1 in 4 Americans think God helps decide football winners

Holy hail Mary pass! Does our triune God, the creator of the Universe, tally up the number and intensity of our prayers to decide the outcome of football games? It would seem that many American football fans seriously think so. Just imagine if we recruited teams of prayer warriors and positioned them strategically on the sidelines, the power we’d have over the Vegas odds makers! (Maybe the Vikings would have beat the Packers.) Oh well.  

Tim Tebow and the other Florida Gators quarter...

More than half of all Americans believe that God rewards athletes who have faith in Him, according to a recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, and isn’t that what Tim Tebow has been telling us all along?

That number is 53 percent, and isn’t really that shocking. But this one is, at least to me: according to the poll, 27 percent of Americans believe that God actually plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event. Yes, God is waving that ball fair or foul, like an omnipotent Carlton Fisk. Or to put it another way, God spends all day playing Madden NFL 12 with real players.

Which means that David Akers must have really done something wrong in his life recently. God seems to be steamed at him.

The poll, conducted on Jan. 16, consisted of random telephone interviews with 1,033 subjects.

The percentage jumps even higher if you’re a white evangelical Protestant from the South.

Roughly 4-in-10 minority Christians (40%) and white evangelical Protestants (38%) agree that God does play a role in the outcome of a sporting event, compared to less than 3-in-10 (29%) Catholics, less than 1-in-5 (19%) white mainline Protestants, and approximately 1-in-10 (12%) religiously unaffiliated Americans.

More than one-third (36%) of Americans who live in the South agree that God plays a role in determining which team wins a sporting event, compared to nearly 3-in-10 (28%) Americans who live in the Midwest, 1-in-5 (20%) Americans who live in the Northeast, and 15% of Americans who live in the West.

That low percentage for the West is not surprising: that’s where Chargers and Raiders fans live.

But Democrats (28 percent) are slightly more likely to think that God is manipulating box scores than Republicans (25 percent) or independents (26 percent).

And try this on for size:

More than three-quarters (76%) of Americans agree that public high schools should be allowed to sponsor prayer before football games.

Wow. May God have mercy on us all.

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