Religious Beliefs and Political Issues
Religious beliefs continue to be influential in shaping some Americans’ views about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. Far fewer cite religion as a top influence on issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty.
Public Remains Conflicted Over Islam
Favorable views of Islam have declined since 2005, but a plurality still says Islam does not encourage violence more than other religions. More Americans agree with those who object to the building of the center in New York, but a majority also say that Muslims should have the same rights as other religious groups to build houses of worship.
Growing Number of Americans Say Obama is a Muslim
More than a year into his presidency, 18% of Americans say that Barack Obama is a Muslim. A plurality say they do not know what religion he follows. The view that president is a Muslim is highest among his political opponents. Yet the public also generally says Obama handles his religious beliefs appropriately.
Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa
In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically. In 1900, traditional African religions dominated. Since then, the numbers of both Muslims and Christians have risen into the hundreds of millions. A new survey explores how sub-Saharan Africans themselves view the role of religion in their lives and societies.
Broad Criticism of Pope Benedict’s Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal
Amid new revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI’s job ratings for handling the scandal have plummeted.
Religion Among the Millennials
By some key measures, such as affiliation with a particular faith or regular attendance at religious services, Americans ages 18 to 29 are considerably less religious than older Americans. But by other measures such as beliefs about life after death and the existence of heaven, hell and miracles they closely resemble their elders.
Global Restrictions on Religion
Since some of the most restrictive countries are very populous, nearly 70% of the world’s 6.8 billion people live in countries with severe restrictions on religion.
Many Americans Not Dogmatic About Religion
Numerous Americans attend worship services of more than one faith or denomination, and many also mix Christianity with Eastern or New Age beliefs such as reincarnation, astrology and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects. Sizeable minorities of all major U.S. religious groups say they have experienced supernatural phenomena.
GOP Seen as Friendlier to Religion than Democrats
The Democrats’ image with respect to religion fell sharply among groups inclined to dislike their party’s politics. Obama, though, is seen as friendlier to religion than is his party. Both fare better than do Hollywood, the media and scientists.
Abortion Plays Small Role in Health Reform Opposition
While most Americans oppose government funding of abortion, concern about abortion funding plays only a small role in driving opposition to the health care reform legislation. If anything, opposition to reform has declined, with currently 42% in favor and 39% opposed to the health care proposals in Congress.