Get Out of Hell Free -- Why Are Our Products So Popular?
Another "symptom" of this impatience was revealed December 3, 2002, by George Barna. Barna is a California-based pollster who specializes in religious beliefs -- the Barna Group is the Gallup Poll of the Christian world. They just did a survey at the request of the American Family Association, and the results are quite telling: the poll asked Americans who don't consider themselves Christian to express their "impression" of 11 groups of people: positive, negative, or in-between? Evangelical Christians rated 10th -- just above prostitutes, and significantly below Republicans, Democrats, lesbians and Movie and TV performers. Even lawyers came in at #7! (Ministers, though, should take comfort: you came in at #2 -- but it was a distant #2 behind military officers, who came in first by far).
Why would these Americans think so little of Evangelical Christians? Look at how they often play out in the media: at the funeral of a man who was beaten to death, some of these "loving Christians" were protesting the services with signs reading "God Hates Queers". (Hint: "hate" is not an example of Christian love.) Were these same people protesting the trial of the murderer? Then there are Christian fundamentalist "leaders" like Jerry Falwell, who raced onto TV two days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to pin the blame for the atrocities not on the terrorists, but rather, as he so lovingly put it, "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen'."
Barna himself draws this conclusion: "Our studies show that many of the people who have negative impressions of evangelicals do not know what or who an evangelical is," he said in a press release about the survey. "Too often, we develop mental images of others without knowing those people. ...We find that when people examine the foundation of their impressions and then talk to a few people from the groups of which they have a low opinion, they discover that those people are not so bad after all." Funny, but the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them -- that's exactly what they want Evangelical Christians to know too.