Teens: Obama and Jesus Equal


Obama and Jesus Equal

By Jennifer LeClaire

Whether you have a teenager in your home or just see them in the malls, it’s clear that the likes and dislikes of this age group are making an impact on America’s cultural identity. But where do role models come into play? That’s the subject of a new Barna study.

Barna reports that the role models are important because they influence the shape and substance of the next generation of churchgoers, consumers and citizens. The research group set out to determine who 13- to 17-year-olds admire most, other than their parents.

Despite excluding parents, Barna reveals that 37 percent of teens named other family members. Meanwhile, 11 percent mentioned teachers and coaches, 9 percent named friends, and a mere 6 percent named pastors or other religious leaders they know personally.

Moving beyond personal connections, Barna found that entertainers (including musicians and actors) were named by 6% of teens, followed by sports heroes (5%), political leaders (4%), faith leaders (4%), business leaders (1%), authors (1%), science and medical professionals (1%), other artists (1%), and members of the military (1%).

The high-profile leaders most commonly named were President Obama (3%) and Jesus Christ (3%). Tyra Banks, Rob Dyrdrek, Lady Gaga, Demi Lovato, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey were among the celebrities named. The only athletes who earned multiple mentions were LeBron James, Peyton Manning, Michael Phelps, Mike Tyson and David Wright. Others mentioned were Mahatma Gandhi, the Pope, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The reasons for admiring these folks? It boiled down to personality and inspiration. Barna reports that the most common reasons teens admired President Obama were his hard work and self-confidence. Jesus connects with teens because of his concern for others and being an example to follow.

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And let the debate begin…..