Americans Share Perspective on Religion in Survey

January 13, 2001

Source: The Boston Globe

On January 13, 2001, The Boston Globe reported on a national survey of 1,507 Americans on religion and public life. It found that "Americans have a deep belief in the power of religion to solve social ills but also have a deep suspicion of too much religion in political life...A majority of those surveyed said deeply religious politicians should be willing to compromise on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and the death penalty." When asked what would happen if Americans were to become deeply religious, majorities said it is likely that volunteer work would increase, that parents would do a better job of raising their children, and that crime, materialism and greed would decrease. 25 percent thought that family values and morality can be improved without religion. Small minorities claimed to understand "very well" the basic beliefs of Islam, Judaism or evangelical Christianity. 43 percent said they understood the beliefs of Catholicism.