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October 31, 2014

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Sin City doesn’t crack top 10 among America’s least Bible-minded cities

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Steve Marcus

A Bible is shown on a table at the Atomic, 917 East Fremont St., after an inaugural pub church service in the bar Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in downtown Las Vegas.

Updated Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 | 4:01 p.m.

Maybe — just maybe — Las Vegas isn’t as sinful as we’ve been led to believe.

The American Bible Society’s annual listing of the nation’s 100 most Bible-minded cities, released last week, ranks Sin City at 90th. The ranking means Las Vegas didn’t even crack the top 10 of the nation’s least Bible-minded cities.

A spokesman for the American Bible Society did not pass judgment on Las Vegas's ranking or stereotypes about the city.

"We conducted this research because we know that cities are complex, and guesses and hunches about them are often incorrect. But we also know that God is at work in every city, and we are encouraged to see that the Bible has strong advocates in Las Vegas," said Andrew Hood, American Bible Society's director of marketing.

To determine the rankings, Barna Group, a Ventura, Calif.-based evangelical Christian polling firm, conducted telephone and online interviews with a nationwide random sample of 46,274 adults. The interviews took place in August 2013. Bible mindedness was calculated based on combined levels of regular Bible reading and residents’ belief in the Bible’s accuracy.

The study found the top Bible-minded city in America for 2014 was Chattanooga, Tenn., followed in order by Birmingham, Ala., Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va., Springfield, Mo., Shreveport, La., Charlotte, N.C., Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C./Ashville N.C., Little Rock, Ark., Jackson, Miss., and Knoxville, Tenn.

Of the top 25 Bible-minded markets, only three have a population of greater than 1 million households: Charlotte, Nashville and Dallas.

The study predictably found high rankings among Bible Belt cities. East Coast cities were most likely to bring up the rear.

As for the least Bible-minded city in the country, the American Bible Society says it’s Providence, R.I./New Bedford, Mass., followed by Albany, N.Y., Boston, San Francisco, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Buffalo, N.Y., Hartford/New Haven, Conn., Phoenix, Burlington, Vt. and Portland, Maine.

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