ComRes released two tranches of data from its latest Cpanel survey on 20 and 24 December. The study was undertaken among an online sample of 559 practising UK Christians aged 18 and over between 2 and 14 December 2011.
One set of tables featured the attitudes of churchgoers to Christmas. They were in fairly downbeat mood, to judge by the proportion agreeing with specific statements about the festival:
- 93% that the true meaning of Christmas has been devalued
- 88% that Christmas today is more about presents than Jesus
- 86% that Christmas in the UK is seen as a cultural rather than religious holiday
Although 70% concurred that Christmas should be for everyone and not just Christians, only a minority (36%) argued that more should be done to include people of other faiths in the celebration of Christmas, with 45% dissenting.
The Christmas tables can be found at:
The second set of questions, posed on behalf of Premier Christian Media Trust, related to the anti-capitalist Occupy London tent city which has been outside St Paul’s Cathedral since 15 October. Judgment of the courts has been reserved until at least 11 January on the City of London Corporation’s legal action to evict the protestors.
51% of practising Christians sympathized with the sentiments of Occupy London (against 29% who did not), albeit just one-quarter (27%) were certain that Jesus would have supported the movement (with 37% in disagreement and 36% unsure).
But 56% contended that, by camping outside St Paul’s Cathedral, the protestors were actually targeting the Church of England, rather than the financial services sector. The same number disagreed that the protestors had the right to stay adjacent to the Cathedral.
Notwithstanding, Christians were divided about what action should be taken. While 44% agreed that the police should clear the protest camp, 37% said the opposite. Backing for forcible eviction stood at just 24%, compared with 56% who opposed any such step.
The Anglican establishment was criticized by churchgoers for its response to Occupy London. 66% accused it of mishandling the affair, and 56% of poor communication with the media about it.
Just 10% believed that Jesus would have endorsed the Church of England’s response to the protests (38% disagreeing and 51% uncertain), with 63% calling for it to speak out more strongly against the financial services sector.
The relatively small size of the sample means that breaks by demographics, which are reported by ComRes, should be interpreted with caution.
Replies by the 159 Anglicans do not seem to differ radically from those of non-Anglicans. However, older churchgoers were notably less well-disposed to Occupy London than younger ones.
The Cpanel Occupy London tables are available at:
Variations in question-wording and fieldwork dates make it difficult to compare churchgoers’ views about Occupy London with those of the general public, the latter already covered by BRIN in three posts which may be traced through: