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It's Sunday Morning. Where Should Your Cell Phone Be?

Surveys show wide range of American views.
It's Sunday Morning. Where Should Your Cell Phone Be?
Image: Aaron Favila / AP

When you’re in church, should you leave your cell phone in your pocket or purse? Or can you take it out to look up Bible verses or take notes?

Almost all Americans (96%) believe that using a cell phone in church is generally unacceptable, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. In fact, worship services are the most frowned-upon setting to use a cell phone, followed closely by movie theaters (5%) and meetings (5%).

However, the nearly unanimous negativity might have less to do with how Americans actually use their phones at worship services, and more to do with how the survey on mobile etiquette was framed.

“The problem here is that when Pew asks questions about how people use their cell phones, they’re entering vague territory, because there’s no agreed-upon definition of ‘use,’” wrote religion reporter Michael Schulson. “I’d wager hard cash that if you asked the exact same question about churches after priming ...

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