Thursday, June 26, 2008

Undistorting Faith

The blogosphere is agog over the massive new U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public, which found that over 90% of Americans believe in God (including 20% of self-described athiests!) and over 70% believe that their religion is not the only path to God. You can read a good summary of the study's findings at Episcopal Cafe. Although I am looking forward to using the survey in my upcoming thesis on the religious right, I certainly wasn't planning to add my two cents here on Wayward, as I have nothing original to say about it. But then I saw this alert from Faithful Democracy, and my feelings changed:

Early this week, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a groundbreaking survey of 35,000 Americans documenting the diversity and tolerance of people of faith and the growing consensus around issues like poverty and the environment.

But what religion story dominated the cable networks yesterday? James Dobson attacking Sen. Barack Obama for a speach he gave two years ago on his faith. In fact, on Tuesday, June 24, Dr. Dobson was mentioned a total of 189 times on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. The landmark Pew survey? Just 8.

This is exactly what I hate about the mainstream media, and the religious right. Over the last few years, we have seen the MSM give in to conservative Christianity's definitions of words like "evangelical," "faith-based," and even "Christian." Thanks to the media's distorted coverage of religion, many people now see Christianity as little more than a bunco of fringe lunatics foaming at the mouth about same-sex marriage, abortion, and hell, never mind The Episcopal Church's commitment to the MDGs or the impressive work of Lutheran Social Serivces. This is one of the main reasons I hope to take Holy Orders - to help change the public understanding of the Church's mission. Please, take a moment to sign Faithful Democracy's petition asking the media to cover the true facts of faith at least as much as they cover the rantings of one Colorado psychologist.

On another note, I also found this Pew finding interesting, and encouraging. From Politico's Huddle newsletter:

Writing for The WSJ, BeliefNet's Steven Waldman says: 'The God Gap is Gone.' Forty-three percent of those who attend church weekly or more say they're Republicans (40 percent call themselves Democrats), but 'by a variety of other measures,' the new Pew religion poll finds Democrats 'have pulled even or ahead among the religious.'

Among those who pray at least daily, there are more Ds than Rs. Catholics who attend Mass weekly break for the Dems. And of the 10 religious groups checked in the poll, only two -- Mormons and evangelicals -- still have majorities 'who identify themselves as Republicans,' Waldman says.

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Well after Huckabee lost in the primaries most conservative Christians probably felt betrayed by their party. I know a few people in that boat; among them my mother.