In the latest of a liberal genre of "going undercover" into evangelical Christianity, atheist author Gina Welch submerged herself as a Christian in Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church. She wasn't converted, but she did tell Time magazine's Kristi Olofsson that the media coverage is unfair:
The media often portrays evangelicals as brainwashed, simpleminded and angry. My book isn't the story of falling in love with everybody. There were some people who seemed to sit perfectly into the picture that I'd always had of evangelical Christians. For me what was missing from the media portrait was complexity.
The death of Jerry Falwell affected her, and again she felt the hostility [like this?] didn't capture the whole picture:
I felt unexpectedly saddened. In my [nonreligious] world people were celebrating, people were exuberant. I felt that he wasn't being fairly represented. I'd grown this affinity for him simply by being intoxicated by his charisma. That sadness was unacceptable to show to people from my world because it seemed like it might suggest that I was supporting Jerry Falwell.
Reading Welch's interview makes you wonder if perhaps those "objective" media people who rain fire on evangelicals ought to immerse themselves a little more. Welch felt she learned a little about how evangelism doesn't have to be hostile:
Welch clearly had a problem with "homophobia" in the church she investigated. It wasn't explained how Jesus would have favored "gay marriage."