Unlike much of the rest of America, a survey finds that Alabama rates well in biblical literacy:
For example, nearly 70 percent of respondents to last week's Press-Register/University of South Alabama survey correctly named all four canonical Gospels. "They don't call it the Bible Belt for nothing," said Keith Nicholls, a political scientist and director of the USA Polling Group, which conducted the poll.
Most Americans, however, can't identify even one of the four Gospels, according to polls cited by Boston University professor Stephen Prothero, who has received national acclaim for his recent book titled "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know -- and Doesn't."
The Press-Register/USA poll of 404 adults statewide has a margin of error of 5 percentage points. The survey included some questions that were similar to ones that Prothero has asked his Boston University students.
More than 70 percent of the Alabama respondents knew the location that the Bible identifies as Jesus' birthplace (Bethlehem) and nearly 90 percent correctly stated that a famous phrase from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God" -- comes from the Bible.
It's nice to be in Alabama!