Christianity in the World Today

Where do Protestant ministers stand on economic freedom? How do they feel about a free market as opposed to socialistic attitudes in trade? What are their views on the link between economic and religious freedom?

To learn some of the answers, CHRISTIANITY TODAY enlisted the services of Opinion Research Corporation, noted survey-conducting firm with headquarters at Princeton, New Jersey. The firm included barometer questions on free enterprise in a representative nation-wide poll of Protestant ministers taken in behalf of CHRISTIANITY TODAY last fall. Answers were secured in detailed private interviews in the ministers’ homes and offices. Clergymen were selected for the interviews on the basis of scientific random-sampling methods.

About one clergyman in five in the survey was reported as “decidedly socialistic” in his economic views. Little more than half of those interviewed saw any definite connection between economic and religious freedom.

Results Of Earlier Survey Confirmed

The poll thus indicated that while a majority of Protestant ministers stand for a free enterprise position, a minority lean strongly toward socialism. Spokesmen for Opinion Research Corporation said these findings showed tendencies to vote for economic freedom at about the same level as those in another national survey the firm took on free market versus socialistic sentiment in 1953. The earlier survey likewise found one out of every five clergymen socialistic in his thinking.

In the CHRISTIANITY TODAY survey, four barometer questions were used to pin-point ministers’ attitudes. The first of the four was asked to establish where the ministers stood on economic and religious freedom. This was the query:

Economic and religious ...

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