Thursday, May 24, 2007

I received an interesting email from Dr. Riley B. Case, the Assistant Executive Director of the Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church. It's contents are below.

Despite claims that American universities celebrate diversity and tolerance, an extensive study by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research concludes that an alarming amount of hostility and prejudice is directed against evangelical Christians on university campuses. The study, by Dr. Gary Tobin and Dr. Aryeh Weinberg, and reported in a 100-page document entitled “Religious Beliefs and Behavior of College Faculty,” records that 53% of college faculty hold an unfavorable view toward evangelicals. Faculty are far more tolerant and open toward Muslims (22% unfavorable), atheists (18% unfavorable), non-evangelical Christians (9% unfavorable), Buddhists (4% unfavorable), and Jews (3% unfavorable). The hostility toward evangelicals was considered the “most alarming” finding of the entire study. Faculty expressed distaste not only for evangelical “politics,” but also for evangelical beliefs and practices. More than twice as many faculty dislike evangelicals than Muslims and more than three times as many dislike evangelicals than atheists. Here is the full report.

Faculty attitudes were in sharp contrast with the views of the general public in which evangelical Christians were given among the highest percentage (over 50%) favorable view. The study identified about 33% of Americans as evangelical. While not in the Tobin and Weirberg study, it is believed that about 50% of American United Methodists would be considered evangelical (the percentage outside the United States would be much higher).

Thus there is credence in the claim of many evangelical Christians that their college professors belittle and do as much as they can to mock and undermine Christian faith.

A follow-up question would address the climate and culture of liberal seminaries. Since attitudes in the liberal and mainline seminaries often follow the attitudes in the secular academic institutions, would it also be true that prejudice against evangelicals is widespread also in the seminaries? Evangelicals who have attended these seminaries, including United Methodist seminaries, have for years claimed that it is so. Evangelical faith is not affirmed and is often not even understood. Worse, the seminaries do not even recognize their prejudice. This, however, would vary from seminary to seminary and from professor to profe ssor.

Dr. Riley B. Case is a retired member of the North Indiana Conference. He is a graduate of Taylor University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, with a graduate degree from Northwestern University and an honorary degree from Taylor University. Dr. Case’s appointment before retiring was St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Kokomo. Before that he was the district superintendent of the Marion District of the North Indiana Conference. He represented the conference five different times at the General Conference and seven times at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference. At the general church level he served as a consultant on the Hymnal Revision Committee (1984-1988) and was a member of the Curriculum Resources Committee of the Board of Discipleship.


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