Thursday, August 28, 2008

Religion: Public Life

Good article by Collen Carroll Campbell from Ethics & Public Policy Center

Religion's Essential Contribution to Public Life

Should religion steer clear of politics? If media commentaries about last week's Pew Research Center poll on the subject are any indication, the answer from Americans is yes.

The national survey found that 52 percent of respondents believe that churches and other houses of worship should not express their views on day-to-day social and political questions. That's up from 44 percent in 2004.

The finding has delighted many secular pundits, who see it as proof that Americans agree with their aim of shooing religious values and voices from the public square. Many also interpret the poll as a resounding public rejection of religious conservatives who seek to influence politics.

There are several problems with those readings. For starters, more than 70 percent of Americans told Pew pollsters that a president should have strong
religious beliefs, and 64 percent said they believe politicians today express their religious beliefs too little or the right amount. That's not exactly the profile of a nation ready to eject God from political life.

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