Tuesday, May 10, 2005

86% of Alabamians want a verbal opening school prayer

and I don't think they mean a prayer to Krishna...
Auburn University News


AUBURN – Nearly all (96 percent) of Alabamians surveyed profess to be religious, no surprise in a state which is in the heart of the “Bible Belt.” Similarly, there is overwhelming support for a return to prayer in state schools.

These are among the findings of a recent Ask Alabama public opinion survey, conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases periodic results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

The vast majority (92 percent) favors silent prayer or meditation at the opening of the school day, with only slightly less support for open verbal prayer in class. A similar number favors prayer at the beginning of school sports events.

“This indicates that Alabama’s residents perceive the benefits of formal school prayer in the public schools far outweigh any concerns regarding separation of church and state,” says Ask Alabama director Jim Seroka. “Most Alabamians clearly prefer that court-imposed restrictions on public prayer in schools be relaxed.”

Opinion on religion in class instruction is more moderate. When questioned on preferences between the theory of evolution versus creationism or intelligent design, only 8 to 12 percent favored teaching one explanation over another.

“Most agree that religious-based explanations should be given a place in the public school classroom,” notes Seroka. “However, if given a choice, most Alabamians (62 percent) would prefer public school teachers be able to present both religious explanations and evolutionary theory.”

Other findings of the Ask Alabama poll on Alabamians and Religion in the Schools include:

* 47 percent of Alabamians surveyed characterize themselves as very religious.

* 49 percent consider themselves to be somewhat religious.

* Only 3 percent consider themselves as not religious.

* 86 percent support an opening school prayer; 11 percent discourage it.
Houston, we have a problem.

Forget all this stuff discounting the importance of theology and religion in US politics. These numbers blow that away.

I think we can assume all the prayers are to be Christian; I doubt they're thinking of rotating a few prayers to Allah, Krishna and Buddha and maybe a Wiccan chant or two.

The news report doesn't break the numbers out very well, but I assume from the above that only about 10% of Alabamians would favor teaching standard biology in science education.

Looking for a silver lining in these numbers, I suppose Alabamian secularists (there might be five of 'em) might be able to ask that Creationism be explicitly labeled as a religious explanation and natural selection be explicitly labeled as a scientific explanation. I'm more comfortable with that than with the fakery of the "intelligent design" agenda.

Better to completely sacrifice any vestige of Protestant-State separation than to corrupt the meaning of words.

I wonder if "America the Protestant" will end up being a big issue in the upcoming Senate races?

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