Bible can help rid US of nastiness in politics, survey results suggest

From near and far some of the politics espoused in U.S. electioneering has seemed disrespectful with arguments swirling for bigotry, allowing waterboarding and encouraging more nuclear powers in countries such as Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama has called the current election cycle "vulgar," suggesting that the tenor of the current presidential campaign is divisive and damaging to the reputation of the United States, says the American Bible Society.

"It seems that many Americans agree," says the society.

In the 2016 State of the Bible: The Bible and Politics released March 30, American Bible Society found that 51 percent of American adults surveyed think politics would be more civil if politicians read the Bible on a daily basis.

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In addition, 53 percent of those surveyed believe politicians would be more effective if they read the Bible on a regular basis.

"Americans still believe the Bible has the power to improve the most uncertain or tumultuous of life's challenges - even politics - when God's Word is allowed to influence them," said Andrew Hood, director of communications of American Bible Society.

"At American Bible Society, we see the transforming power of Scripture everyday, from broken families being restored to men and women overcoming trauma to teens being released from addiction.

The survey was commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted by Barna Group.

It shows that nearly half of Americans (46 percent) believe the Bible has too little influence in society, while those who think the Bible has too much influence has waned to just 19 percent; down 13 percent from the 2011 report.

Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Americans surveyed - 80 percent - view the Bible as sacred literature, a percentage unchanged from last year. And more Americans, 66 percent compared with 69 percent in 2015, also agree that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.

"We have a 10-year goal of seeing 100 million people in the U.S. experience the transforming power of the Bible by engaging with it. Whether a politician or a preacher, a truck driver or a teacher, all can have their lives positively changed by God's Word," says Hood.

The State of the Bible is an annual report from American Bible Society on behavior and beliefs about the Bible among adults in the U.S. For more information about the latest State of the Bible, visit AmericanBible.org.

"From the 10 commandments to the golden rule, the Bible certainly contains principles for political discourse - even for the non-Christian," says Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group.

"And for Americans, who are steeped in both a historical and present Christian cultural influence, the Bible remains an important moral document, not just a religious one.

"It's no wonder that, when two-thirds of the population sees a book as having everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, that they would also see that book as a valuable rubric for public civility. And who among us wouldn't mind seeing a candidate turn the other cheek once in a while?"

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