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Majority of Americans say God "rewards" faithful athletes

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As the Super Bowl looms, the thoughts of some sports fans turn to the proverbial Big Man Upstairs.

A majority of Americans (53 percent) believe that “God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success, compared to 42 percent who disagree.” So says a poll released Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute.

Among minority Christians, though, that number is 72 percent. Among evangelicals, it’s 67 percent, followed by Catholics (56 percent) and mainline Protestants (49 percent).

But does the Creator actually influence the game?

“Americans are less likely to believe that God plays a role in the outcome of sporting events than they are to believe God rewards religious athletes,” the poll says.

Twenty seven percent of Americans agree that God determines which team wins; 25 percent of Republicans 28 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of independents agree.

The faithful are more certain. Among minority Christian, it’s 40 percent, followed by evangelicals (38 percent), Catholics (29 percent) and mainline Protestants (19 percent).

The poll of 1,033 U.S. adults was conducted Jan. 16-20.

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