George Gallup Promotes Bible Study Through Children's Intl. Arts Festival

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With 12 dude ranch family vacations as prizes, Bible study among kids should receive a significant boost through the Children's International Arts Festival. Pollster George Gallup, Jr. has agreed to serve as honorary chairman.

Bible study or the lack thereof has been the focus of many Gallup Polls. George Gallup, Jr. has devoted more than 50 years to conducting Gallup Polls that assess what Americans believe and know about the Bible. In 2003, nearly half of survey respondents (49 percent) reported they believe the Bible has decisive authority over what they say and do, yet only 28 percent said they regularly study the Bible to find direction in life.

"Americans have a reverence for the Bible, but too many of them don't read it," said Gallup.

To help close the gap between Bible reverence and reading, Gallup has agreed to serve as honorary chairman of the Children's International Arts Festival. This global effort started by syndicated columnist Carey Kinsolving encourages children to answer Bible questions and illustrate them for online publication and significant prizes.

"Twelve dude ranch owners have come together to offer family vacations for 12 of our winners," said Kinsolving. "The best children's writing and drawing will be published in the 'Kids Color Bible Gospel of John,' and the best of the best will ride horses with their families on some of the most beautiful ranches in North America."

Entry forms can be found at http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org. There is no entry fee. Although entries will be accepted through March 31, 2009, Kinsolving urges immediate action. He says some winners and their families will visit dude ranches this summer.

Kinsolving said he asked Gallup to serve as honorary chairman of the international festival because his polling demonstrates that studying the Bible and applying it transforms lives and society. "George Gallup is a pioneer who made the spiritual world more tangible," said Kinsolving. "When he started surveying to explore people's spiritual lives in the early 1950s, this was virgin territory."

"A mountain of survey data shows that when educational background and other variables are held constant, persons who are 'highly spiritually committed' are far less likely to engage in antisocial behavior than those less committed," said Gallup. "They have lower rates of crime, excessive alcohol use, and drug addiction than other groups.

"They are more hopeful about the future and experience greater joy in life. They contribute more time helping people who are burdened with physical and emotional needs. They are less likely to be racist, and are more giving and forgiving," continued Gallup.

A 2002 Gallup Poll found that 93 percent of Americans own a Bible. Gallup and Kinsolving want to see the Bible brought out of bookcases and put into the lives of children. They believe the Children's International Arts Festival featured on the Kids Talk About God website (http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org) is a step in the right direction toward systematic Bible study.

To illustrate the state of Bible illiteracy in America, a 2007 article in USA Today reported that 50 percent of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married. In 2000, Gallup reported that fewer than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis), only one-third know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount and one-quarter do not know what is celebrated on Easter.

"I am pleased to serve as honorary chairman of the Children's International Arts Festival because the festival provides children with incentives to study the Bible," said Gallup. "Parents and teachers will have a wonderful tool to motivate young people to read, study and think about the Gospel of John."

KidsTalkAboutGod.org is a non-denominational, Christian ministry that empowers children by publishing their faith expressions and making them available without charge to website visitors. Visitors may download art and Bible lessons for free. As a newspaper column, Kids Talk About God has been in syndication for more than seven years. Much of the polling data quoted in this article was research done for the American Bible Society.

Note to Editors: To read George Gallup's letter of acceptance, please visit this link: http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/gallup. To download photos of participating dude ranches or children's art, please visit the following link: http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/press.

Note to Editors: The Kids Talk About God weekly newspaper column may be received by email without charge by subscribing at http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/column. Editors who wish to pay for the column may contact Creators Syndicate. To read sample columns, please visit the Kids Talk About God column archive: http://www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/archive.

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