The Gallup Poll establishes Bible reading as the single most discernible factor shaping moral social behavior.

The CHRISTIANITY TODAY—Gallup Poll study reveals striking factors about the way Christian beliefs translate into action.

1976 was widely heralded as the “year of the evangelical” in America. The 1976 presidential campaign injected the name of Jesus and the concept of being born again into politics in a totally new way. Yet as one astute Washington observer, antiabortion lawyer John P. Mackey, correctly predicted before the election, it would be “politics as usual” after the voting. Events have borne him out. In 1980, both major party candidates for the presidency and independent candidate Congressman John B. Anderson are professing, evangelicals. Nevertheless, it appears that as far as national politics are concerned, this remarkable religious fact has changed things very little.

During the social and political ferment of the 1960s, sociologist Peter Berger observed that most religiously identifiable people—ranging from Unitarian-Universalists to separatistic fundamentalists—tended to vote along identifiable social and class lines, rather than according to their professed beliefs. Southern fundamentalists used religious arguments to bolster segregation, while northern fundamentalists attacked it. Since the 1960s, the lines have shifted and blended, but Berger’s question still remains: What difference does one’s religious belief make in the way one acts?

The CHRISTIANITY TODAY—Gallup Poll has revealed some striking things about the relationship between the professed beliefs of Christians and their personal and social ethics. Some things are rather alarming, and suggest that a person’s religious profession may have rather ...

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