Kirk Cameron can breathe easy: the War on Christmas is over. Jesus won.
That's the implication of a new Pew Research Center survey that finds nearly three-quarters of Americans -- 73 percent -- believe that Jesus was literally born to a virgin. This is especially surprising when you consider that only one third of Americans say that the Bible is the word of God and should be understood literally.
In other words, about 40 percent of Americans say the Bible should, in general, not be taken literally, but they nevertheless believe in the virgin birth. In addition, 81 percent say Jesus was laid in a manger, 75 percent say that the three wise men brought him gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh, and 74 percent say that his birth was announced by an angel to the shepherds.
In all, Pew reports that 65 percent of Americans believe all four key elements of the Christmas story are to be taken literally. This is more than the percentage who express confidence in evolution, global warming, or the efficacy of vaccines.
Interestingly, women are considerably more likely than men to believe in all four elements of the Christmas story.
Another sign that the War on Christmas is over: 72 percent of Americans say nativity scenes should be allowed on government property. 44 percent say nativity scenes should be allowed even if symbols from other religious faiths are prohibited. Only one in five Americans say nativity scenes shouldn't be allowed on government property at all.
Or take this datapoint, from 2012: when asked whether they prefer "Merry Christmas" or a generic holiday greeting, a plurality said it didn't matter. Among those with a preference, Americans preferred "Merry Christmas" by a 4-to-1 margin. Even non-religious Americans prefer "Merry Christmas" by nearly 3-to-1.
So, looking at this data, it's hard to find a true War on Christmas.