The easy prejudices of American Evangelicalism

I like Evangelicals. I really do. They are some of the kindest, prayingest, most heroic believers in the world. But I also have to note that there is a sort of easy prejudice among Evangelicals that sort of reminds me of the Old South. It’s not an active, nasty prejudice that goes out of its way to be hateful. It’s the sort of prejudice that would motivate an old Southerner to compliment a black person with the phrase, “That’s mighty white of you!” It’s an unthinking, oblivious prejudice that barely culpable since its so unconscious but still quite real for those of us who don’t happen to be part of the Evangelical clique anymore.

What do I mean? Here’s Christianity Today on “40 Best Christian Places to Work: The Complete List & A Closer Look at the Top Finalists“. Now, call me crazy, but it looks for all the world like a) there are *no* decent Catholic places of employment or b) there are “Christians” (i.e. Evangelicals and other mainstream Protestants) and there are Catholics, who aren’t Christian.

Put that baldly, I think the editors of CT would be a bit horrified at what they’ve said (especially since, last I checked, one of the them was married to a Catholic). But easy prejudices often don’t come into focus like that.

Unlike a lot of Catholics I don’t mourn and wail and rend my garments over such easy prejudices. They amuse me more than annoy me since I know most Evangelicals are fine folk who, when such prejudices *do* come into focus, are quick to abandon them and recognize Catholics as Christian. I take it in the same chuckling spirit my father-in-law did when, in Texas, he asked a guy if there was any Catholic parish in the neighborhood and was told, in the friendliest tones, “No. I’m really sorry. We’re all Christians around here.” The sheer guilelessness of that is hard not to enjoy and excuse. I’m confident enough of my faith that I don’t need Evangelicals to sign off on it and I think Catholics who waste time cultivating bitterness over such things are fools. But I note for the sake of my Evangelical readers that such easy prejudices are, perhaps, something you should be more sensitive to for your own sake, since they blind you to the reality that “Christian” is a term that is not co-terminous with your rather small sector of the body of Christ.


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