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January 30, 1987 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-01-30

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Fundamentalists' Image
Challenged By Survey

N

N

)—

N

New York (JTA) — The re-
sults of a nationwide survey of
evangelical and fundamen-
talist Christian attitudes
towards Jews challenge some
commonly held assumptions,
according to the Anti-
Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith which commissioned the
poll.
Conducted by telephone
among a sampling of 1,000
religiously conservative Chris-
tians in September and Oc-
tober by the Houston-based
Tarrance, Hill, Newport and
Ryan research organization,
the survey revealed that most
of them do not "consciously use
their deeply-held Christian
faith and conviction as justifi-
cation for anti-Semitic views of
Jews."
The survey sampling was
made up of 36 percent Baptists,
12 percent Methodists, ten per-
cent Lutherans, seven percent
members of the Church of
Christ and the remainder in-
cluded other Protestant
evangelicals such as Pentecos-
tal, Mormon and Assembly of
God.
Ninety percent disagreed
with a statement that "Chris-
tians are justified in holding
negative attitudes towards
Jews since the Jews killed
Christ," five percent agreed
and five percent said they were
"unsure."
Twenty-four percent felt
that God views Jews "more
favorably than other non-
Christians" based on their be-
lief that "Jews are God's cho-
sen people" and the fact that
Jesus was himself a Jew. Ten
percent felt that God views
Jews "less favorably than
other non-Christians."
Eighty-six percent disagreed
with the assertion that "God
does not hear the prayer of a
Jew," a statement that was
originally made in 1981 by the
then president of the Southern
Baptist Convention, Rev.
Bailey Smith. Only 12 percent
agreed with this statement.
Sixty-eight percent said
Jews are viewed by God "no
differently than other non-
Christians" because they have
not accepted Jesus, 20 percent
said they may be judged "more
harshly" and 12 percent were
"unsure."
ADL national director
Nathan Perlmutter said the
survey is part of the agency's
ongoing analyses of Christian
attitudes toward Jews and that
many of the findings of this
particular poll are significant
in view of the increased promi-
nence in recent years of reli-

giously conservative Chris-
tians in this country — "a
group about which Jews have
expressed apprehension." He
added:
"While there are areas of
important disagreement be-
tween the Jewish community
and evangelicals and fun-
damentalists, such as prayer in
schools and the teaching of
evolution, these reflect differ-
ing values. Their support of
voluntary prayer in the school,
for instance, is no more neces-
sarily anti-Semitic than our
opposition to prayer is anti-
religious. In a culturally
pluralistic society, it is possible
to be at opposite ends of an
issue without religious bigotry
being operative." Perlmutter
cited as "troubling" the sur-
vey's finding that although 57
percent of the sampling re-
vealed no secular anti-Semitic
attitudes as measured by their
responses to seven statements
in an "anti-Semitic index," 22
percent agreed with one of the
anti-Semitic characterizations
and another 21 percent with
two or more. Only five percent
of those surveyed accepted four
or more of the statements as
valid.
It was found that 49 percent
of those between 18 and 34
years of age agreed with at
least one of the anti-Semitic
characterizations compared to
34 percent of those 55 and over.
The survey noted a statisti-
cally significant relationship
between belief in a literal read-
ing of the Bible and expression
of one or more secular anti-
Semitic views.
The seven statements re-
flected stereotypical attitudes
towards Jews including the fol-
lowing: "because Jews are not
bound by Christian ethics,
they do things to get ahead
that Christians generally do
not do," 27 percent agreed;
"Jews are tight with money,"
51 percent agreed; "Jews want
to remain different from other
people, and yet they are touchy
if people notice these dif-
ferences." 39 percent agreed;
"Jews are more loyal to Israel
than to the U.S.," 27 .percent
agreed.
But, sizeable percentages of
those who accepted these char-
acterizations felt they were
"positive" traits. For example,
of those who believe "Jews are
tight with money," 60 percent
thought that \;, as a positive
trait. On the statement about
greater loyalty to Israel, 49
percent of those who agreed
thought it was a positive trait.

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