A new poll indicating that American Jews may have distrust and suspicion for evangelicals is raising eyebrows. The study, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, has some startling findings, especially considering the fact that many Jews and Christians have been working together for some time now in support of the Israeli state.
The Jewish Forward has more about the poll’s results:
Only one in five Jewish Americans holds favorable views of those aligned with the Christian right, a category that includes most of Israel’s evangelical supporters. [...]
The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and published April 3, asked Jewish respondents to rate the favorability of several religious groups. Mormons received a 47% favorability rating, Muslims 41.4%; the group described as “Christian Right” was viewed in favorable terms by only 20.9% of Jewish Americans. In contrast, the general American population, as shown by other polling data, views evangelicals more favorably than Muslims and Mormons.
Public Religion Research Institut Poll: American Jews Suspicious of Evangelical Christiansisrael-flag
These results are sending shock-waves through some faith communities. International Fellowship of Christians and Jews founder and president Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, for one, is stunned, saying that he finds the results both “shocking and concerning.” Eckstein, who has worked diligently to foster Jewish-evangelical relations, isn’t taking the results lightly.
As many people ask why these results are emerging even after years of collaborative work between the two faith communities, some contend that it may be a result of conflicting political inclinations and long-held stereotypes. Some experts also maintain that social conservatism – though it appeals to many Christians — is not palatable to the majority of American Jews.
“Most liberal Jews view the Christian right as wanting to impose a Christian America on them,” explained Marshall Breger, professor at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law. “To the extent to which the bulk of Jews are liberal, both politically and culturally, they’ll have negative views of the Christian right.”