Poll: Evangelicals say abortion top problem

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Abortion is the overwhelming choice of evangelicals as the nation's top moral problem, according to a new survey by The Barna Group.

The telephone poll examined the perceptions of both evangelicals and non-evangelicals on a handful of issues, asking them whether they believe a particular one was a "major" problem facing the country.

Among evangelicals, abortion was rated a major problem by 94 percent of respondents, followed, in order, by the personal debt of Americans (81 percent), the content of TV and movies (79 percent), homosexual activists (75 percent), homosexual lifestyles (75 percent), poverty (72 percent), immigration (72 percent) and HIV/AIDS (71 percent). Global warming finished at the bottom, with only 33 percent of evangelicals saying it is a major issue.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, which, along with its companion Doe v. Bolton ruling, legalized abortion nationwide for any reason. Since then, between 45-50 million unborn babies have been killed.

"One of the myths about the 2008 election is that the evangelical vote is splintering over issues such as abortion and homosexuality," Barna Group President David Kinnaman said in a statement. "In fact, when defined based upon a consistent set of theological perspectives, evangelicals remain very united on abortion and homosexuality."

But among all American adults, far fewer -- 50 percent -- call abortion a "major" issue. That ranks behind poverty (78 percent), the personal debt of individual Americans (78 percent), HIV/AIDS (76 percent), illegal immigration (60 percent) and global warming (57 percent). The content of television and movies is viewed as a major issue by 45 percent of adults, with homosexual activists and homosexual lifestyles (each getting 35 percent) trailing. Additionally, 23 percent of Americans say they view the "political efforts of conservative Christians" as a major concern.

For a person to be considered an evangelical by Barna researchers, a respondent must say his faith is very important in his life today and he must also believe that: he has a personal responsibility to share his beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; that Satan exists; that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, and not works; that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.

The poll is based on two telephone surveys conducted in January and July-August 2007 with a total of 2,011 adults.


Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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