Of Barna Group's 10 Most-Read Articles of 2016, 5 Are Sex-Related

VENTURA, Calif.Barna Group is one of the primary polling/research groups currently serving religious conservatives. For instance, they were the ones that tracked how many evangelicals voted for Trump (79 percent) versus Clinton (18 percent); how many believe that "People can be physically healed supernaturally by God" (66 percent) and so on.

The group's founder, George Barna, was one of the featured speakers at this year's Values Voter Summit, where he disclosed such new American "trends" as that the upcoming election would "hinge on feelings not issues"; that the "American Dream" has been replaced by the "New Millenium Dream" which is characterized by a belief in "no moral truth" since "original values are no longer necessary"; and that Americans "view happiness as our primary right." He also stated that the popularity of then-candidate Bernie Sanders was "a harbinger of bad things to come," and that what the country really wants is to "elect leaders who will enforce moral laws."

The group also frequently issues reports of surveys and other studies it performs. One of its most recent ones, issued this year, is The Porn Phenomenon, for which Barna surveyed "nearly 3,000 teens, adults and Protestant youth and senior pastors about their perceptions of pornography, their use of pornography, how they feel about their use of pornography," and more. The report was issued in book form, running 160 pages, attempts to quantify everything from who searches for porn and why; where porn falls in the hierarchy of what's "moral"; how people square watching porn with their religious tenets; and lots more.

Needless to say, conservative religionists are generally obsessed with porn, so it's not too surprising that the single most popular article on the Barna website this year was "Teens & Young Adults Use Porn More Than Anyone Else," and the third was "Porn In The Digital Age: New Research Reveals 10 Trends," both of which are distillations of some of the findings from The Porn Phenomenon, focusing on porn use and where people find it, as well as whether porn is "moral or immoral."

Barna's fifth most-read article, "The End of Absolutes: America's New Moral Code," also touches on sex, since one of its findings is that 69 percent of U.S. adults agree "completely" or "somewhat" that "Any kind of sexual expression between two consenting adults is acceptable," and that except for practicing Christians, at least 40 percent of all other groups measured agreed that "moral truth" is "relative" rather than "absolute," while an average of 20 percent have "never thought about it."

"Five Ways Christianity Is Increasingly Viewed as Extremist" takes the No. 7 spot on Barna's list, and their surveys showed that more than 80 percent of their respondents believe that it's religiously extreme to "Refuse to serve someone because the customer's lifestyle conflicts with their beliefs," while 50 to 79 percent think it's extreme to "Believe that sexual relationships between people of the same sex [is] morally wrong," not to mention "Teaching their children that sexual relationships between people of the same sex [is] morally wrong" as is "Pray[ing] out loud in public for a stranger" and "Preach[ing] a religious message in a public place."

Ninth place in the Barna hierarchy delves into "What Americans Believe About Sex," and not too surprisingly, an average of those surveyed revealed that roughly two-thirds believe that "The Purpose of Sex" is "To express intimacy between two people who love each other," while an average of 45 percent agree that its main purpose is "To connect with another person in an enjoyable way." As for "To unite two adults of any gender in marriage," that got an average of 22 percent on the Barna-meter.

But the overriding point is, no matter who the Barna Group asked about nearly any sex-related subject, American culture is expressing attitudes that are more and more sexually liberal—much to the dismay, one suspects, of Barna's church-bound clients.