The U.S. is a baffling place at times.
Hot on the heels of the Public Religion Research Institute findings that nearly three in ten Americans believe God decides the outcome of sporting events, the Barna Group find that most Americans believe sports figures have a greater influence than do professional clergy or other faith leaders.
By more than a three-to-one margin, Americans believe professional sports players have more influence on society than do faith leaders. Overall, about two-thirds of Americans (64%) say they think pro athletes have more influence in American society today than do professional faith leaders (19%). Others say both (8%) have equal influence or are not sure (10%).
Of course, as the research goes on to say, Americans love a mash-up of sport and faith, with a whopping 83% of Americans aware of Tim Tebow; 73% feel favorably about his public discussion of faith.