30 Dec

Top 10 Religion and Politics Research Findings of 2010

The O’Leary: Check out #11. When you think you are the “chosen” people, anything goes. As in Israel, as in America.


Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.

Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.

CEO and Founder, Public Religion Research Institute

The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) team put our heads together and came up with the following top religion and politics research findings in 2010. These issues are sure to follow us into the new year. Let us know in the comment stream what you would add to the list.

1. Nearly half (47 percent) of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement also identify with the Christian right.

2. Pew found that nearly 1-in-5 (18 percent) Americans wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim, and PRRI found a majority (51 percent) say his religious beliefs are different from their own.

3. Fifty-seven percent of Americans are opposed to allowing NY Muslims to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, but 76 percent say they would support Muslims building a mosque in their local community if they followed the same regulations as other religious groups.

4. Americans are about five times more likely to give an “F” (24 percent) than an “A” (5 percent) to churches for their handling of homosexuality. Two-thirds see connections between messages coming from America’s churches and higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth.

5. Forty-five percent of Americans say the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while a plurality (49 percent) disagree.

6. If another vote similar to Proposition 8 were held now, a majority (51 percent) of Californians say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

7. At least 7-in-10 Americans say that protecting the dignity of every person (82 percent), keeping families together (80 percent), and the Golden Rule are important values that should guide immigration reform.

8. In his new book American Grace, Robert Putnam found that between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are interfaith marriages, and roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives.

9. Despite high levels of religiosity, Pew found on average that Americans only answered about half of 32 questions correctly on their Religious Knowledge Survey.

10. The 2010 congressional election revealed relatively stable voting patterns by religion compared to past elections. GOP candidates held an advantage among white Christians, while Democratic candidates held an advantage among minority Christians and the unaffiliated.

And 11 for 2011. Nearly 6-in-10 Americans affirm American exceptionalism, that God has granted America a special role in human history. Those affirming this view are more likely to support military interventions and to say torture is sometimes justified.

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