One in five Americans use phones in church

According to a study, Americans are torn in their worship. Thirty-five percent also admit to using phones in movie theaters.

This pastor had enough of cell phones in church.
911luidao/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Whenever I call Heavens Above, I never seem to get a reply.

Perhaps that is, in itself, a reply.

There are those, however, who must be trying harder -- or even getting some results.

I make this generous assumption on the basis of research that has just descended upon me. It seems that fully 19 percent of Americans admit to using their phones in church -- or their other places of worship.

Yes, of course they could be shopping for a new outfit or calling their new illicit friend. I prefer to think, though, that some have a hotline to Upstairs.

I am not sure that the sponsor of this research -- mobile verification and payments company Jumio -- would reach the same conclusion.

Indeed, its representatives theorize that, quite simply, Americans and their phones are seldom parted. Some proof of this is evident in the video I have embedded, in which a pastor smashes the phone of a woman who is talking during a service.

This survey claims that 72 percent of Americans say they are almost always within 5 feet of their smart device -- 35 percent concede they use their phones in movie theaters, a figure which seems mendaciously small to me.

Thirty-three percent say, yes, they do use their phones on a dinner date.

Which is why, perhaps, restaurants like San Francisco's sublime La Ciccia ask very politely on their menu for you not to use phones, cameras, or laptops while you are enjoying, say, sublime octopus.

Naturally, the nice people at Harris Interactive who performed this survey delved deeper into the relationship sphere; 9 percent of respondents did admit to using their phones during sex.

It is not known how many of these simply used their phone to scream at their best friend or pastor: "Get me out of here!"

It is, though, the worship-based confession that is the most disturbing.

If it is true that a sizable chunk of humanity cannot even turn its Galaxy or iPhone off in order to consider the truer -- and hopefully more lasting -- meanings of life, then what hope is there?

That's why I have to cling to the idea that at least some are trying to have an even more personal -- or at least socially networked -- conversation with their maker.

After all, God has more than 2.1 million followers on Facebook.