Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

How can secular and religious individuals share the same public space? Humility, humility and humility

Lifting up the virtue of humility may seem anachronistic in an age that extols self-adulation. But for Tomas Halik, a Czech priest and philosopher who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, the willingness of religious and secular individuals to engage in dialogue and learn from one another is essential to a civil society. “We must learn to share public space,” Halik declares.

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The Lord is their shepherd: New study reveals who reads the Bible – and why

Favorite biblical book: The Psalms. Percentage of Americans who read the Bible on their own: About half. And far and away the No. 1 reason they pick up Scripture is for personal prayer and devotion. A major new study on American Bible reading offers insights into how, why and when Americans read Scripture outside of worship.

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Online tool helps make sense of the great American middle in abortion debate

Scholars, journalists and the general public have a new tool to determine what trends are emerging as a national consensus on controversial topics such as abortion, homosexuality and the mix of science and religion. The Measurement Wizard of the Association of Religion Data Archives allows users to browse available ARDA data from some 7,700 questions asked in more than 750 major national and international surveys to analyze the major findings on hot-topic issues in religion and public life.

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As black-white gap widens, Americans do not want to talk about race

New findings from the second wave of a major study on religion and race lay bare the dramatic and growing gap in racial attitudes and experiences in America. We do not live in a post-racial nation, the 2012 Portraits of American Life Study suggests, but in a land of two Americas divided by race, and less willing than ever to find a common ground of understanding.

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U.S. congregations report major gains in accepting gays and lesbians, racial, ethnic diversity

America’s pews are becoming dramatically more welcoming to gays and lesbians and increasingly reflective of the nation’s racial and ethnic diversity, according to the latest results from a major study of U.S. congregations. Nearly three in ten U.S. congregations permit gays and lesbians in committed relationships to hold volunteer leadership positions, almost double the 19 percent of congregations in 2006-2007 that allowed such opportunities, the National Congregations Study found. And the percentage of U.S. congregations with only non-Hispanic whites declined from 20 percent in 1998 to 11 percent in 2012, the study found.

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Religion and gun control: The possibilities for change

Gun-control advocates face powerful oppostion even as President Obama vows to make it a priority in his second term. The public outrage over the Newtown school shooting does not appear to have changed many minds among evangelical Protestants who have strongly opposed stricter laws. But over the long term, several factors, from increasing migration to cities to changing attitudes among young evangelicals and the growth of Hispanic Catholics, indicate major changes may be coming.

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As religious tensions cross borders, nativist fears fuel global hostilities, restrictions

When it comes to religious tensions, what happens in one part of the world does not necessarily stay in that part of the world. Influences from abroad in recent years were reported to have contributed to religious hostilities or government restrictions in more than six in 10 countries across the globe, according to a new study.

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The power of language: Does the term Islamist increase understanding or promote prejudice?

One rarely hears activists from religious traditions other than Islam identified in a shorthand term emphasizing their faith. What American and western audiences are increasingly hearing, however, since the political and social upheaval that accompanied the Arab spring, is the term Islamist. Now there is growing concern that the label that was once welcomed by some as an alternative to more pejorative terms such as Islamic fundamentalist may itself be more a source of stereotyping than understanding.

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Sex and the church: U.S. congregations struggle with gay, lesbian issues

As President Obama comes forward to support same-sex marriage, many religious communities are still finding their way as they balance theology, experience and personal consciences on issues of sexuality. Extremists continue to judge and condemn one another, and the vitriol may ramp up as the issue becomes part of the 2012 election. But new research offers a cautionary note for those who would try to fit members of different religious groups into monolithic boxes on gay and lesbian issues.

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Diversity rising: Census shows Mormons, nondenominational churches, Muslims spreading out across U.S.

The U.S. religious landscape is shifting, and no one may be more thankful than GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. The 2010 U.S. Religion Census, now available on the Association of Religion Data Archives, found that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gained the most regular members in the last 10 years. But the denomination is not the only one spreading its wings nationally in a time of increasing religious diversity
Taken together, nondenominational and independent churches may now be considered the third largest religious group in the country.

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