The Barna Group surveyed more than 2,000 adults last year on their attitudes over moral and social concerns. David Kinnaman, president of Barna, says they found three issues that most Americans thought were major challenges facing the country: “poverty, the personal debt that individual Americans carry, and HIV/AIDS.”
Evangelical Christians responded differently, ranking abortion, personal debt, and broadcast decency as their top three concerns. And Kinnaman notes that responses from the broader category of “born-again Christians” were more in line with the secular public.
“We found that the top concerns were… illegal immigration at 60 percent… followed by global warming at 57 percent, abortion at 50 percent and the content of television and movies at 45 percent,” describes Kinnaman. “The least concerning of those issues was homosexuality, at 35 percent.”
Kinnaman points out that that was a portrait of all Americans, but notes that evangelicals tend to be more focused on the “character and quality and the type of culture” they live in, “not simply the laws or issues of the environment.”
The Barna survey also found that one in four Americans considers the political involvement of conservative Christians to be a major problem. “It’s something that we within the Christian community have to understand,” Kinnaman continues. “And rather than be defensive about [it], try to figure out, alright, at what points have there been things that we’ve done or said that maybe haven’t conveyed the heart of Christ in our political engagement?”
Christians, he adds, should not change their beliefs in response to those who are critical, but at least be willing to examine things they may have “gone about in the wrong way” to address.
Barna’s research indicates that out of 224 million American adults, only 64 million are born-again Christians — and of those only about 15 million are evangelical.