Believing in God's job creation plan

If you’re praying for work, you have plenty of company — and religion can play a role in how people view government assistance, according to a new survey:

As the nation struggles with 9.1 percent unemployment and President Barack Obama pushes a $447 billion job creation bill, a new survey shows that religion plays a significant role in how Americans view possible solutions to the country’s economic woes.

The Baylor University study, which was presented at a Religion Newswriters Association conference in North Carolina over the weekend and publicly released Tuesday, found that Americans who believe God has a plan for their lives are more likely to think the government “does too much,” more likely to oppose unemployment benefits for healthy people and more likely to believe in the “American dream” that anything is possible for those who work hard.

“These are unsettling times. In the last three years, Americans have experienced the financial and real estate crisis, recession, unemployment,” said F. Carson Mencken, director of the Baylor Religion Survey and a professor of sociology.

“The mission of this analysis is to assess how Americans feel about their lives in these tumultuous times. Do they still believe in the American dream? Do they feel they have control over their lives?” he explained.

Of the 1,714 Americans nationwide surveyed by the Waco, Texas-based Baptist university, 40.9 percent said they “strongly agree” that “God has a plan for me,” while 32.2 percent “agree,” 12.3 percent “disagree” and 14.6 percent “strongly disagree.” Those who strongly agree that God has a plan were more than twice as likely as those who strongly disagree that God has a plan to say that “the government does too much” — 52.6 percent to 21 percent.

Similarly, the strong believers in God’s plan were more than twice as likely as the strong disbelievers to say that healthy people should not receive unemployment benefits — 52.6 percent to 21.1 percent.

Generally, “people who believe in government deregulation believe in God’s plan,” said Baylor researcher Paul Froese. “Economic perspectives are intricately linked with different cosmologies.”

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Comments

  1. No surprise here. Those who do not believe in God in many cases have erected government as their god who for them will solve all ills. who else is there for them?

    Keep in mind this is survey done by a Baptist group in Texas. I suspect that if the survey was done by a Catholic group out of NY, you would end up with many who claim strong belief in God and strong belief in government with strong separation between the two. God only comes out on Sunday for an hour or so and the rest is turned over to big government.

    Frankly, I have come to hate surveys like this because by the questions, selection of people, and other factors, you can get the result you want to see. I was involved with a firm for a couple years that helped companies discover what their customers were thinking. We started by interviewing the company leadership and finding out what they believed of their customers. We would then design a survey of customers to get that result, but always with some surprise for the company so that they would believe they needed us again. We see democrat polls and republican polls and you can bet that both will show different results.

    However, if you have a strong belief in God, you should also be firmly against abortion and for marriage between one man and one woman as is the teaching of the religions with the greatest numbers in this country. Note I said the teaching, not necessarily the belief of all the flock. Many in this group are against one party that has made abortion legal and protected and promoted gay special rights and that party is also for socialist big government solutions to every problem and have shown themselves anti religion. So it is not surprising that this group who have witnessed the last couple of generations of liberal ideas and failures, they place trust in God and not in big government. right now we are being given first hand experience once again that the left big government simply spends money by the buckets with more often than not worse results.

  2. “Similarly, the strong believers in God’s plan were more than twice as likely as the strong disbelievers to say that healthy people should not receive unemployment benefits — 52.6 percent to 21.1 percent.”

    Ah, yes. The “let ‘em die” Christians who skip the parts about the poor, compassion, love, and mercy. Ho hum.

  3. Sure would like to know what kind of plan that for those who responded positively to that issue of this survey think that God has for them. Certainly, doesn’t seem to include Matthew 25:31-46.

    Some results in the study are interesting:

    Twice as many of those responders agree or strongly agree (as opposed to those who disagree or strongly disagree) with the statement:

    “Some are meant to be rich and some are meant to be poor.”

  4. I am a center-left leaning liberal Catholic Democrat. I grew up in a strong Irish-Catholic pro-labor family in the fifties/sixties who viewed the Republican party as the party of the rich. To this day I vote Democrat and plan to do so in November 2012.

    I am very much in favor of extension of unemployment benefits as the President has proposed, and, yes, increased taxes on the incomes of the rich. I work for a niche-market financial money management firm, and, trust me, when I tell you that the rich are not suffering in this recession.

    I would think that the Republican Party would be concerned about the fortunes if the shrinking middle class, but I guess not!

    Let them eat cake!

  5. Bern, your party has shown no concern for the 54 million babies they are responsible for in the holocaust on life. Those rich folks you love to hate or more likely envy have provided jobs for a heck of lot more people than anyone else. Many have worked and sacrificed for a lot of years and taken risks to get ahead and build what use to be called the American dream. Many of the hospitals, libraries, universities, and much more are the result of donations from these same rich folks you dislike. 47% of the people in this country pay zero income tax and yet have many of the benefits, often gaining more government funds than any rich person from the government. You would think that those 47% would look at the other 53% and say thank you for allowing me to live in this country paying zero income tax and being allowed to vote. No, the 53% are being led by someone who has never hired anyone in his life, never led a business, and has prospered on those same rich folks and now they are following along whining for more taxes and saying it is their fair share. How about those 47% each paying 10$ a month for the privledge of living in this country. I would bet an easy examination of finances would show a way for each of them to share in the burden this small amount.

    So you can remain content to be proud of being the party of slavery, lynching, paying no taxes, abortion, special rights for the gay act, and all its other baggage. But do not see how this is Catholic. Last time I looked, we are told by the Pope and the USCCB that to vote for a pro abortion candidate without having an equivalent or propotional reason is something Catholic should not consider. When you come up with something equal to the slaughter of 54 million innocent babies, plese come back and let me know what it is.

  6. HMS. on your Mathew…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    Please show me where it says that Jesus advised his followers to support calling on the government of Rome to take money from the wealthy and redistributing it to the poor which special emphasis on giving more to those who do things in many cases that are sinful as what he was talking about here. If a single woman gets pregnant and continues that manner of life, would Jesus support stealing from one who worked hard and earned his money to support her lifestyle? Do I want to see her starve? No, but I do not want to see her behavior encouraged. There is a cross to be born when we fail in life. there is also a need for those with more, even when times are personally tough, to find a way to help. All of us, not just the rich.

    So how would Jesus answer “Some are meant to be rich and some are meant to be poor?”
    He already answered that when he said the poor will be with us always. Some are meant to be poor. Stealing from the other using the gun to their heads called big government to give to the poor is not the answer Christ would chose.

    Two wrongs can never make a right and when you start out taking something from one person for another using a paid theif to do your dirty work like big federal government, one should not think this is worth quoting scripture to support.

    I think what Jesus was talking about was for each of us to do what we can for the other. He praised the woman who gave a small coin because it was her last to give. I doubt he would praise the democrat who voted in someone to do his stealing for him and think he was doing the work of God. Jesus said the poor will always be with us. Wonder why? If we look at humanity, we have some that are lazy and do not want to work. We have those who fall to lust or other sin and do all the wrong things in life. Jesus said blessed are the poor. wonder why? In many ways, they do not have to make the tough choice the rich do as with the rich young man who walked away from Jesus because he could not part with his wealth. I don’t remember him sending over a few apostles who use to be tax collectors to take the money from him for the poor.

    We set up the government to do things it was never intended to do and we wonder why people have grown to hate the government. Government is not God despite what the democratic party seems to think. Every solution to every problem does not have to come from the government. We created medicare and it seemed to give us a way to shove off our elderly relatives to nursing homes where they use to come and live with us in our later years. When someone is out of work, we use to work with the family and share resources. Now we want to stay clear of those in need and let the government agencies deal with it. When a neighbor losses his job, do we take the coins we need for ourselves to go over and help them as with the woman who gave what she had?

    Please do not lose what made us great and that is our desire to all be Americans and to help out. We hear of the dreadful times of the Great Depression, but growing up just after those times, I listened to hundreds of stories of the neighbors and relatives each chipping in and working together to scrape by. We should hear more of those stories. And those who worked for the small pay each day were greatful for the job and felt blessed. Now we have people out of work and turning down jobs because the government pays more for them to sit on their butt and they seem to think they have that check coming to them. When they started programs during the depression, many who could have gone on them did not out of pride and a desire to do their part.

  7. The president’s plan also calls for 2 trillion dollars (that’s a lot of zeros) in tax increases. I doubt two trillion dollars are going to come just from the “rich folk”.

    If you think in terms of the Democrats being the party of the poor and Republicans the party of the rich, you are being truly and completely naive. Both parties are run by rich people and both parties are responsible for our financial debacle.

  8. Greta:
    It may not be the best defense of your point of view to quote out of context that often-misused saying of Jesus about the poor being always with us. The statement was not meant to be a specific teaching about the rich and poor (as is the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus), but rather it was said in the context of praising the woman’s generous action and pointing out how her action prefigures his burial.

    With respect to the fact that Jesus did not advise his followers about the dangers of big government: Well, he never spoke SPECIFICALLY about the pros and cons of ANY political or economic system.

    After having read your comment several times, I must say that I am impressed with your attempt at a political spin but it’s not very convincing.

  9. The bottom line is that many people, who normally work, are unemployed through no fault of their own. I have no problem with them getting unemployment benefits. Many are still left with financial and medical needs. Families and charities, including churches and food banks, help and the government helps also with food assistance and Medicaid.

  10. Richard Johnson says:

    As more and more people lose their jobs, and as churches and local charities feel the pinch with decreased offerings/donations, who is going to stand in the gap if the government safety net is removed? Will church offering plates miraculously fill as the wealthy, fresh with their new tax cuts, begin increasing their offerings? Will food pantries suddenly find semi trucks arriving from corporations that, absent tax and regulation, dramatically increase their in-kind donations?

    Jesus tells us that indeed we will always have the poor with us. I believe that is more of a comment on the greed of humanity and not our sloth.

  11. Richard: Who is suggesting removing the “Government’s safety net”? Please be specific on the point.

    Your negative vision is lamentable but it seems that your ideology clouds your mind.

  12. Richard Johnson says:

    Rudy #11: “Richard: Who is suggesting removing the “Government’s safety net”? Please be specific on the point.”

    Fair enough, Rudy. Let’s start with Medicare. GOP Rep. Paul Ryan put forth a bill earlier this year that would have dismantled Medicare, replacing it with an underfunded voucher program where seniors could purchase private insurance. The CBO analysis of this showed that within 5 years of implementation well over 40% of those in the program would not be able to afford even catastrophic health insurance plans.

    Would churches be able to step into the gap and assist senior citizens with their medical needs?

    Let’s move on to Social Security. Several GOP candidates for President are putting forward privatization proposals for this program. You would think that after the crash of 2008 such notions would have been trashed along with trickle-down economics, but I guess the GOP believes in recycling these days.

    When (not if) this notion is adopted, and when we see the program crash due to the malfeasance of Wall Street firms, will churches be able to step in and provide for those senior citizens who would find themselves suddenly without the retirement income they depend upon?

    And finally, unemployment insurance. The GOP is once again resisting efforts to extend unemployment benefits for long-term recipients. Are churches ready to step in and provide assistance to families in their communities who lose this assistance and need help with food, utilities, and housing costs?

    It’s comforting to talk about the old days when families took care of their own, and communities came together when folks were in need. Unfortunately those days are long gone. When jobs are no longer available locally (a situation we have here in SE Iowa), young people leave the region in search of work. Families that once lived in the same community and were able to help each other now live across the state or nation from each other. My own two children fit that description. One lives about two hours away and the other lives on the other side of the Pacific.

    Churches that used to draw from the neighborhood surrounding their facility are becoming a thing of the past. We now have more “megachurches” that attract people from a large radius. Many of these churches would be ill-equipped to serve the needs of the families living around them simply because there are no relationships with those families, and therefore no knowledge of needs or problems.

    I’d be curious to see your answer to this question: If God is the source of the incredible wealth in this nation, why do you suppose he gave it to us?

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