Faith Digest: evangelical support for immigration reform declines

Faith Digest: Evangelical support for immigration reform declines

Majorities of every religious group except for white evangelical Protestants support a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants, according to a poll from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution. The poll shows support for immigration reform among white evangelicals has seen an 8-point drop over the past year, to 48 percent. Among white mainline Protestants, 58 percent are supportive, a proportion topped by minority Protestants at 62 percent, Catholics at 63 percent and religiously unaffiliated Americans at 68 percent. The poll of 1,538 adults, supported by the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, was conducted between April 7 and 27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

One American in five describes Bible as ancient fables. America could be experiencing a decline of literalism and the rise of secularism, according to one interpretation of a recent Gallup Poll. open bible300The poll, which measured Americans’ beliefs about the Bible, found 28 percent of Americans believe the Bible is the literal word of God—close to the lowest point ever found in the survey. About 40 percent of Americans said the same thing in the late 1970s. Meanwhile, about one in five Americans views the Bible in secular terms, described in the poll as ancient “fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man.” This was up from 10 percent in the late 1970s. About half—47 percent—of Americans continue to say the Bible is the “inspired” word of God not to be taken literally, which has remained relatively stable over time. Overall acceptance of the Bible as being the “inspired” or “actual” word of God is about the same percentage of Americans identifying themselves as Christian—76 percent. At the same time, the 21 percent of Americans who view the Bible in more secular terms closely mirrors the 22 percent who identify with another religion or no religion.

Majority supports contraception requirement. A new poll reveals more than six in 10 Americans say publicly held corporations should be required to provide employees with health insurance plans that include no-cost contraception coverage, with smaller majorities saying the same for privately held corporations and small business. The Public Religion Research Institute poll found majority support for requiring publicly held corporations (61 percent) and privately owned corporations such as Hobby Lobby (57 percent) to provide contraception coverage at no cost to their employees. In addition, most Americans said religiously affiliated hospitals (56 percent) and religiously affiliated colleges (52 percent) should be covered by the mandate. The poll found less support (51 percent) for applying the mandate to privately owned small businesses; 53 percent oppose applying the mandate to all institutions, including churches and houses of worship, while 42 percent said it should apply to them.

Senate approves prayer plaque for World War II monument. The U.S. Senate by unanimous consent passed a bill to include a prayer plaque at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered the prayer to be included on the plaque during a radio broadcast. Millions of Americans heard Roosevelt’s prayer on the morning of the D-Day invasion, the Allied push into Europe that eventually led to the end of the conflict. “O Lord, give us Faith,” the prayer reads in part. “Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade.” It concludes: “Thy will be done, Almighty God.” The U.S. House will have to approve the bill, known as the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2013, before it heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature. But political pundits say there is little doubt the House will approve the measure since it passed a similar version of the bill last year.

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