The religious status of the Americans is highly diversified with beliefs and practices. Over the years, different religious faiths have emerged while others have also perished. Religious freedom in America is in a redefining stage (D'Antonio 45). This is because the American secular sector is in the process of reducing the dominance of religious institutions and control how faith affect public life. Our culture views churches as troublesome, reactionary forces, and backward. The society also sees the church as anti-gay, anti-scientist, and anti-women. They generally see the church as an anti-progress towards development.
Statistics show that more than 75% of Americans are Christians and about 20% have no religious affiliation. Out of the total Christians, American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) documents that 51% are Protestants, while 24% profess catholic belief (Livezey 78). ARIS also shows that 4% of the total population professes other religious beliefs (Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism).
Recently, Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) releases data on the changing face of America. From the research, there has been a decrease in the number of white-protestants. Even those who professed Christianity are becoming less white. Furthermore, the number of unaffiliated citizens with no religious believe is poised to rise (Duncan 34). This has focused the youth who are three times more likely not to have any religious affiliation as senior American citizens. Other non-Christian religious groups will also rise in the coming years.
It is evident religion has greatly affected our public opinion on current controversial issues like same sex marriage, climate change, our attitudes towards war and warfare with various viewpoints on the issues. There have been arguments both for and against same sex marriages on religious grounds based on religious doctrines. The majority of the world religion affiliations strongly oppose same sex marriage, but the number of those involved in same sex marriage from the religious dominations is in the rise.
There are theologically liberal churches in the US that have strongly supported same sex marriage. These churches pose to fight for the right of the gays and the lesbians through the states. Mainland Christian dominations and congregations have not made official support for gays, but have shown considerable support for the vice. Additionally, some scholars view same sex marriage invalid in biblical context for the word homosexual as in the modern biblical versions is an interpolation. This viewpoint holds that there was no mention of the word in the bible and there cannot be a prohibition of same sex marriage. It is the right of the citizens and there cannot be a biblical prohibition of marriage rights. They have made the public to believe that homosexuality refers to specific idolatrous acts and some sex acts rather than same sex marriage. These churches base their argument that marriage is an institution and every family is biblically structured and should be respected from every corner. From this point, therefore, support for same sex marriage shows Christianity commitment to the equality of all people. Moreover, sexual orientation is a gift from God. There has been debate on the issue and the division has existed among theologically concerned and liberal groups (Olson 76). Theological groups like the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have shown a lot of support for marriage equality with others fighting for the rights of the gays and lesbians.
Climate change is another controversial issue that has a divergent public opinion from different religious affiliations. The majority of Americans attend religious services and their clergy rarely speak about the climate change issues. They believe that there is a clash between science and religion on the causes of climate change with another believe that there exists no conflict between the two. Survey carried out shows that 65% of Americans are more likely to agree that natural disasters are the main causes while another 50% have a strong feeling that these are biblical end times. Additionally, most of the Americans do not believe God would intervene to prevent human from causing these disasters. Approximately 40% of Americans have a believe that God would not allow humans to destroy the earth while a major 55% of Americans do not agree.
Americans have been faced with many problems, which cannot be solved easily. There is much money spent on welfare issues and there still exist many questions on whether the US government is doing enough to curb things like poverty. Many have wondered if the American constitution entitles an official church and prohibits other affiliate religions through offering them supports and revenue collection. They have also wondered why the state is teaching religion in other public schools and leaving others. A majority believes that those who attend services are more likely to be favored. The fraction of financial aid and charity given to religion has been on the rise with conservative of denominations.
Recent findings by Pew show a significant difference between religious groups in Americans and an increase in the number of people with no religion (Rahm 86). Political leaders have shifted concern from political issues and are often quoted talking more on religion than politics. The poll indicates more support for the religious affiliations from the republicans than from the democrats.
The majority of Americans believe that religion plays a significant part of their spiritual life. Religion has affected how they see the current controversial issues like same sex marriage, climate change, attitudes towards war and warfare. As others are fighting for the rights of gays and lesbians, other groups argue based on the theological context about how the word homosexuality is only mentioned in the common versions of the bible. The public opinion on climatic change also exists where others blame the human activities to it and others see it in biblical context. Finally, the opinion also shows favorism from the leaders towards religious organizations and shifted focus from development agendas to religion.
D'Antonio, William V. Religion, Politics, and Polarization: How Religiopolitical Conflict Is Changing Congress and American Democracy. , 2013. Internet resource.
Duncan, Ann W, and Steven L. Jones. Church-state Issues in America Today. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2008. Print.
Livezey, Lowell W. Public Religion and Urban Transformation: Faith in the City. New York [u.a.: New York Univ. Press, 2000. Print.
Olson, Laura R., Wendy Cadge, and James T. Harrison. "Religion and Public Opinion about SameSex Marriage*." Social Science Quarterly 87.2 (2006): 340-360. Print.
Rahm, Dianne. Climate Change Policy in the United States: The Science, the Politics, and the Prospects for Change. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2010. Internet resource.
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