In the spirit of recent discussions on public opinion polls showing preference for President Bush among voters who are most religious, I offer the following look at imaginary religious polls that might have been taken from yesteryear. I leave it to the reader to interpret what they might mean.
From the Early First Century:
–99 percent of conservative religious leaders criticize Jesus for befriending sinners.
–98 percent of conservative religious leaders are outraged that Jesus claims that prostitutes will get to heaven before they do.
–91 percent of conservative religious leaders think Jesus is Satan.
–89 percent of prostitutes love Jesus.
–72 percent of conservative religious leaders want Jesus dead.
–64 percent of liberals criticize Jesus for not healing all the sick and supporting all the poor in Palestine.
–2 percent of conservative religious leaders admit that they hope prostitutes are in heaven when they get there.
From 17th Century Colonial America:
–99 percent of church/state leaders consider themselves morally correct.
–94 percent of church/state leaders believe Baptists are liberal heretics.
–86 percent of Puritans believe it is God’s will that the Indians be slaughtered.
–83 percent of Baptists don’t trust church/state governments and leaders.
From early 18th Century America:
–61 percent of Calvinists agree with John Gill that it is an insult to God to preach the gospel to the lost.
From the mid-18th Century American South:
–24 percent of Baptist churches in the South have eldresses and deaconesses.
From Revolutionary Era Virginia:
–51 percent of Baptist ministers are persecuted by Christian government officials.
From 1780s America:
–95 percent of foreign leaders are shocked that the new American nation does not base its Constitution on God and accuse America of being an atheist nation.
From the mid-19th Century American South:
–85 percent of Southern Baptists believe anti-slavery views are liberal and unbiblical.
–74 percent of Southern Baptists believe the black race is cursed by God.
From late 19th Century America:
–71 percent of Baptists insist that Baptists originated with John the Baptist.
From 1930s Germany:
–67 percent of German Christians support the Nazi Party.
From 1960s America:
–97 percent of Southern Baptists believe dancing is a sin.
–77 percent of Southern Baptists believe playing cards is a sin.
–73 percent of Southern Baptists believe fishing on Sunday is a sin.
–61 percent of Southern Baptists believe Elvis is the devil.
From 21st Century America:
–62 percent of fundamentalists would vote for Elvis before they would vote for a Democrat.
Bruce Gourley is associate director of The Center for Baptist Studies at Mercer University and owner of the BaptistLife.com Web site, where this article previously appeared. It is used here with permission.