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Gallup Poll finds many U.S. teens are lacking in basic Bible knowledge

WASHINGTON (AP)- There's considerable ignorance about the Bible among U.S. teens, judging from a Gallup Poll released Tuesday.

Fewer than half the 1,002 youths polled knew that Jesus turned water into wine at the Cana wedding, and nearly two-thirds couldn't identify a quote from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount or the relation of the road to Damascus to the Apostle Paul's conversion. About one-in-10 thought Moses was one of Jesus' 12 apostles.

The poll, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, accompanied a report issued by the Bible Literacy Project of Fairfax, Va.

The literary project interviewed 41 high school English teachers who are regarded as outstanding by their colleagues: Forty of those teachers said knowledge of the Bible gives students a distinct educational advantage.

In the Fall of 2005 the nonpartisan BLP, which promotes academic study of the Bible, plans to release a textbook designed for public school use.

Speaking for the project, Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center said Americans are misinformed about the fact that nonsectarian academic study of the Bible in public schools is legal. He said major secular educational organizations and a range of religious denominations have issued a consensus statement on how to properly conduct such Bible classes.


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