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MARK 9: 14-29

AUGUST 1, 2004

INTRODUCTION: How “Christianized” Do Americans Want Their Country To Be?

July 26, 2004 (Ventura, CA) - America’s ties to the Christian faith have been challenged in recent years through court cases, public policies, political campaigns, educational policies and media content. At the same time, numerous bestselling Christian books and hit movies, combined with the widespread attendance at Christian churches and billions of dollars donated to Christian ministry, suggests that the Christian faith is far from dead in the U.S. despite increases in secularism and postmodernism.

A new nationwide survey by The Barna Group explored the boundaries of how far adults are willing to inject the Christian faith into the nation’s culture. Examining six possible changes in public policy or social activity, the survey reveals that there are tens of millions of Americans who would go as far as supporting a constitutional amendment to declare Christianity the official faith of the United States. At the same time, the survey shows there are also millions who would support a policy permitting the use of the “f-word” on broadcast television. On balance, though, the research shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans want traditional Christian values and symbols to prevail, although most people would stop short of declaring the U.S. to be a Christian society.

Removing the Ten Commandments

Less than one out of every five adults (18%) supports “removing signs that list the Ten Commandments from government buildings.” In contrast, 79% of all adults rejected this policy – including 60% of adults who were “strongly opposed” to removing the Commandments.

Removing “In God We Trust”

A recent call to remove the phrase “In God We Trust” from the nation’s currency also has very limited public support, even from people who are not Christian in orientation. Overall, only 13% favored eliminating the phrase from currency, while 84% oppose the idea. Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) are “strongly opposed” to making this change.

Removing “One Nation Under God”

When asked to describe their reaction to the possibility of “removing the phrase ‘one nation, under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance,” this proposal also was widely rejected. Only 15% of adults said they would support the change, compared to 84% who dismissed it.

Creationism in Public Schools

Thousands of public schools around the country do not allow the biblical perspective on the creation process to be taught in their classrooms. The survey shows that most Americans are dismayed by that point-of-view. About six out of every ten adults (59%) favor teaching creationism while less than four out of ten (38%) do not want it added to the public school curriculum content.

Using the “F-word” on Television

Asked how they felt about “allowing the use of the ‘F-word’ on broadcast television,” very few adults supported such permission. Only one out of seven adults (15%) felt allowing the word on broadcast TV was acceptable, while 83% dismissed this as inappropriate. (Base: 1024 adults)

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