The Public Religion Research Institute team posted their take on the top religion and politics research findings from 2010. These issues are sure to be with us in the new year and into the 2012 campaigns.
1. Nearly half, or 47 percent, of Americans who identify with the tea party movement also identify with the Christian right.
2. The Pew Research Center found that nearly one in five Americans, or 18 percent, wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim, and PRRI found a majority of Americans (51 percent) say his religious beliefs are different from their own.
3. In America, 57 percent of the people are opposed to allowing an Islamic center and mosque to be built two blocks from ground zero in New York, but 76 percent say they would support Muslims building a mosque in their local community if they followed the same regulations as other religious groups.
4. Americans are about five times more likely to give an F (24 percent) rather than an A (5 percent) to churches for their handling of homosexuality, and two-thirds see connections between messages coming from America’s churches and higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth.
5. In America, 45 percent of people say the values of Islam are at odds with American values and way of life, while a plurality (49 percent) disagree.
6. If another vote similar to Proposition 8 were held now, a majority (51 percent) of Californians say they would vote to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
7. At least seven in 10 Americans say that protecting the dignity of every person (82 percent), keeping families together (80 percent) and the golden rule are important values that should guide immigration reform.
8. In his new book, “American Grace,” Robert Putnam found that between one-third and one-half of all American marriages are in interfaith marriages, and roughly one-third of Americans have switched religions at some point in their lives.
9. Despite high levels of religiosity, Pew Research Center found, on average, that Americans only answered about half of 32 questions correctly on a U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey.
10. The 2010 congressional election revealed relatively stable voting patterns by religion compared with past elections. GOP candidates held an advantage among white Christians, while Democratic candidates held an advantage among minority Christians and the unaffiliated.
And an 11th, for 2011. Nearly six in 10 Americans affirm American exceptionalism, that God has granted America a special role in human history. Those affirming this view are more likely to support military interventions and to say torture is sometimes justified.
Public Religion Research Institute is a non-profit, nonpartisan research and education organization specializing in work at the intersection of religion, values and public life.