Jump directly to the content

Pro Athletes Influence Society More Than Pastors, Say Two-Thirds of Americans

Barna survey also examines public awareness of the faith of top athletes.

In December, Gallup looked at the seven people Americans trust more than their pastor. Today, the Barna Group reported that Americans believe professional athletes influence society more than pastors "by more than a three-to-one margin."

Released just before the Superbowl, Barna's survey suggests that 64 percent of Americans think pro athletes have more influence in society than professional faith leaders, whereas 19 percent think faith leaders have more influence. (The rest say both have equal influence (8%) or are not sure (10%).)

"Sports figures are deemed most influential by those making $60,000-plus, college graduates, whites and parents," notes Barna. "Those most likely to select faith leaders were weekly church attenders and those with incomes under $40,000."

Barna also found that 61 percent of Americans support athletes' public professions of faith (including most evangelicals (88%), blacks (79%), Boomers (66%), parents of children under 18 (66%), and women (65%)), with the most cited reason being they believe athletes have freedom of speech (40%). Perhaps most interesting, only 32 percent of Americans think athlete professions of faith make people "more spiritually minded."

Barna also looked at how aware Americans are of prominent athletes that openly discuss their faith. Not surprisingly, Tim Tebow tops the list:

* Tim Tebow, pro football player

83% of Americans are aware of Tebow; 73% feel favorably about his public discussion of faith

* Kurt Warner, retired pro football player

59% overall awareness; 80% are favorable toward his public discussions of faith

* Jeremy Lin, pro basketball player

40% awareness; 76% favorability

* Bubba Watson, professional golfer

40% awareness; 77% favorability

* Albert Pujols, professional baseball player

36% awareness; 81% favorability

* Robert Griffin III, professional football player

34% awareness; 78% favorability

* Clayton Kershaw, professional baseball player

25% awareness, 78% favorability

In addition to previously noting the seven people Americans trust more than their pastor, CT looked at the controversial Christians in the 2013 Superbowl.

CT has previously reported on the Super Bowl, including Super Bowl evangelism, faith-based Super Bowl parties, and a cover story on why America loves football. CT also previously interviewed quarterback Tim Tebow about his faith.

Related Topics:Sports
Posted:February 1, 2013 at 6:56PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Lawsuit Claims Gospel for Asia Misused Most Donations to 10/40 Window
(UPDATED) Citing 'innocent until proven guilty,' GFA calls class-action suit a 'blessing' for chance to put allegations to rest.
Why Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill Made Christian History in Cuba
(UPDATED) ISIS persecution of Christians prompts first meeting between Catholic and Orthodox primates since 1054.
Wheaton College, Larycia Hawkins to ‘Part Ways’
Provost says he asked tenured professor for forgiveness, withdrew termination process.
What to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas
(UPDATED) Charting how Lenten abstinence has changed over time, as 2016 data comes in.
Christianity Today
Pro Athletes Influence Society More Than Pastors, Say Two-Thirds of ...