That rather colorful description comes from Boston University sociologist Peter Berger, who is working to challenge those stereotypes in a new study. At this point in my life, I’m very grateful for his work seeing how I am an evangelical living in "Tobacco Road" who is blogging barefoot at this very moment.
A recent Op-Ed in the Washington Post carries the same idea – the media and academia should pay more serious attention to actual evangelicals and less time to reinforcing their stereotypes of the group. The authors point out the successful and important history of the evangelical movement in America.
What strikes me as ironic is that while Washington Post wrote the infamous "uneducated and easily led" comments about evangelicals in 1993, the CNN article, describing the need to move beyond stereotypes of evangelicals, engages in many itself and refuses to go beyond the surface for much of their statements.
They equate the believe in evolution versus creationism as the defining difference between evangelicals and fundamentalist, with the later being the group that believes the Bible "literally." I’m not sure what that says for us evangelicals.
The story also quotes a sociologist critical of evangelicals. His point is that evangelicals must not be confident enough in our worldview and academic tradition because, we have founded strictly evangelical schools which refuse to hire professors who believe differently.
Well that’s odd I could have sworn I read some articles about most major universities applying their own litmus test over certain beliefs for professors and guests speakers? But that couldn’t be the case because that would clearly indicate that they are not confident in their beliefs or their academic tradition and that can’t be the case.
End Question: Is there a stereotype for evangelicals? Is the stereotype true or does it need busting or at least redefining?