The Barna Group recently found that 2/3 of Americans say pro-athletes have more influence in society than faith leaders.
Clint Jenkins with the Barna Group, says he's not surprised, because he believes average everyday people live vicariously through talented athletes.
The survey explored awareness of 7 prominent athletes, by asking adults if they were aware of the athlete and their public expression of their faith.
These are the 7 athletes and the public's response to Barna.
* Tim Tebow, pro football player83% of Americans are aware of Tebow; 73% feel favorably about his public discussion of faith
* Kurt Warner, retired pro football player
59% overall awareness; 80% are favorable toward his public discussions of faith
* Jeremy Lin, pro basketball player
40% awareness; 76% favorability
* Bubba Watson, professional golfer
40% awareness; 77% favorability
* Albert Pujols, professional baseball player
36% awareness; 81% favorability
* Robert Griffin III, professional football player
34% awareness; 78% favorability
* Clayton Kershaw, professional baseball player
25% awareness, 78% favorability
Obviously Tim Tebow is the most well known.
The research points out that “most Americans are comfortable with a mash-up of their faith and their sports,” suggests David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group. “That there’s such a strong and positive awareness of Tim Tebow and his faith reveals Americans—and particularly Christians—desire for an authentic role model who is willing to so publicly connect his faith and life.”
Kinnaman also mentions the connection between public faith declarations and issues of religious liberty, “American’s are keenly aware of and concerned about maintaining religious liberty. Even if they didn’t agree with or particularly care for an athlete’s faith declarations, Americans would be hesitant to limit that person’s ability to speak up about their faith.
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Bold. Be Blessed.