This Survey of “Christian Social Conservatives” is Completely Misleading May 27, 2021

This Survey of “Christian Social Conservatives” is Completely Misleading

I’m going to play statistics teacher for a bit and try to show you how a press release can be both accurate and wildly misleading at the same time.

A few days ago, D. James Kennedy Ministries released the results of what they called a “Spiritual & Constitutional State of the Nation Survey.” The results were shocking.

96% of respondents said they had “experienced verbal or physical abuse or bias [due to their] faith in Jesus Christ or… conservative Christian views.”

97% of respondents said students should have “the right to pray in public school classrooms” (even though they already have that).

97% of respondents didn’t want to see tax dollars “help pay for abortion.”

100% of respondents said “it is the constitutional right of citizens to defend themselves by the use of firearms.”

It goes on like this for a while. And whenever you have approval numbers that look like Saddam Hussein‘s approval ratings, you should doubt them.

The press release said this was a survey of “Christian social conservatives” and a “largely evangelical constituency,” but they didn’t explain those terms any further. When I asked their representative to send me the full survey data, they said they didn’t have it. All they had were the end results… which is unusual for any legit survey.

All that’s to say: A right-wing Christian ministry asked its members to fill out a survey on issues that matter to right-wing Christians… and — wait for it — pretty much everyone who responded leaned in the exact same direction.

That’s not just unscientific. That’s not useful information. If I told you Planned Parenthood’s members overwhelmingly support abortion rights, the proper response would be, “Yeah, of course they do. Why are you wasting my time?”

But look at how the ministry justifies this press release:

DJKM’s Spiritual & Constitutional State of the Nation Survey is an annual gauge of evangelical opinion on key social policy concerns. It is designed to give Christians the opportunity to clearly and effectively communicate their values to America’s leaders.

That’s a lie. This isn’t a “gauge of evangelical opinion.” It’s a gauge of this conservative ministry’s members’ opinions. And not even all of them! Just the ones who responded — which means just the ones who cared enough to click some buttons online. It’s a subset of a subset of evangelicals.

When I pointed this out to the ministry, a spokesperson defended the survey by saying this:

In addition, we offer viewers of our TV program, Truths That Transform, which airs around the country, the chance to request the survey and send in their responses — so the responses are not entirely from our supporters.

I would love to know who these people are who watch this Christian TV show AND request the survey AND are not supporters of the ministry…

The group’s president continued in the press release:

“There is a rising tide of secular hostility against followers of Jesus Christ and this informal survey is yet more evidence,” said Dr. Frank Wright, President and CEO of D. James Kennedy Ministries. “The dramatic uptick since 2020 suggests accelerating bigotry and malice toward followers of Jesus Christ.”

No it doesn’t. It suggests that people who belong to a right-wing ministry are all deluded in the same way. If these Christians think they’re victims, which religious group would they like to switch places with? (I will GLADLY swap out every Christian in Congress for open atheists.)

This data is garbage. And yet the ministry says “DJKM is sharing the full results with Congress, Cabinet officials, President Biden, and key media outlets.”

No one should be dumb enough to fall for this.

Incidentally, this ministry has been called a “hate group” because Kennedy, when he was alive, promoted the work of a man who believed gay people who have sex should be executed. Kennedy himself claimed homosexuals were pedophiles.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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