The Pew Research Center released the results of their latest poll on Religion and Politics last week and the numbers are interesting, as well as the reporting on it.
For example, the New York Times reported that 62% of Americans believe President Bush mixes faith with governing in just the right amount and left it at that, giving the impression that a third of Americans were unhappy with him mixing his faith and governing. But what the newspaper doesn’t tell you is that an additional 11 percent doesn’t think he mixes his faith enough with governing and 13 percent don’t know. That leaves just 14 percent, or about 3 out of 20 people, who think he mixes his faith too much with his governing.
Other parts of the poll are not as encouraging. In the section on gay marriage, we find that there is declining opposition to gay marriage, especially among Catholics and mainline Protestants.
Opposition to gay marriage among white mainline Protestants dropped from 63% seven years ago to 44% today. White Catholic opposition also dropped 19 points (from 60% to 41%) over this same time period. Even among seculars, who were more supportive of gay marriage than most other groups in 1996, there is less opposition today: 46% opposed gay marriage in 1996, compared with only 30% who do so now.
While a majority of people overall still oppose gay marriage, the opposition is declining. Get this: more Catholics favor gay marriage (47 percent) than oppose it (41 percent). Clearly there is a failure in catechesis in the Church today. But then we knew that on abortion and contraception and everything else. I just don’t see where the bishops or most of the laity see it as the crisis that it is. At least they don’t act like it. And the solution is not more meetings in hotel ballrooms, that’s for sure.
Oh, another interesting point is that most people see the Republican Party as more friendly to religion that the Democrats.