Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Barna Research

George Barna does polling research for Christian purposes. Sometimes he rubs me the wrong way. Here is an example from the latest Barna Press Release.

Republicans were more likely than Democrats or Independents to discuss the three F’s: faith, family, and finances. Frequent visitors to the Internet, they were also the least likely to contact political officials to express an opinion.

Ouch!! Barna really stung the Republicans for not expressing their opinions. (This is sarcasm.)

Democrats stood out as the group most likely to have extramarital sex and to read their horoscope, and least likely to reject a television program because of its content.

The Democrats are obviously horrible people. We should try to convert them. To Jesus? No, to Republicanism, but with the ability to express their concerns. (Again sarcasm.)

Independents emerged as the group most detached from organized religious activity. They were least likely to attend church, read the Bible or volunteer at a church.

What is the point here? That Republicans are better people?

What is his point in this research? To convince Christians that they should be Republicans? Perhaps to shy people away from Third Parties?

I'm not sure. I know some great Democratic Christians. I know some really awful Republican Christians. I heard a Republican radio commentator say the other day that wealthier people should get more votes in our democracy than poor people. He was absolutely serious. I don't see many politicians who want to help anybody but themselves.

Much more importantly, Barna's research also showed:
The most well-defined political group of all, however, is the one-third of the adult population that is not registered to vote. The theme for this segment is “disconnection.” The unregistered masses are the least likely of any political segment – based on ideology or party identification – to spend time reading, volunteering, exercising, using a computer, participating in any organized religious activity, contacting a political official, or encouraging other people. They are the most likely of all to get drunk, have sex with someone other than a spouse, and view pornography.

This isn't political. This is straight disconnection. I see these people all the time... everywhere... except in church. They don't go to church. It seems really hard to engage them in that subject. They seem totally wrapped up in themselves... and I worry about them. They live hellish lives filled with deep emptiness. Yet it doesn't occur to them that they could find life outside of themselves. They don't reject the concept. They never consider it. They don't vote because they don't care what happens outside of their lives.

Jesus loved these disconnected. Can you believe it is one-third of the adult population?! I really want to see them connected. I know no other way except to slowly make friends with them on whatever level they will let me.

What will people take from Barna's research? Will they gloat about Republicans being more moral? Or will they cry because one-third of the adult population is disconnected?

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