U.S. Catholics View Pope Francis as a Change for the Better
One year into his pontificate, Pope Francis remains immensely popular among American Catholics and is widely seen as a force for positive change within the Roman Catholic Church. More than 80% of U.S. Catholics say they have a favorable view of the pontiff.
Russians Return to Religion, But Not to Church
Between 1991 and 2008, the share of Russian adults identifying as Orthodox Christian rose from 31% to 72%, according to data from the International Social Survey Programme. During the same period, the share of Russia’s population that does not identify with any religion dropped from 61% to 18%.
Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High
A third of the 198 countries studied had a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion in 2012. About three-in-ten countries had a high or very high level of government restrictions on religion, roughly the same as in 2011.
Public’s Views on Human Evolution
Six-in-ten Americans say that “humans and other living things have evolved over time,” while a third reject the idea of evolution, saying that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”
Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now
Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday.
Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments
Most Americans say there are some circumstances in which doctors and nurses should allow a patient to die, but a growing minority says that medical professionals should do everything possible to save a patient’s life in all circumstances.
To End Our Days
In recent years, legislatures and courts, religious leaders and scientists, citizens and patient advocates have all weighed in on end-of-life issues ranging from whether the terminally ill should have the right to take their own lives to how much treatment and sustenance those in the last stages of life should receive.
Religious Groups’ Views on End-of-Life Issues
Religious leaders, scholars and ethicists from 16 major American religious groups explain how their faith traditions’ teachings address physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia and other end-of-life questions.
Many Sunnis and Shias Worry About Religious Conflict
This week Sunni and Shia Muslims ushered in the Islamic New Year and the beginning of the holy month of Muharram. For Shias, the month also is a time to mourn the events that sparked the centuries-old schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims. An analysis of polls conducted in 2011-2012 finds high levels of concern about sectarian tensions in several countries where Sunnis and Shias live side by side.
In Brief: Supreme Court Revisits Legislative Prayer in Town of Greece v. Galloway
The U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the issue of legislative prayer when it hears oral arguments on Nov. 6 in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case involving a challenge to a municipality’s practice of beginning each town board meeting with an invocation.