Religion and Hot Button Issues

A recent report by Gallup asked members of five American religious groups their stances on moral issues. They surveyed groups of Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Mormons, and Americans with no religion on questions ranging from abortion to fur clothing. We share this overview with the reminder that some voter file vendors have appended religious preference information to individual voter records.

 
From Left to Right: 
On abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, cloning animals, same sex relationships, and having a baby outside of marriage, we see that “nonreligious” tend to be the most liberal with Jews right behind them, Catholics stood firmly in the middle on most issues, followed by Protestants to the right, and with Mormons making up the most socially conservative religious group.  

 
Percent of religious group who find action morally acceptable. 

 

No religion

Jewish

Catholic

Protestant

Mormon

 

Abortion 

73 

76 

38 

33 

18 

Doctor-assisted suicide 

77 

73 

47 

43 

30 

Cloning animals 

50 

50 

33 

28 

33 

Gay-lesbian relations 

83 

85 

62 

41 

28 

Having a baby outside of marriage 

80 

68 

59 

47 

25 

Religious groups tend to agree on a wide variety of moral issues. 
A majority of all religious groups agreed on the moral acceptability of divorce, the death penalty, fur clothing, medical testing on animals, suicide, cloning humans, polygamy, and infidelity. Although the majorities certainly ranged (a slim majority of Mormons approve of divorce and a smaller majority of Jews approve of the death penalty), Gallup found fairly broad consensus on many of these issues.  

 
Mormons have unique views on gambling, premarital sex, and stem cell research. 
Majorities of the other four religious groups believed that all of these actions were morally acceptable.  Mormons on the other hand, oppose all of these actions. Most strikingly, only 29 percent of Mormons approved of premarital sex while 88 percent of nonreligious Americans did.  

 
Survey Limitations
Unfortunately, the survey didn’t differentiate between mainline Protestants and more conservative evangelical denominations, so the information isn’t as precise as one would hope. Nor did the study differentiate between the habitual worshippers and those who seldom attend services but nominally consider themselves a member of a particular faith. We invite you to read the 2016 study in the Gallup by clicking here.

 
As always, we invite you to join our conversation on social media with #chismstrat.

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