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CWA Regrets Bias Toward Evangelicals

Contact: Stacey Holliday, Concerned Women for America, 202-488-7000 ext. 126


WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 /Christian Newswire/ -- Concerned Women for America (CWA) reports on a new Baylor Religious Survey -- released this week at the National Press Club -- which found that fewer believers want to be labeled “evangelical.”  In a cultural environment of increasing bias against evangelicals, less than half of those who say that their beliefs are “evangelical” (33 percent) use that label to describe themselves (15 percent).  Further, just over 2 percent of those same “evangelicals” are willing to say that the title “reflects their religious identity.”


“Sadly, some Biblically orthodox believers are unwilling to proudly affirm their faith.  They lack the self-confidence to boldly challenge the negative bias; they don’t want to be called ‘evangelical’ or ‘religious right,’” said Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute.  “Others,” Crouse added, “prefer different labels –– for instance, some prefer ‘born-again’ (28.5 percent); others ‘theologically conservative’ (17.5 percent).  With so many different categories, the numbers don’t reflect the strength of the true believers.”


“Amazingly, the old stereotypes still exist,” said Crouse.  “Today’s pseudo-sophisticates view Biblical orthodoxy with disdain and/or hostility.  The Washington Post, reporting on the Baylor survey, noted that those who view God as ‘engaged and punishing’ are more likely to ‘have lower incomes and less education, to come from the South and to be white evangelicals or black Protestants.’  Such statements -- implying that Southerners, white evangelicals and black Protestants are poor and uneducated -- reinforce old prejudices and continue the negative stereotypes about true believers.”


The 76-page-report, American Piety in the 21st Century: New Insights to the Depth and Complexity of Religion in the U.S., says it is “the most extensive and sensitive study of religion ever conducted.”  The field work -- hundreds of in-depth religious questions asked of a nationally representative sample of 1,721 respondents -- was conducted by the Gallup Organization and funded by a three-year grant from the John M. Templeton Foundation. 


The report is the first of over two dozen studies that will be released over the next several years.  “The complexity and breadth of these reports,” said Dr. Crouse, “will challenge scholars and analysts who care about American’s faith to dig for the deeper revelations of these comprehensive resources for years to come.”


Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.