You are currently viewing the printable version of this entry, to return to the normal page, please click here.

Evangelicals rate only so-so press treatment

← return to Water Cooler

Not a single evangelical leader thinks that members of his or her faith always get decent treatment by the press. Not one. And many hope that journalists would stop using “evangelicals” as a generic political label.

When asked in a new poll if they think the media portrays evangelicals fairly, zero respondents said that was always the case, according to the November Evangelical Leaders Survey, a monthly poll of the National Association of Evangelicals’ board of directors. The group includes CEOs of denominations plus a broad range of leaders from missions, universities, churches and publications.

The survey found that another 5 percent said there was “usually” fair treatment. Another 63 percent said sometimes, 29 percent said rarely, and 3 percent said never.

“Treatment by the media often comes down to which media? Many writers really try to fairly represent evangelicals. I see it often,” said Leith Anderson, president of the Washington-based association. “There are others on the margins who like to spin and twist to make their point and can skewer the truth in the process.”

“There can be a liberal bias in the media that mocks or ridicules evangelicals. It’s equally true that some evangelicals portray themselves as condemning, judging ‘againsters.’ I don’t even like them. Why should the media?” asked William Bohline, lead pastor of Hosanna! Lutheran Church.

Some respondents noted that journalists often err by using the term “evangelical” as a political label.

“The media would do well to recognize that evangelicals are identified by our religious beliefs, not our politics. In fact, our political preferences are quite diverse,” said Carl Nelson, president of Transform Minnesota.

The association itself includes members from the Salvation Army, the Assemblies of God, the Wesleyan Church and 40 other distinct denominations.

“I believe that when the mainstream media stumble in their portrayal of evangelicals, it is usually through ignorance. A little reporting could cure that. Getting to know some evangelicals personally would be even better,” suggested David Neff, vice president of Christianity Today International.

But some bring the responsibility for the misunderstandings back to the membership.

“Really, this is on us to find our voice in an increasingly complex world – communicating in ways that result in both understanding and graciousness,” suggested Ken Hunn, executive director of The Brethren Church.

The association can be found at

← return to Water Cooler

blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

    LAMBRO: Skirting the lane-closure issue

  • Illustration by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

    LYONS: Benghazi demands a select committee in Congress

  • Happening Now