Religion in the News: 2009
Pope Benedict XVI, though he made no visits to the United States last year, was the subject of two of the top 10 religion stories, while the Obama administration accounted for three of the top 10 religion-focused storylines during the year
Mixed Views of Hamas and Hezbollah in Largely Muslim Nations
A survey of Muslims in eight countries and the Palestinian territories finds little enthusiasm for the extremist Islamic organizations, little support for Muslim political leaders and the widespread perception of a Sunni-Shia conflict. Most Muslims are also convinced there is a struggle between modernization and fundamentalists, and publics overwhelmingly support educating girls and boys equally.
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.
Little Support for Terrorism Among Muslim Americans
The Pew Research Center’s comprehensive portrait of the Muslim American population suggests that, despite recent events, America is less likely to be a fertile breeding ground for terrorism than are Muslim minority communities in other countries.
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.
Sikh-Americans and Religious Liberty
With their religious beliefs requiring distinctive elements of dress and appearance — wearing a turban, keeping hair and beards uncut, carrying a kirpan — Sikhs have been a part of many legal disputes. In an interview, church-state scholar Robert W. Tuttle discusses religious liberty and accommodation issues involving Sikh-Americans.
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.
Muslims Widely Seen As Facing Discrimination
Nearly six-in-ten say Muslims are subject to a lot of discrimination, far more than say the same about Jews, evangelical Christians, atheists or Mormons. A new survey also finds the public is more likely to see differences rather than similarities between their own religion and every other religion tested, with the sole exception of Protestantism.
No Decline in Belief That Obama is a Muslim
More than two months into Barack Obama’s presidency, as many people incorrectly identify him as a Muslim as did so during the 2008 campaign with white evangelicals and Republicans most likely to misidentify his religious affiliation.
Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality
Most members of mainline denominations say society should accept homosexuality.