by Curt Smith for the Indianapolis Business Journal print and online versions on Aug. 12, 2017
Barna—who coined the term SAGE for the “spiritually active, government-engaged” voters who gave Donald Trump and Mike Pence 81 percent support in the recent election and, therefore, the White House—has long studied Christianity in America. He laments the state of the American church, but he remains a hopeful voice who would congratulate Indiana for some notable numbers.
He surveyed almost 80,000 Americans online and via telephones over seven years. From that comes the Indiana numbers revealing 83 percent Christian adherence, including Catholic Christians at about 13 percent (lower than other surveys I’ve seen) and Protestant Christians at 56 percent. The balance includes Orthodox Christians and charismatic Christians, as well as less conventional expressions of Christianity.
The 17 percent not identifying as Christian includes 10 percent of “no faith,” 6 percent “other” (Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, etc.) and 2 percent “unsure.”
This pattern is fairly uniform across Indiana (90 percent Christian is the high in the Evansville market). Indianapolis, at 85 percent, is higher than both Chicago (78 percent) and Columbus, Ohio (77 percent).
Among those surveyed, most worshipped inside a church recently. Forty-two percent said they had attended a church or worship service in the past week (that’s about 2.1 million Hoosier adults), 11 percent in the past month (add another half-million Hoosiers), and 10 percent more within the past six months. In all, that’s 63 percent, or about 3.2 million Hoosiers adults. A scant 5 percent of Hoosiers report never attending a church service—close to the 6 percent of “other” faiths more likely to attend religious services in a temple, mosque or synagogue, if at all.
Stated another way, more Hoosiers attend a local church service each and every weekend—about 2 million—than attend Colts and Pacers home games in an entire year—perhaps 1 million.
Such numbers help us understand and respect the choices our fellow Hoosiers make regarding our sacred rights of freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. To that we should all say a hearty, “Amen!”•
Curt Smith is president of the Indiana Family Institute and author of “Deicide: Why Eliminating The Deity is Destroying America.” Available in paperback only here: http://amzn.to/2vEQ3xq.