Last week, we noted that David Barton and Glenn Beck had launched an effort to pressure pastors into speaking out on issues of importance to conservatives by misleadingly citing a survey conducted by Christian pollster George Barna.
All three men appeared on Beck’s show to promote the poll, claiming that it found that large majorities of average churchgoers are clamoring to have their pastors preach against things like abortion, gay marriage and the separation of church and state. In reality, the poll represented only the views of “spiritually active Christians who hold politically conservative views,” which was not surprising since conservative Christians made up “92% of the total respondents.”
Barton is now this same poll to promote an effort called “One Nation Under God,” which was organized by Pastor Erwin Lutzer and Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly and is aimed at getting pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote and get involved in politics.
Barton filmed a video on behalf of the effort in which he, once again, misleadingly created the impression that the findings of the Barna poll represent the views of all churchgoers.
Saying that the poll represents the views of “Bible-minded churchgoers,” Barton proceeded to declare time and again that “an astounding 91 percent of churchgoers say that it was critically important that they learn the biblical perspective on abortion,” and that “82 percent of Bible-believing churchgoers felt that it was crucial to hear the biblical view of sexual identity,” and that “80 percent of churchgoers want to hear about Israel,” and that “79 percent of churchgoers want to hear about our Christian heritage.”
Of course, what the poll really found was that these were the issues that conservative Christians want to hear their pastors preach about. But Barton never bothers to mention that basic fact because doing so would undermine his effort to create the impression that America’s churches are filled with people just dying to hear anti-abortion and anti-gay sermons.