facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Poll: Athletes more influence than clergy

Feb. 18, 2013 at 8:07 PM   |   Comments

VENTURA, Calif., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Two-thirds of Americans say sports figures have a greater influence on society than professional clergy or other faith leaders, a U.S. survey indicates.

The telephone poll of 1,008 U.S. adults for the Barna Group, a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies, found only 19 percent said professional faith leaders had more influence than athletes, 8 percent said they have equal influence, 10 percent said they were not sure, while 64 percent said sports figures had greater influence.

Professional football player Tim Tebow was the most prominent athlete known for his faith at 51 percent, followed by 2 percent for retired pro football player Kurt Warner and 2 percent for Jeremy Lin, a professional basketball player.

Americans who favored public displays of faith in sports said they do so primarily because they believe athletes should have freedom of speech. However, most adults said when an athlete talks about his or her faith publicly it does not make much of a difference for those who hear the comments.

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, said the strong and positive awareness of Tebow and his faith reveals Americans -- and particularly Christians -- desire for an authentic role model who is willing to publicly connect his faith and life.

"Americans are keenly aware of and concerned about maintaining religious liberty. Even if they didn't agree with or particularly care for an athlete's faith declarations, Americans would be hesitant to limit that person's ability to speak up about their faith," Kinnaman said in a statement. "The real question, though, would be whether or not Americans would embrace athletes publicly promoting a faith other than Christianity. In fact, the only non-Christian athlete who showed up in the research was Muhammad Ali. However, his connection to the Muslim faith was only mentioned by 1 percent of adults."

The OmniPoll survey has a margin of error of 3 percentage points. It wasn't reported when the poll was taken

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
Red Sox sign Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo for 7-year deal
2
Yankees host White Sox trying to stay in playoff hunt
3
Mariners turn to King Felix, resume road trip in Boston
4
Royals try to bounce back in Arlington
5
Former Steelers RB Redman says spinal injury ended career
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback