Another poll shows half of Americans are clueless idiots.

The strategy of repeating a lie often enough to make people believe it’s true is still an effective one:

Most Americans believe the nation’s founders wrote Christianity into the Constitution, and people are less likely to say freedom to worship covers religious groups they consider extreme, a poll out today finds.

The survey measuring attitudes toward freedom of religion, speech and the press found that 55% believe erroneously that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. In the survey, which is conducted annually by the First Amendment Center, a non-partisan educational group, three out of four people who identify themselves as evangelical or Republican believe that the Constitution establishes a Christian nation. About half of Democrats and independents do.

ON THE WEB: Read the full poll results

Most respondents, 58%, say teachers in public schools should be allowed to lead prayers. That is an increase from 2005, when 52% supported teacher-led prayer in public schools.

More people, 43%, say public schools should be allowed to put on Nativity re-enactments with Christian music than in 2005, when 36% did.

Half say teachers should be allowed to use the Bible as a factual text in history class. That’s down from 56% in 2000. Charles Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, says the findings are particularly troubling during a week when the top diplomat in Iraq gave a report to Congress on progress toward achieving democracy there. “Americans are dying to create a secular democracy in Iraq, and simultaneously a growing number of people want to see a Christian state” here, he says.

Every now and then I get to thinking that maybe I’ve said all there is to say and should stop blogging or perhaps I shouldn’t write another rant on church and state issues or perhaps I shouldn’t keep pointing out that this nation was not founded to be a Christian nation cause the message has gotten across. Then I read polls like this one and realize that I’m not arguing the point often enough.

Rick Green of WallBuilders, an advocacy group that believes the nation was built on Christian principles, says the poll doesn’t mean a majority favors a “theocracy” but that the Constitution reflects Christian values, including religious freedom. “I would call it a Christian document, just like the Declaration of Independence,” he says.

Well you’re wrong, Rick. Christians had a hand in it, but that doesn’t make it a Christian document. References to Christianity and Christ were intentionally left out after some people tried to get them inserted. How anyone can read the letters from the Founding Fathers and still make this claim is beyond me short of it being a known lie on their part.

The “scariest” number, in Haynes’ opinion, is that only 56% agree that freedom of religion applies to all groups “regardless of how extreme their beliefs are.” That’s down from 72% in 2000. More than one in four say constitutional protection of religion does not apply to “extreme” groups.

Haynes says many Americans consider Islam extreme, especially since the Sept. 11 attacks. But he says Roman Catholics were viewed that way in the 19th century, and some people still consider Mormons “on the fringe.”

A very valid point. Haynes argues that schools aren’t teaching the First Amendment enough. I’d argue they’re not teaching the simple fact that this was country was founded as a secular nation and then provide the historical references that reinforce that fact.

Still, there’s a small bit of good news in this latest poll:

Still, he says, support for constitutional freedoms has rebounded from a low the year after 9/11, when 49% said the First Amendment “goes too far in the rights it guarantees.” Now, 25% agree.

That’s something at least.

14 thoughts on “Another poll shows half of Americans are clueless idiots.

  1. My boss and I were were reading this at usatoday.com over lunch.

    Both of us almost choked on our lunch.

    Seems the jeebus propoganda machine is hard at work and some of it has unfortunately taken hold.  The religious wack jobs continue to reinforce this falsehood to their followers.

    They all need a very basic civics lesson that our forefathers were definitely secular minded and that Jefferson himself was most likely a non-believer.

  2. I got nothing.  It just sucks.  The other day my fiance’s mother was referring to someone and was complaining about something the person did.  But when someone else mentioned the person is an apostolic christian her mom said, “Well at least they have that.  That’s good!”

    Fuck no it doesn’t!  It just tells me that person is even more of a dingbat!  Bah!  Why can’t a person be good for the things they do and not the beliefs systems they tie themselves down to?

  3. Every now and then I get to thinking that maybe I’ve said all there is to say and should stop blogging or perhaps I shouldn’t write another rant on church and state issues or perhaps I shouldn’t keep pointing out that this nation was not founded to be a Christian nation cause the message has gotten across. Then I read polls like this one and realize that I’m not arguing the point often enough.

    Not everyone comes to SEB. You have given food for thought to a few hundred+ people, and possibly that’s in part changed some, and helped those affected by them, but compared to a country with as many people as the US this is hardly a dent.

    You’re limited by the rate new people visit, if you want to make more of a dent into the forces of unreason you’re going to have to increase readership, because arguing harder only helps those already reading. That said, if it were much larger, it may become difficult to manage, and difficult to hold one-to-one discussions within threads.

    If half americans are clueless idiots, the other side is hardly alone, it’s not as if you’re the 0.1% minority on broad issues – it’d still be relitively easy to gain acceptance as a signifcicant minority (at least here), but I understand the natural desire to get all to understand, because you have to deal with these people

  4. You’re limited by the rate new people visit, if you want to make more of a dent into the forces of unreason you’re going to have to increase readership, because arguing harder only helps those already reading. That said, if it were much larger, it may become difficult to manage, and difficult to hold one-to-one discussions within threads.

    I don’t think the idea is to reach as many people as possible with a post or when blogging in general, but to reach as many people as you can and have them spread the message to others in turn.  This way the outcome of an idea is exponential rather than a finite number.

  5. That does happen, but the message tails off a bit at each level. Do more in the first level and the next will be broader and more people will be closer to the original idea, but spread butter gets thin. If it were truely exponential things would’ve already changed.

    Reminds me of quantity vs quality (and the balance of which) – I suppose quantity of quality is ideal (quality being depth of the message), but I guess there is only so much quantity one infrastructure can handle (like a school or hospital)

  6. public schools should be allowed to put on Nativity re-enactments with Christian music

    Actually, this is one place where I feel sorry for Americans and the church/state seperation.  There’s nothing quite like attending your childs nativity play, and watching a group of 5/6 year olds forgetting their lines, picking their noses and wearing old tea towels on their heads (the checked ones of course- “A Gift from the Lake District” would just look silly) while a slightly out of tune piano is played by a slightly out of tune teacher.  You will spot your child before he spots you so you can watch his anxious looking around until he spots you did come- which he will acknowledge with the least sureptitious ‘hidden’ wave of all time.

    No matter what you may think of the film ‘Love Actually’ catches it all rather well. Ok I’ve never known there to be a “2nd Lobster”, but in a struggle to make sure all kids have a part you do seem to get a lot of some attendants (“How many shepherds were actually present at the stable?”).  Do you know, thinking about it, I’m sure one year I saw a pig at the birth of the Jewish Messiah.

    Last Hussar
    who missed being the inn-keeper due to measles the week of the performance 30 years ago.

    I’m not bitter.

    No really.

  7. Are you trying to make me cry, Les?  I am going to watch the Engineer video a dozen times in the vain hope to break out of this funk.

    No great surprise though.  Christian = American has been so driven into the heads of those with absolute historical ignorance.  I can chip away a bit of ignorance among my coworkers and it will flow back into an unbreached wall before the week is out.  No matter how many Barton quotes I debunk.  No matter how many Federalist papers I quote.  No matter how many Jefferson quotes I offer.  A week later Christian = American is all they have left.

    On a somewhat related note.  My local newspaper allows commenting on articles.  One turned into a debate between myself and another fellow on safety vs liberty with primary focus on the Patriot Act.  Some emoladen Christian jumps in with a standard “Why can’t we all get along” followed by a “Pray for the dead of 9/11”.

    So I respond with a brief bit about the value of civil liberties being more important than praying for those six years dead.  It responded with a short expression of a desire for me to burn in hell for all eternity.  Don’t you just feel the Christian love?

  8. Yeah, I can’t believe some of the crap so-called educated people believe these days. I was Home Schooled, so when I got to College, I was (and still am) stunned by how poorly educated most of my peers are. It’s like they’ve never read anything except “The Babysitters’ Club”! When I would mention things that I assumed that ‘everyone knew’ about history, etc., they just stared at me with a blank face. And most of them never question anything, or attempt to think for themselves, either.
    And on another subject: How come these polls never accurately represent the view of 99% of the people I know? Almost all of the people that I know, Christian or otherwise, would have answered very differently to such questions. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know who honestly believes that Christianity was written into the Constitution, or who wants a theocracy in any shape or form.

  9. And on another subject: How come these polls never accurately represent the view of 99% of the people I know?

    Psychology answers that one… we as people tend to surround ourselves with people of like intelligence, thinking, beliefs, etc…

  10. USA is officially the dumbest nation on the planet. It’s a shame for all the intelligent, original and creative people you have to have to live with the rest:
    stupid, fat retards that believe in fictional creatures. getting dumber all the time, brainwashed by religious entrepreneurs and hysterical media into nothing but consuming machines. called once every few years to obediently vote the next unscrupulous politician in the worse possible farce of democracy. For rule of the people through election is only possible when the people who vote understand the difference between the choices they have (if they do have any!).
    C’mon these guys elected W twice!!?!?
    You have to do something to raise those poor souls to the intellectual standards of the 19th century

  11. Americans are stupid – just look on comments above. Nothing compared to europe. They laugthing their ass of so called “polish jokes” but Polish people are way more intelligent. Poland is in 5top countries with highest IQ, only under Japan, Sweden, Germany. IQ ratings made over the world don’t lie – leaving US one of the most stupidiest – so called “civilised country” in the world.

    Give monkey a gun and guess what’s next…

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