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News Stories About Our Biblical Illiteracy

A stream of opinion surveys and widely reported anecdotes document an alarming decline in biblical literacy among Americans; that is, there is ignorance of key biblical texts, stories, characters, doctrines, themes, rituals, and symbols. For example, when asked in January 2004 to name his favorite book of the New Testament, presidential candidate Howard Dean, answered, "Job." At a November 2, 2011, briefing, White House press secretary Jay Carney elaborated on the President Obama's invocation of God in rebuking the House of Representatives for not acting more quickly on a jobs bill. "I believe the phrase from the Bible is," Carney said, "'The Lord helps those who help themselves'" The White House later issued a correction, noting, "This common phrase does not appear in the Bible."

On April 1, 2013, the New York Times issued the following correction of an article on Pope Francis's first Easter message: "An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the Christian holiday of Easter. It is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, not his resurrection into heaven."

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