…open the door and where’s all the people?
Pew Research Center’s most recent poll includes some bad news for the Good News: nearly three-quarters of Americans think religion is losing its influence. The qualifier in this poll is that while most of the nation thinks religion is no longer as important as it once was, just as many think that’s a bad thing for this nation on the whole.
More than half of my PR career has revolved around the Church. From megachurch pastors to non-profit start-ups, most of the people I have personally represented are morally sound, ethically together, and personally vested in helping their community.
Unfortunately, there are a few sour apples in that gaggle of clients, which makes me think this poll reflects more disappointment and apathy than anything else.
What will the numbers say to you?
Among the Pew Forum report’s key findings:
- A larger share of the general public sees the Republican Party as friendly toward religion (47%) than sees the Democratic Party that way (29%).
- A declining share of Americans see the Obama administration as friendly toward religion; 30% now say the Obama administration is friendly toward religion, down 7 points since 2009.
- About six-in-ten Americans say it is important for members of Congress to have strong religious beliefs (59%), a figure that has not changed significantly since the most recent midterm campaign in 2010.
- Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (65%) think gays and lesbians face a lot of discrimination in the U.S. today, and half or more say the same about Hispanics (50%), blacks (54%) and Muslims (59%). Fewer think that Jews (32%), evangelical Christians (31%), atheists (27%) and Catholics (19%) face a lot of discrimination today.
- About a third of evangelical Christians (34%), including 42% of white evangelical Protestants, and one-in-five Catholics (18%) say it has become more difficult to be a member of their religious group in recent years.
- Roughly one-in-ten religious “nones” (8%) say it has become harder to be a person with no religion in the U.S. in recent years, while 31% say it has become easier. About half or more in each of these groups say the ease or difficulty of being a member of their group hasn’t changed much either way.
The question for those who attend a church, pray on a regular basis, or even just appreciate faith from afar: do these statistics scare you or just confirm how you already feel?