Here’s an interview with a teacher who works in the southern United States, where anti-science sentiment is very pervasive, especially when it comes to the subject of evolution. The teacher, Amanda Glaze, is also researching the quality and effectiveness of evolution education in the south versus elsewhere in the U.S.
Glaze has found, like others who have also done similar studies, that the level of science understanding and acceptance is nowhere near where it should be among students in the South. The fact that some teachers in the South do not even bother teaching evolution because they want to avoid the hassle with parents and students is awful. This is the 21st century, and if we are going to thrive as a species we need a scientifically literate population.
One of the things that came up during the interview is how religion can be at the core of a person's identity. People identify themselves so closely with their religion that anything that conflicts with their religion is immediately seen as a personal attack. This is why the religious can be so vocally hostile towards evolution, and science in general. It is important to understand this point when trying to address issues like religion and science literacy.
If you are someone who chooses to confront religious believers about their faith, then try to remember that during the discussion. You may think you are just ridiculing an idea, but that person you are talking to will believe you are ridiculing them. Being mindful of that could go a long way towards helping you more effectively challenge others about their beliefs.