectual praises and come to me for advice and help on problems etc. that suddenly believed that I had hit my head and become completely retarded--about both free markets and God. One year earlier I would have reacted exactly the same way.

I believe in Christianity b/c I think the best explanation for the evidence presented in the new testament is that it provides a reliable historical account. To think this-once one has examined the evidence-takes a lot less 'faith' than to believe that the dictatorship of the proletariate will eventually lead to the end of scarcity and the withering of the state. I am always keenly aware that I will be ridiculed for saying that--even perhaps by those who share my believe that Marxism is foolish.

That the world reacts that way is a Christian apologetic (see John 15:18).

My point is this: now that I have travelled in evangelicalism for years, I can compare it to the leftist circles I knew so well earlier. I have come to the solid conclusion that conservative Christians are far more intellectually tolerant than left atheists/liberals. I mean that in the proper sense of the word 'tolerant.' I think that I am right, and fully accept the intellectual exclusivity that comes along with that. However, I will admit that people of reasonable intelligence can look at non-empirical problems, view the same evidence, and come to entirely different conclusions. Leftists and atheists often think that anyone who disagrees w/ them must be intellectually or educationally deficient, and this is a dangerous and destructive belief.
6.20.2008 3:49pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@Dave N: True. I hope it was clear from my first comment that my argument was based on the correlation between being evangelical and holding certain beliefs, nothing more. That, of course, is also what a question about one's prejudices with regards to evangelicals is really about: the question whether one assumes evangelicals (Catholics, fundamentalists, atheists, ...) tend to have certain beliefs that one finds difficult to understand.
6.20.2008 3:50pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@Calvin Plantinga: I would like to think I'd always support someone's freedom and courage to follow their own intellectual journey, not matter where it may lead.

Still, I can't help but be amused at how much you make it sound like someone who came out as gay:

"During the last semester before I quit the phd program, I finally ended a long intellectual battle and realized I was a conservative/libertarian."
6.20.2008 3:53pm
D Palmer (mail):
Too many comments to read them all, so I'll just throw mine into the mix.

The form of the question may explain the answer.

What is an "Evangelical" Christian? By their very name the "evengelical" Christian is one who evangelizes, proselytizes. E.g the Jehovah's Witnesses and those pesky "Born Again" Christians who persist in telling you about how they were "saved".

Many people, myself included, would associate "Evangelicals" with those who would inject their religious based views of right and wrong into MY life. As such, I find them annoying, and therefor have a negative opinion of them.

I suppose that can fairly be called predudice, but bigotry seems a bit harsh.
6.20.2008 3:53pm
Dave N (mail):
Martinned,

When I mentioned there were intelligent, thoughtful comments from atheists, I was certainly including yours.
6.20.2008 3:54pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
only Evangelical Christians regularly attempt to insert their agenda into academia via litigation. The forays by too many school boards to mention pushing Creationism

School board elections and meetings are not litigation. I would guess that secular humanists sue Christians more than vice-versa.

Prayer in the schools, SSM, abortion, bans on creationism, etc have usually involved litigation by godless atheistic communists pushing their totalitarian designs progressive civil liberties groups using their right of access to the courts. In fact even Christian victories like Dale were won in litigation commenced by the Great Enemy State of New Jersey.

Christian legal aggression in Schivo, or to overturn the drunken philandering child abuser's Gavin Newsom's unlawful marriage license grants have been the exception rather than the rule.
6.20.2008 3:58pm
Dave N (mail):
D Palmer,

There are different forms of evangelism. The Evangelical Lutheran Church, for example, is a liberal Protestant denomination--and I think it defines "evangelism" in a way very different from the way most people on this thread are.

If someone "gets in your face" about anything, whether it be sports, religion, or politics, that makes that person "obnoxious"--but I do not equate "evangelism" with "obnoxiousness," though I suspect there are some on this thread who do.
6.20.2008 3:59pm
bls (mail):
My point is this: now that I have travelled in evangelicalism for years, I can compare it to the leftist circles I knew so well earlier. I have come to the solid conclusion that conservative Christians are far more intellectually tolerant than left atheists/liberals.

But the point of the opening post is that people differentiate between Roman Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity.

It wasn't about a general disparagement of "conservative Christianity." You are changing the subject, IOW.
6.20.2008 4:02pm
yankev (mail):

"For instance, I think that most academics are quite tolerant of conservative Jews." I think you mean "Orthodox" or "observant" Jews, because "conservative Jews" means politically conservative ("Conservative Jews" would mean those who identify with Conservative Judaism, but who are overwhelmingly liberal, in both politics and actual religious practice).
That's why I thought he meant Conservative Jews. In my experience, academic and liberal circles (and this includes the leadership and staff of organizations purporting to serve the Jewish community) often equate Orthodox Judaism with misogyny, superstition and racism. Many have difficulty with the idea that Orthodox Judaism would hold any intellectual or emotional appeal to a modern, college educated American with a professional degree raised in a non-Orthodox home with educated parents
and grandparents, or that Orthodox women are not oppressed, or that race has nothing to do with who is or is not Jewish.
6.20.2008 4:03pm
Dave N (mail):
Duncan Frissell,

I realize there was a bit of sarcasm in your post--but two quick points about Dale. 1) New Jersey did not initiate the litigation, Mr. Dale did. New Jersey merely sought certiorari in the Supreme Court. 2) Dale was not a religious case.

No attempt to hijack the thread--just clarifying. Now back to our regularly scheduled discussion food fight.
6.20.2008 4:04pm
Dave N (mail):
When I said New Jersey, I meant the Boy Scouts. My apologies to both residents of New Jersey and the Boys Scouts of America.
6.20.2008 4:07pm
bls (mail):
"There are different forms of evangelism. The Evangelical Lutheran Church, for example, is a liberal Protestant denomination--and I think it defines "evangelism" in a way very different from the way most people on this thread are. "

But ELCA Lutherans don't generally refer to themselves as "Evangelicals"-with-a-capital-"E." And many are "liberal" politically.

Anyway, all Christians are supposed to evangelize; "Evangelicals" really has referred, in modern parlance, to a certain group of people. (And there are politically leftish "Evangelicals," too; there just aren't very many of them yet.)

It's really more about the culture wars, actually, than anything else, I think.
6.20.2008 4:11pm
Zywicki (mail):
A number of people have made the point that it is perfectly reasonable for academics to have an unfavorable view of Evangelical Christians in light of their negative views toward evolution or science. Perhaps that is right for biologists, but does that explain the apparent distrust or hostility from English or French Professors? The study doesn't break the respondents out by subject-area, but I don't know that there is any reason to assume that English Professors have a more favorable view toward religious-believers generally or Evangelicals specifically (although the study reports that they are marginally more religious).

To put the matter another way--if Evangelicals opposed evolution, but generally supported gay marriage, feminism, environmentalism, and redistributive policies, would we expect that they would still be seen unfavorably by 53% of academics? Perhaps--but I'd frankly doubt it. If that is the case, then it seems that any "anti-science" bias only explains a small part of academic's hostility.

Dave N--I note your point that there is a difference between "Evangelical" and "Fundamentalist," which is plainly correct. Still another, perhaps distinguishable concept is generic "Born Again Christian" which may overlap with the other terms, but not necessarily. Nonetheless, they are typically lumped together as a matter of public perception and discussion. Which, of course, says something about the fact base on which those perceptions are based.
6.20.2008 4:21pm
wfjag:
L.A.:

I was responding to Elliot, and what I believe to be a common misunderstanding of intellectual history and the evolution of the theory of evolution.

Darwin didn't spring, whole, from the head of Zeus. Still, it is interesting to see where he started when considering where he ended.
6.20.2008 4:25pm
martinned (mail) (www):
@Prof. Zywicki: Clearly disapproval of evangelical christianity's "moral" teachings is part of the story. I ventured that another part is that those who trade in evidence, which is most academics, not just biologists, find it difficult to understand why an intelligent person would let revelation trump scientific evidence. No reason to assume this wouldn't apply to English Professors, too.

Well, to some extent. One would expect this logic to apply particularly in hard sciences and social sciences, i.e. those academics that use numbers and statistical tests to verify their hypotheses. I think I read somewhere that the only part of academia that is even more irreligious and/or suspicious of religion than biologists is sociologist. So there you go. (I could try to find my source for that, if anyone cares.)
6.20.2008 4:26pm
Zywicki (mail):
Oh yeah, also keep in mind that the main point of the post was to discuss the general attitude toward religion points raised by Hills, Ilya, and Eugene and to do a little on-the-fly hypothesis testing. My invocation of the Evangelical point was not intended to suggest that such views were unreasonable or not, but simply to illustrate the heterogeneity of responses to different religious beliefs, and to try to discern what that might say about Ilya and Eugene's hypotheses.

I didn't mean to prompt a particular discussion about the reasonableness of the various negative attitudes toward different religious beliefs!
6.20.2008 4:34pm
Suzy (mail):
This is simply embarrassing. The Gross and Simmons study has its shortcomings, but it does indicate that the majority of academics believe in God, and of those, nearly 20% call themselves "Born-Again Christians". In other words, at least 10% of faculty members self-identify as born-again Christians. Those numbers are about 20-25% in the general public, depending on which study you look at. "Born-again" tends to be an even narrower term than Evangelical, too.

How is it, then, that most faculty members supposedly know no Evangelicals, and thus are motivated by sheer bigotry in their negative attitudes? All they have to do is show up at work, and they will find at least one in ten of their colleagues is a born-again Christian!

Why are faculty members unlikely to be informed about the beliefs held by Evangelicals, Mormons, Buddhists, and others? Is this just wild, unsupported speculation, designed to fit the pat conclusion that negative attitudes towards Evangelicals must be motivated by bigotry? Really, I expect better from "academics" who have so many degrees.
6.20.2008 4:34pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
What is an "Evangelical" Christian? By their very name the "evengelical" Christian is one who evangelizes, proselytizes. E.g the Jehovah's Witnesses and those pesky "Born Again" Christians who persist in telling you about how they were "saved".
Well, the term "evangelical Christians" is used to refer to a particular movement/variety of (often nondenominational) Protestantism defined by particular theological doctrines and social practices. The doctrines include a particular theory of salvation (by faith alone, where faith is about accepting particular theological doctrines), Biblical interpretation (Genesis means special creation, the Bible is a historical document, Revelation includes a Rapture), a theory of who's a Christian (only them and maybe other conservative Protestants: Mormons, Catholics, and liberal Christians aren't Christians at all), etc. Though not all evangelicals believe all those things (accepting Catholics as legitimate Christians is much more popular these days).

It's kind of like how "antisemitic" means "bigotry towards Jews" rather than "bigotry towards Semites".
6.20.2008 4:38pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
wfjag, William Paley was an Anglican, not an evangelical Protestant, and thus his alleged indirect contributions to modern biology cannot be cited as support for the thesis that we owe modern science to evangelical Protestantism.
6.20.2008 4:43pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
Some readers have taken issue with my use of the term "bigotry." I used that term to try to capture the flavor of the response that Rick Hills heard in his friend's remark--"the academic’s irrational fear of, or intense discomfort around, theist and, in particular, Christian, beliefs." The flavor of the remark is that the friend had a negative prejudice against Christians such that he or she was surprised to learn that the person in question was a Christian. This is functionally no different from meeting someone who is inconsistent with one's negative stereotypical prejudices of a racial or ethnic group. I think the correct word to apply to that prejudice is "bigotry," but if there is a different word, then please suggest the correct word. I think that the term must be freighted with greater normative implications than I intended, as I intended it to be used descriptively, not normatively.
Do you really think accusing someone of having an "'irrational fear'", or saying that a negative reaction to someone because of "negative stereotypical prejudices of a racial or ethnic group" is a purely descriptive claim?

I could believe that you had a tremendous brain-fart, or that you are somehow ignorant of the use of the word "bigotry." Perhaps you are not a native speaker of English? But when you purport to renounce the normative implicatures inherent in a harshly accusatory term by claiming you meant it "descriptively" and then define what you meant in different terms only marginally less normative and accusatory than the first one, the backtracking becomes very difficult to believe.
6.20.2008 4:56pm
Randy R. (mail):
Its funny. In another thread here at VC, there was recently a VERY heated debate about how Christians should have the right to discriminate against gays based upon their freedom of religion and freedom of association rights.
Many people argued that if they rented apartments, they should have the right to deny kick out gay people from the apartment, or if they had a gay person employed, to fire him.
They also -- very forcefully -- argued that if they operate a business, they should have the right to deny service to gay people. They also defended pharmacists from filling prescriptions they didn't approve of, or even selling condoms in a drug store.

So what gives here? Christians want respect from everyone, and they want to be able to discriminate against anyone they dislike, but then they are upset when people hold them in contempt for doing just that?

Again, it amazes me when people think they can treat others very badly, and then are upset when that fact is pointed out to them.
6.20.2008 4:56pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
This might just be me. The biggest problem I have with evangelicals is that I find their view of Hell to be extremely horrific and disturbing. They use the same critic of atheism: Oh how horrible this would be if it were true. The notion that the overwhelming majority of humanity when they die will be consigned to a horrible place because they didn't get their theology right is I'd say as bad as the worst militant fundamentalist Islam has to offer.
6.20.2008 5:08pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):
And by the way, this doesn't make me have an unfavorable view of evangelicals. Some of the most wonderful people I've met are evangelicals (and also btw, while I don't doubt their fervent faith in Christ, I sometimes wonder if they really do believe in such on eternal damnation). It's just aspects of their theology that I have a big problem with.

My next door neighbor growing up is an evangelical -- though I'm not sure how "hard line" she is. Her two favorite TV preachers are Billy Graham and Robert Schuller. But she is one of the kindest people I know; my "favorable" opinion of her is off the charts.
6.20.2008 5:11pm
whit:

Homosexuals--See any recent news item on resistance to gay marriage, which at bottom can only be (1) a bigoted stance based on loathing for homos or (2) a greedy stance based on not wanting one's own insurance premiums to rise.



i constantly see this rubbish repeated. Disclaimer: i support gay marriage.

there are all kinds of reasons to not support gay marriage, many of which have NOTHING to do with "loathing for homos" as you so eloquently put it, or insurance premiums issues.

just like many don't support polygamy, despite the fact that they don't loathe polygamists.

if anybody's a bigot,it's those who assume that those who disagree with a political stance do so for reasons of "loathing" a group.
6.20.2008 5:14pm
genob:

So what gives here? Christians want respect from everyone, and they want to be able to discriminate against anyone they dislike, but then they are upset when people hold them in contempt for doing just that?


So who exactly is "them"...Sure, some Christians wouldn't want to rent an apartment to a gay couple or fire a gay employee...And some posters here think those individuals ought to be free to do so.

But haven't you kind of made the point of this post? Because some Christians might feel that way, you immediately refer to "them" and assume or imply that all or most Christians don't want to rent you an apartment. That's of course ridiculous, yet your prejudice immediately leads you to suspect anyone who is a Christian of having that point of view...Kind of the defintion of prejudice?
6.20.2008 5:20pm
bls (mail):
"So what gives here? Christians want respect from everyone, and they want to be able to discriminate against anyone they dislike, but then they are upset when people hold them in contempt for doing just that?"

Well, yes. It's pretty much like this.
6.20.2008 5:42pm
MIke (mail) (www):
"It's adorable how you carefully avoid mentioning the religious bigotry shown by such a large number of your commenters in related posts.:

The fact is the only contemporary religious groups that can be treated poorly and insulted in Catholics (I am one) and Evangelical. Though Jews are quickly being brought to the front.
6.20.2008 5:48pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):

Is it really bigotry to have a poor opinion of people who either burn crosses into the arms of public school children or who make excuses for those who do?


No, but it is to assume that every Christian, or every evangelical Christian, would do so because some few did.
6.20.2008 5:51pm
rrm (mail):
You're allowed to hate me because of what a few of my peers think about the origins of the earth or hell? How delightfully tolerant you are! So high-minded, you of the tut-tutting class. As one who is ABD and about to enter your field, you all scare me. You're narrower than the people you hate, believe me.

"Again, it amazes me when people think they can treat others very badly, and then are upset when that fact is pointed out to them."

Of course, you're looking in a mirror too. Clean it off so you can see yourself more clearly. And really, how widespread are your extremes? You pulled your view of an entire group of people from what some commenters responded to in a blog post? Wow.
6.20.2008 5:55pm
LM (mail):
SIG357:

I've never met a Marxist academic in my life.

Look in the mirror sometime.

Is this bigoted or just ad hominem?
6.20.2008 5:57pm
bls (mail):
BTW, it's not only academics who think this. According to a recent Barna survey (and Barna is a conservative Evangelical himself, I do believe):


Majorities of young people in America describe modern-day Christianity as judgmental, hypocritical and anti-gay. What's more, many Christians don't even want to call themselves "Christian" because of the baggage that accompanies the label.

....

The findings were based on surveys of a sample of 867 young people. From that total, researchers reported responses from 440 non-Christians and 305 active churchgoers.

The vast majority of non-Christians — 91% — said Christianity had an anti-gay image, followed by 87% who said it was judgmental and 85% who said it was hypocritical.
6.20.2008 6:02pm
LM (mail):

I note your point that there is a difference between "Evangelical" and "Fundamentalist," which is plainly correct. Still another, perhaps distinguishable concept is generic "Born Again Christian" which may overlap with the other terms, but not necessarily. Nonetheless, they are typically lumped together as a matter of public perception and discussion.

Kind of like "Marxist," "leftist," "liberal," and "European."
6.20.2008 6:03pm
LM (mail):
Elliot Reed:

Evangelical Protestantism gave us biology and physics departments? Evangelical Protestantism of the type practiced in the U.S. is an invention of the 19th Century. It didn't even exist when modern scientific physics came into existence.

Maybe according to your geological calendar. But on the 6,000 year time line, physics was developed this morning. :)
6.20.2008 6:15pm
bls (mail):
Here's more from the Barna survey:


Such views were held by smaller percentages of the active churchgoers, but the faith still did not fare well: 80% agreed with the anti-gay label, 52% said Christianity is judgmental, and 47% declared it hypocritical.

Kinnaman said one of the biggest surprises for researchers was the extent to which respondents — one in four non-Christians — said that modern-day Christianity was no longer like Jesus.

"It started to become more clear to us that what they're experiencing related to Christianity is some of the very things that Jesus warned religious people about," he said. "Which is, avoiding removing the log from your own eye before trying to take the speck out of someone else's."

Kinnaman said some Christians — including those in the entertainment industry — preferred to call themselves "followers of Jesus" or "apprentices of Christ" because the word "Christian" could limit their ability to relate to people. Even Kinnaman, 33, described himself as "a committed Christ follower," though he has called himself a Christian in the past.
6.20.2008 6:23pm
BarryD (mail):

views that have had no scientific credibility for 150 years


149
6.20.2008 6:41pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Todd Zywicki, et al.
RE: Projection, Anyone?

"....I suspect that many academics would say that their negative stereotypes are justified because they have formed a perception that Christians are "hateful" people intent on imposing a theocracy on the United States." -- Todd Zywicki

I think you're spot-on here. And that these people, these 'academics' are projecting their own natures on people they don't even know.

I tell you the truth....if anyone calls himself an 'evangelical' and has hatred in his heart for his neighbor....he's telling a lie about himself. Christ tells those who listen to him, i.e., REAL evangelicals to love their neighbor, as they love themselves. So someone who hates his neighbor is not following what Christ demands.

These 'academics' on the other hand, have no ordinance, no command telling them to love their neighbor. Therefore, they're free, in their own mind, to hate those they do not understand, or don't want to understand. Let alone their 'neighbor'.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[A tree is known by its fruit. -- some Wag, around 2000 years ago]
6.20.2008 8:08pm
David Walser:
Its funny. In another thread here at VC, there was recently a VERY heated debate about how Christians should have the right to discriminate against gays based upon their freedom of religion and freedom of association rights.
Many people argued that if they rented apartments, they should have the right to deny kick out gay people from the apartment, or if they had a gay person employed, to fire him.
They also -- very forcefully -- argued that if they operate a business, they should have the right to deny service to gay people. They also defended pharmacists from filling prescriptions they didn't approve of, or even selling condoms in a drug store.


Full stop. Isn't there a difference between what should be considered legal and what should be considered proper? For example, I think a landlord should be able to refuse to rent to gays. I also think the landlord would be wrong to do so. Is this view reflective of my intolerance or disrespect of homosexuals? I don't think so. Rather, my view reflects my understanding of the proper bounds of governmental power. At bottom, it's a libertarian (small 'l')view.
6.20.2008 8:11pm
TheProudDuck (www):
"and 85% who said it was hypocritical."

Idiots.

By the conventional (though incorrect) definition of "hypocritical" as "falling short of one's ideals," then anyone who has any principles at all -- or at least, anyone who has the effrontery to speak of them -- is a hypocrite.
6.20.2008 8:14pm
bls (mail):
"Idiots.

By the conventional (though incorrect) definition of "hypocritical" as "falling short of one's ideals," then anyone who has any principles at all -- or at least, anyone who has the effrontery to speak of them -- is a hypocrite.
"

Yes, yes, yes. Now explain away the rest. And while you're at it, explain why the fastest-growing segment of the population is the "unchurched."

Listen, if Evangelical Christians don't want to pay attention to what people actually think of them, I couldn't care less. That works out much better for me personally, matter of fact, and much better for the faith in the long run, too.
6.20.2008 8:20pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: TheProudDuck
RE: Hypocrisy, a Digression

"By the conventional (though incorrect) definition of "hypocritical" as "falling short of one's ideals," then anyone who has any principles at all -- or at least, anyone who has the effrontery to speak of them -- is a hypocrite." -- TheProudDuck

Actually, I think your concept is more like a working definition of 'sin'.

Hypocrisy, as I understand it is deliberately doing the opposite of what you say you do. E.g., I love my neighbor and then destroying their property.

All people sin. The difference between sin and hypocrisy lies in mens rea.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Where there is no religion, hypocrisy becomes good taste.]
6.20.2008 8:22pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: TheProudDuck
RE: No Sooner Said....

"Listen, if Evangelical Christians don't want to pay attention to what people actually think of them, I couldn't care less." -- bls

...then voila! [Note: Please pardon my french.]

BLS claims he doesn't care. But based on his activity here, one would get the distinct impression he's lying. Therefore, hypocrisy, right before your very eyes.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[You can't make this stuff up.....]
6.20.2008 8:24pm
bls (mail):
(Or did you think that calling people "idiots" was an effective means of evangelism?

Actually, now that I think of it: it only goes to demonstrate explicitly why the results of the survey were what they were. So thanks for that!)
6.20.2008 8:24pm
bls (mail):
(That would be, "....based on her activity here," Chuck, and "....she's lying."

Just an FYI.)
6.20.2008 8:32pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: bls
RE: Can't Speak....

"(That would be, "....based on her activity here," Chuck, and "....she's lying." " -- bls

...to whether or not she's lying. I'm just pointing out that, if you're right about 'her', you're really not much different than she is in YOUR 'hypocrisy', as I see it.

Hope that helps...but...well...you know....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Oh what tangled webs they weave.....]
6.20.2008 8:35pm
LM (mail):
Chuck Pelto:

TO: Todd Zywicki, et al.
RE: Projection, Anyone?

"....I suspect that many academics would say that their negative stereotypes are justified because they have formed a perception that Christians are "hateful" people intent on imposing a theocracy on the United States." -- Todd Zywicki

I think you're spot-on here. And that these people, these 'academics' are projecting their own natures on people they don't even know.

Of course what you're agreeing with is only TZ's suspicion of what those academics believe justifies their biases. Nonetheless, I agree that the flaw in that belief (assuming it's what they do in fact believe) is that none of us knows what's in anyone else's head or heart. And yet you go on to say,

[...] they're free, in their own mind, to hate those they do not understand, or don't want to understand. Let alone their 'neighbor'.

Irony, anyone?
6.20.2008 8:42pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: LM
RE: Did....

"Of course what you're agreeing with is only TZ's suspicion of what those academics believe justifies their biases. Nonetheless, I agree that the flaw in that belief (assuming it's what they do in fact believe) is that none of us knows what's in anyone else's head or heart." -- LM

....I say otherwise? If so, where?

RE: Going On From There

"And yet you go on to say,


[...] they're free, in their own mind, to hate those they do not understand, or don't want to understand. Let alone their 'neighbor'.


Irony, anyone?" -- LM

Where is the 'irony' in your out-of-context observation?

I'll wager dollars to donuts that the vast majority of people dissing Christians here have little knowledge, let alone understanding of what they're talking about.

But I could be wrong. And maybe you could help prove me so.

Here's a question....what did Christ REALLY mean when He said, "You cannot put new wine into old skins."

Then again, I could very well be correct. My dealings with college professors indicate that my 'suspicions' are well founded in experience. Let alone surveys such as the one Todd is citing.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Know your enemy and know yourself and you shall never be defeated. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War]

P.S. So....tell us, LM, how well versed are you in that Old Book your 'enemies' read so often?
6.20.2008 10:21pm
Randy R. (mail):
" Isn't there a difference between what should be considered legal and what should be considered proper? "

Yes, there is. However, these people were not making that disctiontion. If you don't believe me, go read them yourself -- I believe they are still there.

And no, I wasn't refering to all Christians, just those who called themselves Christians and stated that they have the right to open a business and refuse to cater to gays. That should have seemed obvious.
6.20.2008 11:28pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

The irony of claiming to know the mind of those you criticize for allegedly claiming to know yours is, I believe, obvious. And it's reinforced by your erroneous claim that I consider Evangelical Christians my "enemies." As for how well versed I am in scripture? Hardly.
6.21.2008 1:34am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

In other words, at least 10% of faculty members self-identify as born-again Christians. Those numbers are about 20-25% in the general public, depending on which study you look at. "Born-again" tends to be an even narrower term than Evangelical, too.

How is it, then, that most faculty members supposedly know no Evangelicals, and thus are motivated by sheer bigotry in their negative attitudes? All they have to do is show up at work, and they will find at least one in ten of their colleagues is a born-again Christian!
Unless fear is keeping a lot of their mouths shut. One of my professors when I was in grad school was, in most respects, a perfectly doctrinaire academic. She was a feminist when she completed her Ph.D.--at a time when universities still advertised that they were looking to hire a MAN. She was fairly liberal in her politics. But in her 50s, she started attending church. And she let this slip in her department--and soon found herself subjected to ribbing from her colleagues about this. It didn't quite rise to the level of harassment, but she certainly regretted admitting her kinkiness about this.

My guess is that there are a lot evangelical Christians, as the surveys suggests, on faculty. But most of them have learned from watching the way that the narrow-minded sorts operate that it would be bad for their career to open their mouths.

I'm sure that far more important than evolutionary concerns on this is homosexuality, which is the new orthodoxy of the academy. Reading the comments here has demonstrated how tremendously important homonormative thought is within the academic community.
6.21.2008 2:21am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Full stop. Isn't there a difference between what should be considered legal and what should be considered proper?
In the homonormative culture of academy, there is no difference.
6.21.2008 2:23am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Yes, I've noticed the rightward lurch of the Catholic Church in recent years, too - and I really do think it's because of a new alliance with Evangelicalism.
You suppose it might be because the core values of Christianity are now under full assault, such as the California Supreme Court's overturning of state law defining marriage as one man, one woman? Remember that when the California Supreme Court struck down the interracial marriage ban some decades back, it was with the with strong support of the Catholic Church, which correctly recognized (as did most Protestant churches), that interracial marriage bans were contrary to Christian doctrine.
6.21.2008 2:30am
David Walser:
" Isn't there a difference between what should be considered legal and what should be considered proper? "

Yes, there is. However, these people were not making that disctiontion. If you don't believe me, go read them yourself -- I believe they are still there.

And no, I wasn't refering to all Christians, just those who called themselves Christians and stated that they have the right to open a business and refuse to cater to gays. [italics added] That should have seemed obvious. -- Randy R


Not to put too fine a point on it, but, in those other comment threads, I might have been one of those Christians who claimed he should have the right to open a business and refuse to cater to gays (or anyone else). I would not have argued I do have such a right (under current law) nor would I ever dream of exercising such a right. My only reason for stressing this distinction is that many seem to equate my position -- that proper limits on government should prevent the government from regulating this area -- with bigotry towards gays (or one or more other groups). I don't believe it is bigotry (because I also believe gays -- or anyone else -- should have a similar right under law to discriminate against the members of my own group (however defined)). (I'm noticing an over fondness of parentheticals this morning.)

Of course, some do define my position as bigotry. In such a case, I believe the definition of the term has been stretched too far to have any real meaning.
6.21.2008 8:26am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

" Isn't there a difference between what should be considered legal and what should be considered proper? "

Yes, there is. However, these people were not making that disctiontion. If you don't believe me, go read them yourself -- I believe they are still there.
Randy is upset because some people believe that what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business, and it doesn't matter if it is sodomy, employment, or photography.

A government powerful enough to tell you who to hire is powerful enough to tell you who you can have sex with as well. Randy R. wants a government that powerful--but then expects the majority to forget about that power.
6.21.2008 8:46am
bls (mail):
"You suppose it might be because the core values of Christianity are now under full assault, such as the California Supreme Court's overturning of state law defining marriage as one man, one woman? Remember that when the California Supreme Court struck down the interracial marriage ban some decades back, it was with the with strong support of the Catholic Church, which correctly recognized (as did most Protestant churches), that interracial marriage bans were contrary to Christian doctrine."

If that's what it is, I fail to understand why Christians, of all people, should worry about it. Christians are to be in the world, but not of the world, remember?

Why are Christians getting so bent out of shape because the other people want to do something that contradicts their personal religious morality? Nobody's stopping you from restricting religious marriage to "one man and one woman." From listening to you, one would think that Christianity is the state religion or something. Nobody else needs to worry that you feel your religious values are "under assault." Perception is not reality, and this is not a theocracy.

You're going to lose the argument because people don't agree that this is any of your business. Also because most people realize that banning civil partnership between gay people is exactly the same sort of thing as banning interracial marriage. The Catholic Church is on the wrong side of this, actually - which is part of the "pro" argument, too.
6.21.2008 9:03am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

If that's what it is, I fail to understand why Christians, of all people, should worry about it. Christians are to be in the world, but not of the world, remember?

Why are Christians getting so bent out of shape because the other people want to do something that contradicts their personal religious morality? Nobody's stopping you from restricting religious marriage to "one man and one woman." From listening to you, one would think that Christianity is the state religion or something. Nobody else needs to worry that you feel your religious values are "under assault." Perception is not reality, and this is not a theocracy.
There are two separate issues here.

1. What should be the government's definition of marriage?

2. Should the government have the power to force you to associate with someone whose actions you find immoral?

Homosexuals are intent on #2--which creates serious right of conscience problems for many people with traditional notions of sexual morality (by no means limited to Christians).

You're going to lose the argument because people don't agree that this is any of your business. Also because most people realize that banning civil partnership between gay people is exactly the same sort of thing as banning interracial marriage. The Catholic Church is on the wrong side of this, actually - which is part of the "pro" argument, too.
And yet most Americans clearly do not agree that homosexuality is equivalent to race--or they wouldn't object to calling this marriage.

Now, you are right: you are almost certainly going to win, because homosexuals worship the government and its power (as long as they control it). But that doesn't make it right.
6.21.2008 9:19am
bls (mail):
No, we're going to win because the next generation doesn't have the problems with homosexuality that the previous ones did. It doesn't see what the big deal is. It won't even be an issue in another 20 years, and government won't have to "force" anybody.

It's interesting, BTW, that the Catholic Church doesn't attempt to intrude when it comes to divorce; why isn't it up in arms and trying to get the laws changed so that divorce is forbidden everywhere and at all times? Hmmm, let me see if I can think why that might be....
6.21.2008 9:45am
Randy R. (mail):
Clayton: "Randy is upset because some people believe that what consenting adults do in private is none of the government's business, and it doesn't matter if it is sodomy, employment, or photography. "

No, I agree that it isn't the gov't's business. However, I also believe that if you open a restaurant, you should serve everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation, creed and so on. Most American think that way as well. If you don't like those rules, don't open a restaurant. Or open a 'whites-only private restaurant"

"A government powerful enough to tell you who to hire is powerful enough to tell you who you can have sex with as well. Randy R. wants a government that powerful--but then expects the majority to forget about that power."

No government should tell you who you have to hire. But that is quite a bit different from a gov't telling you that you cannot discriminate in your hiring practices. Today, there is no gov't that tells you that you must hire a particular person. But on the other hand, you can't use as a reason for NOT hiring a person the fact that he is black. There is a difference, subtle, I agree, but one that most people can grasp.
6.21.2008 10:46am
Suzy (mail):

My guess is that there are a lot evangelical Christians, as the surveys suggests, on faculty. But most of them have learned from watching the way that the narrow-minded sorts operate that it would be bad for their career to open their mouths.


If this is true, it's a serious problem, but how do we know if it's true?
6.21.2008 10:58am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: LM
RE: Oh, the Irony!

"The irony of claiming to know the mind of those you criticize for allegedly claiming to know yours is, I believe, obvious." -- LM

Apparently not.

I'm citing the survey and personal experience with people in positions of authority in the academic world who go ballistic when you mention Christianity or Conservative.

Most reasonably prudent individuals, at least the honest ones, would accept such evidence and recognize it. Then there are the other types. They hide behind obfuscation and equivocation. I'm sure you recognize them.

RE: Really?

"And it's reinforced by your erroneous claim that I consider Evangelical Christians my "enemies." -- LM

What was I saying about obfuscation? I think I've seen your comments around here before, and they did not remind me of anyone who considers Christians, I mean the REAL ones, your 'friend'.

Or are you calling me a liar? Is that the act of a 'friend'?

RE: Know Your Enemy....

"As for how well versed I am in scripture? Hardly." -- LM

....as being 'ignorant'. And apparently proud of it too.

How can you possibly hope to convince a christian that their conduct is wrong or in error if you can't condemn them with their own reference book?

The simple answer is you can't because all you have to fall back on is your pejorative ignorance. But with a bit of education you could actually convict a christian in his own heart of his errors and cause him to reflect and change his ways.

But I guess that would require you actually LEARN something about christianity. And that would destroy your pleasure in just beating up on them.

I've seen it all too often in the past. You're just another example of it.

Hope that helps....but....well.....you know.....

Good-bye.....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Stupidity, n., Ignorant and proud of it.]
6.21.2008 11:57am
griefer (mail):
Hmm..i read through the thread an it seems that most are missing the point, altho one commenter touched on it with proselytization, which both evangelical christians and mormons carry to extremes. I would be interested to see separate stats on Charismatic Catholics, who also proselytize.

The reason that these groups are the target of hostility, is that they want to tell us what to think, what to believe. About sex, science, abortion, samesex marriage, and culture in general.
Jews don't proselytize.
The forced introduction of IDT into science classes is an attempt to force their beliefs on the rest of us.
Ditto legislation about abortion or samesex marriage.

I think the dislike scale among academics probably correlates negatively with amount of proselytization of the particular faith.
6.21.2008 12:30pm
griefer (mail):
that is, the more a particular group proselytizes, the more they are disliked by academics, who all should and likely do value freedom of thought as their greatest good.
6.21.2008 12:34pm
griefer (mail):
Ilya's thesis applies in that politics becomes a proxy for telling us (academics) what to think through legislation.
6.21.2008 12:39pm
griefer (mail):
Probably Mormons and evangelical xians would peg at about the same place on proselytiztion, which is the act of telling others what they should believe. Evangelical xians would score higher on politcal involvment....perhaps that is why they generate more dislike than mormons, even tho it is unlikely most academics have met many of either, unless they teach in Utah.
;)
6.21.2008 12:44pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

Or are you calling me a liar?

Not at all, but you certainly implied that I am.

Is that the act of a 'friend'?

Not in my book.

"As for how well versed I am in scripture? Hardly." -- LM

....as being 'ignorant'. And apparently proud of it too.

Sorry, wrong again. But don't let that undermine your confidence that you can read minds.
6.21.2008 1:08pm
LM (mail):
Clarification:

Not at all, but you certainly implied that I am one.
6.21.2008 1:41pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: LM
RE: Liar

Did I imply it? Sorry. Maybe I should have been more forthright.

I think you're a politically correct liar about matters relating to this subject. And I don't deal with liars. It's a waste of time and effort. Let alone band-width.

Good-bye....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Surely a lie is the greatest of all social evils. Whenever someone lies, they strike at the very fabric of society.]
6.21.2008 2:49pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: griefer
RE: Tell Us About It

“The reason that these groups are the target of hostility, is that they want to tell us what to think, what to believe. About sex, science, abortion, samesex marriage, and culture in general.” -- griefer

And you think the academics don’t do such? How very ‘odd’.

“...it seems that most are missing the point, altho one commenter touched on it with proselytization, which both evangelical christians and mormons carry to extremes.” -- griefer

What’s ‘extreme’ proselytization? I know of one group going about today that hold a dull knife to your throat. But they aren’t christians. Nor are they mormons. Let alone Jews.

I’ve had mormons come to my house to tell me about God. They were rather polite and when I asked them to leave, they politely left. Is that ‘extremism’? Or are you...uh....’exaggerating’?

Tell us about YOUR encounters with ‘extremists’ coming to you and telling you about God. Were they armed? With what? What form of torture did they inflict upon you? Anything like some lectures I slept through in college?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Professor, n., One who talks in other peoples’ sleep.]
6.21.2008 3:42pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. Revisiting that business about proselytizing....

....I think Ilya Somin is correct; that ANY conservative thinkers bear the umbrage and hostility of the majority of academic's. We've seen enough reports to indicate this. And christian religious belief just adds gasoline to their ire.

Seriously. I triggered one such outburst from a professor last year. It became obvious, in the course of a conference that this prof didn't care for Republicans. During a break I asked a question of them about christians. At which point they went totally ballistic, swearing and spitting a hissy-fit while the other five people in the immediate vicinity looked on aghast.

After about 30 seconds of vitriol and abusive language, I looked behind their back and asked, "Where's the off or volume control?" This nonplussed them to the point they realized what they'd demonstrated about their alleged 'open-mindedness'.

They've been much more polite in more recent encounters.

Hope that helps.....
6.21.2008 3:52pm
griefer (mail):
chuckie-the-killerdoll

hehe, i am merely referrin to the emphasis placed on proselytization by particualr religions. I havent done the study, but i do know evangelical xians and mormons both proselytize and fund missionariism to a greater degree than the other faiths mentioned. For example, Jews do not proselytize at all.
and proselytization is basically the act of telling people what to think.

academics, it is their job to teach, and their clients (ie students) have paid to have them teach based on some ideal of superior knowledge in a particular domain.
not the same thing at all.
6.21.2008 3:56pm
griefer (mail):
For example, homosexuality.
Homosexuality is most likely a natural variant on the spectrum of human sexuality, or it would died out long ago in the EEA (environment of evolutionary advantage).
However, the anti-samesex marriage screed of evangelical xians is an attempt to push their religious values (ie, homosexuality is evil) into legislation.
6.21.2008 4:01pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
griefer,

I realize it’s a debating ploy to assume that yours is the mainstream position and the opposition is a fringe, but you may want to make a note of the fact that homosexual marriage is limited to a few jurisdictions imposed by judicial fiat.

So, it’s your position that is attempting to force your values on to an unwilling public. Christians here are in the mainstream.

Your cabal is pushing your radical values. And in doing so you are also demonizing your opposition. That, my friend, is unhealthy.
6.21.2008 4:29pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: griefer
RE: Such Freedom

"academics, it is their job to teach, and their clients (ie students) have paid to have them teach based on some ideal of superior knowledge in a particular domain. " -- griefer

So. Only academics can proselytize. No one else can teach anything to anyone.

How niiiice.....

Sorry. But your concept is in violation of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, i.e., Freedom of Speech.

I didn't realize that you hated this country so much. But thanks for informing me.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The truth will out.]
6.21.2008 4:35pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
P.S. And if you REALLY feel that way, that only academics can 'teach', you should shut your own mouth, unless you're certified by some academic certificating authority. Otherwise, you're a classic example of a hypocrite.
6.21.2008 4:37pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

I think you're a politically correct liar about matters relating to this subject. And I don't deal with liars. It's a waste of time and effort. Let alone band-width.

Good-bye....

You might want to consider using the time you'll save, not corresponding with me, to read the comment policy.
6.21.2008 6:03pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: LM
RE: Really?

"You might want to consider using the time you'll save, not corresponding with me, to read the comment policy." -- LM

Is there a policy that says we should not speak our honestly held opinions? Besides. I do believe I've seen worse statements than saying, "I think you're a _________." I've seen people actually declare someone a _________. Not couching it in terms of "I think".

Again, sir....vaya con Dios....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
6.21.2008 6:06pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

Is there a policy that says we should not speak our honestly held opinions?

Only those excluded by the comment policy.

Besides. I do believe I've seen worse statements than saying, "I think you're a _________."

So have I. What does that have to do with it?
6.21.2008 6:17pm
AST (mail):
There is plenty of bigotry among various fundamentalist groups against academics, as well. The biggest problem with academia, as I see it, is its lack of political and religious diversity. Intolerance begets more intolerance in return.

Too much polarity is bad for society and political correctness as it has developed on college campuses strikes me as highly ironic given the results of the Free Speech movements on the sixties and seventies. The only sense I see tolerance of free speech on the left is its tolerance of profanity, obscenity and incivility towards anyone who doesn't accept its dogmas.
6.21.2008 7:00pm
griefer (mail):
moneyrunner,
culture evolves.
if i may quote carpenter, on this very blog--

“Instead of gay marriage causing a collision, both gay marriage and religious conflicts with antidiscrimination law are themselves the product of a much larger trend that is moving the tectonic plates of our culture. That trend is the increasingly common view that homosexuality is a natural and harmless variation of human sexuality, that gay people are entitled to be judged on their merits and not on the basis of outdated opprobrium, and that these beliefs should to a significant degree be reflected in law.”

the times they are a-changing.
6.21.2008 11:47pm
griefer (mail):
chuckie-the-killer-doll

i am not against free speech.
i just formulated a hypothesis that evangelical xians and mormons are disliked more severely by academics because of the more radical proselytization incorporated in those two faiths.
6.21.2008 11:52pm
griefer (mail):
AST

The biggest problem with academia, as I see it, is its lack of political and religious diversity.


unfortunately, vanishingly few top drawer scientists and academics are religious.
there seems to be some sort of strong positive correlation between higher education and atheism.
;)
derbyshire:

Scientists are irreligious. They mostly are. On the broadest definition of "scientist," over 60 percent are unbelievers. Up at the highest levels of achievement, unbelief is wellnigh total, though there are differences between the various scientific disciplines.
6.21.2008 11:59pm
griefer (mail):
also moneyrunner, do you understand what you just said?
that xians should be able to impose their religious values on the rest of us because they are the majority?

Relly, i wonder what the Founders would think of that, coming as they did from recently from being a minority religion radically oppressed by a majority one.
6.22.2008 12:09am
Federal Dog:
"the more they are disliked by academics, who all should and likely do value freedom of thought as their greatest good."


False. There is no more iron-clad groupthink than academic groupthink. Anyone thinking anything that does not confirm to prevailing academic orthodoxy had better keep his mouth sealed.
6.22.2008 8:00am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: griefer
RE: Yeah....Right....

“i am not against free speech.” -- griefer

Your words (above) say otherwise.

“i just formulated a hypothesis that evangelical xians and mormons are disliked more severely by academics because of the more radical proselytization incorporated in those two faiths.” -- griefer

Hardly. You said that christians can’t teach. But that academics can teach. You weren’t ‘formulating a hypothesis’ you were stating your opinion. There’s something of a difference and your current effort at equivocation is futile obfuscation. Typical of so many so-called ‘liberals’ when they realize they’ve been uncovered as nothing more than latter-day fascists.

RE: Unanswered Questions

By the way, you never answered by questions about what is ‘extreme proselytization’. Nor your encounters with people who do such.

Why is that?

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[The field behind rhetoric is oft mined with equivocation and evasive obfuscation.]
6.22.2008 9:10am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: AST
RE: Good Point

"There is plenty of bigotry among various fundamentalist groups against academics, as well." -- AST

I'm certain there is. I'm certain that many Islamists, 'fundamentalists' that they are, despise western academics. They'd much rather have their own form of theocratic ones.

As for the christian variety, I'm sure there are some as well. But, unlike the Islamists, academics CAN use the christian's Rules Of Engagement, as written in that Old Book, to counter their prejudice and hostility...up to the point that SOME academics demonstrate they are really lying about their open-mindedness. Then the real christian will say, "You're a liar and a hypocrite. Of the sort that Christ talked about regarding the Pharasees of His time. I'll have nothing more to do with you." At which point they'll turn the poor sap over to God to deal with. And believe me...God can do a lot more to such than they could.

That's why I don't get angry all that often. I feel sorry for these ignorant-and-proud-of-it people.

RE: Their Big Problem

"The biggest problem with academia, as I see it, is its lack of political and religious diversity." -- AST

I think it comes from over-developed 'pride' in themselves. Pride IS one of the big sins. But being atheists at heart, i.e., each of them is a god unto themselves, they'll never figure it out.

Gods are VERY jealous of their status and do not care to hear those who disagree with them. Hence, they've established a VERY confined echo-chamber in their ivory towers.

RE: Intolerance

"Intolerance begets more intolerance in return." -- AST

There are more significant meanings to that statement than many realize.

[1] There is the face value understanding.
[2] There is the resistance to the intolerance.
[3] There is the build-up of more intolerance when the resistance is met. After all, resistance to intolerance is intolerable; in the eyes of gods. Therefore, it must be crushed.

That's how I see the developments from the elite of academia and the so-called major media. After all, the elite are 'gods' and mere mortals should not be allowed to criticize their gods with impunity.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. -- Winston Churchill]
6.22.2008 9:29am
griefer (mail):
wow, chuckles, what do you suggest?
some token proportion of xians have to hired into academy to address "academic diversity"?
lulz.

instead of your silly "intolerance arguemt" refute my hypoth.
Do you or do you not see a strong correlation between percived religious proselytization by a religion and dislike by academics of that religion?
6.22.2008 10:21am
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: griefer
RE: Oh Boy!

"some token proportion of xians have to hired into academy to address "academic diversity"? " -- griefer

How would academia react to THAT form of 'affirmative action'?

Smell the hypocrisy!

But you're still being evasive and obfuscating and not answering questions. Therefore you're a waste of time and effort.

Good-bye....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Don't bother yourself engaging a fool. It is a waste of time. -- Proverbs (paraphrased)]
6.22.2008 10:27am
griefer (mail):
chuckles, refute my hypoth or stfu.
;)

you are throwing chaff in the radar countermeasures sense.
Zwycki is analyzing the results of a survey.
I am postulating a hypothesis based on the findings in data.
the cause of academic antipathy towards religious sects may be multifactorial.
But it seems to me that percieved degree of proselytization within the religion is a factor.
That would be an interesting study.
;)
6.22.2008 1:56pm
LM (mail):
Chuck,

But you're still being evasive and obfuscating and not answering questions. Therefore you're a waste of time and effort.

Good-bye....

Regards,

Chuck(le)
[Don't bother yourself engaging a fool. It is a waste of time. -- Proverbs (paraphrased)]

Still haven't read the comment policy?
6.22.2008 3:44pm
yankev (mail):

No, we're going to win because the next generation doesn't have the problems with homosexuality that the previous ones did.

From what I can tell, the next generation doesn't have problems with a number of things that previous generations did:

- Killing inconvenient babies.
- Having babies out of wedlock.
- Fathering babies and not supporting them.
- Living together without benefit of marriage.
- Pre-marital and extra marital sex.
- Killing people who are old enough or sick enough to be a burden, or encouraging them to kill themselves.

These things were of course done for millennia, but they were considered by Judeo-Christian society to be shameful. (And long before there were Christians, the ancient Greeks and Romans ridiculed Jews for believing them to be shameful).

In the space of a few decades, we have gone from the belief that such things should not be crimes to the belief that people who do such things should not be criticised, to the belief that people who do criticise such things are shameful. And we are seeing the beginnings of the belief that criticising such things should be a crime.
6.22.2008 5:16pm
Moneyrunner43 (www):
Of Course Polygamy is Next
The Anchoress has put up a post that received a very educated response. The pro-gay marriage cabal has been relying on the fact that there are financial advantages to being a married couple.

That's true.

And once we are in the business of re-defining marriage there is no constitutional reason why the number two should be the limit to the married state; nor the relationship of the people in the marriage so:


Of course polygamy is next. There is now no rational basis for maintaining the prohibition on it.

Soon thereafter, of course, incestuous marriages are quite forseeable, if only as an estate planning device. For example, currently, mega-taxes are imposed on transfers of wealth following death (estate taxes and inheritance taxes), including inter-generational transfers. However, federal and state death tax laws also recognize a marital exemption, allowing the estate to pass to a spouse tax-free.

As such, it would be legal malpractice for a lawyer to not advise widowed spouses to marry their children. By marrying their children, they obtain the benefit of a tax-free transfer via the marital exemption upon the death of the parent/spouse. By not marrying their children, such transfer at death gets taxed.

The fact that they never live together or never have sex is, of course, within the couple’s right to privacy, i.e., none of the government’s business.


I'm going to advise my wife, should she survive me, to marry my son and daughter to avoid the estate tax.
6.22.2008 6:25pm
Chuck Pelto (mail) (www):
TO: Moneyrunner43
RE: Polygamy Or....

"Of course polygamy is next. There is now no rational basis for maintaining the prohibition on it." -- Moneyrunner43

....worse.

I would suspect there would be a push for pedophilia, by lowering the age of consent. It's already:

[1] Being pushed in Britain.
[2] Being supported by articles published in the APA's mouth-piece.

Regards,

Chuck(le)
P.S. Estate Tax dodge....ouch.

I guess incest should be considered another possible option for the new sexual freedom efforts of these people.
6.23.2008 12:15pm