Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some Americans feel God - and not politicians - will pull country out of economic troubles: A new study found

Some Americans think divine intervention - not "Big Government" policies from Washington - will pull the country out of its economic troubles, a new study found.

Authors of the Baylor Religion Survey told USA Today that about one in five Americans who think God plays a day-to-day role in their lives are also economic conservatives who want less government regulation.

They see the free market as a matter of religious principle, the paper reported.

"They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work," sociologist Paul Froese, one of the survey's co-authors, told the paper.

"They think the economy works because God wants it to work. It's a new religious economic idealism," he added, noting that politicians are "invoking God while chanting 'Less government.'"

The survey, released Tuesday by Baylor University in Waco, Texas, sought opinions from 1,714 American last fall. It was conducted by Gallup and commissioned by Baylor, the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation.

Its findings can be seen at work in the horserace for the GOP presidential nomination, during which Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have used religious language to convey an economic message.

"When Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann say: 'God blesses us, God watches us, God helps us,' religious conservatives get the shorthand," Froese told USA Today.

"They see 'government' as a profane object - a word that is used to signal working against God's plan for the United States. To argue against this is to argue with their religion."

But not everyone is looking to the heavens or the church pulpit for stock tips, however.

The survey also found that one in five Americans don't believe God has anything to do with their daily lives, according to the report. These people also supported increased taxation to close the gap between rich and poor.

"Liberal economic perspectives are synonymous with the belief that there is no one 'ultimate truth'" Froese told the paper.

The survey also found that 73% of those who participated believe God has a plan for them; that 92% think "anything is possible for those who work hard;" and 79% believe those who are able-bodied and out of work shouldn't get unemployment benefits if they turn down jobs.

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