At the Intersection of Religion, Values & Public Life
December 2010
In This Issue
PRRI at Washington Post On Faith
10 Findings in 2010
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Our Take: PRRI Op-eds at the Washington Post's On Faith Section

How Aunt Susan may Quell the Christmas Wars
New research suggests that the end of the so-called "Christmas wars"--battles over how exclusively Christian public greetings or holiday displays should be--may come from a surprising place: Aunt Susan.

American Exceptionalism: Divine Hall Pass?
American exceptionalism is alive and well. But exceptionalism-as-divine-hall-pass should concern those who believe divine exceptionalism is dependent upon the moral behavior of the nation rather than the other way around.

Culture's last stand? Majorities support open military service for gays
Two hunkered down demographic groups (white evangelicals and Republicans) may be waging what could be called "culture's last stand."

The Shotgun Marriage of Tea Party & Evangelicals
A close look at rank and file members of these groups suggests that, as it is with many couples who rush to the altar, the road ahead may not be entirely smooth.

Upcoming Research

* Views of Millennials on Reproductive Rights
* Pluralism, civic integration & attitudes towards Islam
* Attitudes on religion, morality, & LGBT issues
* Economic Issues & Religion


Thanks for following our work at Public Religion Research Institute. This issue lays out our take on the top 10 research findings on religion & politics in 2010. If you've been enriched by PRRI's work this year, we hope you'll consider making a tax-deductible contribution to PRRI online below--even small gifts of $10 or $20 help us keep bringing you new insights at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.
Religion & Politics by the Numbers: 10 Findings in 2010

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

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

3. 57% of Americans are opposed to allowing NY Muslims to build an Islamic center and mosque two blocks from ground zero, but 76% 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 5 times more likely to give an "F" (24%) than an "A" (5%) 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. 45% of Americans say the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while a plurality (49%) disagree.

6. If another vote similar to Proposition 8 were held now, a majority (51%) 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%), keeping families together (80%), 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 in 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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Sincerely,Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.

Robert P. Jones, Ph.D.
CEO, Public Religion Research Institute