A Bible verse about caring for the poor and the oppressed was wrongly attributed by a majority of U.S. adults to celebrities, politicians and other prominent figures including President Obama, Oprah, Bono and Angelina Jolie.
Only 13 percent of Americans surveyed by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Bible Society was able to correctly credit the Bible as the source of Proverbs 31:8-9, the Contemporary English Version of which states: "You must defend those who are helpless and have no hope. Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless."
Fifty-four percent, meanwhile, credited the passage to other sources, with President Obama cited as the most likely author by Americans (16 percent). Behind Obama, the Dalai Lama was cited as the most likely author by survey participants (nine percent), followed by Martin Luther King Jr. (eight percent), Oprah Winfrey (four percent), and U2 frontman Bono (three percent).
"The survey illustrates the reason we created 'The Poverty and Justice Bible,'" commented R. Lamar Vest, president of American Bible Society, "to highlight God's concern for the poor, marginalized and oppressed."
"The Poverty and Justice Bible seeks to challenge the notion that the Bible is outdated and proves that God – not politicians, celebrities or even our greatest activists – was the first to speak out on today's most pressing issues," added Richard Stearns, president and CEO of World Vision, an international relief organization and collaborator on the Bible project.
Other findings of the Harris Interactive survey included the percentage of adults claiming to be familiar with the Bible (80 percent) and the percentage adults who think the Bible offers the most teachings on heaven, hell, adultery, pride or jealousy (46 percent).
The survey also found that one in four men (23 percent) do not think it is their responsibility to help the poor though there are more teachings on poverty and justice than on any of the topics previously mentioned.
They Harris Interactive survey was conducted to coincide with the release of the new Poverty and Justice Bible, which highlights the more than 2,100 verses that refer to poverty and justice.
On the Web:
The Poverty and Justice Bible at JusticeBible.org.