Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Poll : Support for Christian Nation Amendment

George Barna, the evangelical sociologist and pollster, asked questions about "how Christianized do Americans want their country to be?" Interestingly enough, he went beyond the usual questions about creationism, pledge, motto, and commandments, to ask about a long standing, never accomplished goal of some Christians: a constitutional amendment to declare the United States a Christian nation. Some might remember vaguely that Illinois Congressman John Anderson caught some flack because he had co-sponsored a "Christian nation" amendment when he was first elected to the US Congress. Less well known is that the idea of such an amendment goes all the way back to 1844 when Senator and future President James Buchanon. The idea was championed by the National Reform Association, and opposed by the National Liberal League, after the Civil War. So far as I know, an explicit Christian National amendment isn't on the open agenda of any significant Christian Right organization, though a local option and states right versions have been advocated. There was a stealth version of the Christian nationa introduced by Oklahoma Congressman Ernest Istook in 1977. There does appear to be significant support for the idea among evangelicals.

Here's what Barna found;

Americans are opposed to “a constitutional amendment to establish Christianity as the official religion of the United States” by a two-to-one margin (66% oppose, 32% in favor). People with a college degree were only half as likely to support this idea as were those who do not have a college degree (19% vs. 37%, respectively).

In fact, the only population segment that was generally supportive of this proposal was evangelicals, who were twice as likely as other adults to support the idea (66%). A slim majority of non-evangelical born again adults (53%) rejected this idea, while large majorities of notional Christians (72%), people of other faiths (77%) and atheists and agnostics (91%) opposed such an amendment.
Seems to me that this might be an interesting question to ask candidates for Congress.

(The "Christian nation" concept is debunked by Liberty Magazine, a publication of the Seventh Day Adventists, here and here)

Post a Comment