George Barna: Change They Really Didn’t Believe In

George Barna’s latest poll on how the economic crash is affecting churches is spot on, as anyone involved in church finance will attest:

During the past three months, one of the ways that adults have adjusted to their financial hardships has been by reducing their charitable giving. In total, one out of every five households (20%) has decreased its giving to churches or other religious centers.

Church cutbacks have been most common among downscale households (30%) and those families which are struggling with “serious financial debt” (43%). Not surprisingly, 31% of those who have lost 20% or more of their retirement fund value have sliced their church donations, as have 29% of the people who have lost 20% or more of the value in their stock portfolio.

The degree of reduction in giving is significant for churches. Among people who have decreased giving to churches and religious centers, 19% dropped their giving by as much as 20%, 5% decreased their generosity by 21% to 49%, 17% reduced their giving by half, and 11% sliced their provision by more than half. In addition, 22% said they had stopped their giving altogether.

But then there’s this:

On average, Americans believe it will take about three years before the economy fully recovers. Only one out of four adults (24%) said the economy would completely recover within a year; 30% said it would take two or three years; and 32% said it would take more than three years. A small proportion (2%) said they do not believe the economy will ever completely recover.

The most pessimistic people are Asians, upscale adults, and sociopolitical liberals. The study also showed that people who voted for Barack Obama are significantly more likely to expect a prolonged period of recovery than are people who voted for John McCain. (emphasis mine)

Huh?  The messianic adulation (certainly in the MSM) accorded to Barack Obama would lead one to believe that his followers expect great things.  But evidently they don’t.  It explains, perhaps, why his base isn’t going more postal than it is over his cautionary statements regarding the speed of his response to the crisis.  For someone like me who is given to cynical pessimism, it makes one wonder: why did these people go bananas over this guy?

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