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Poll: Americans of Faith More Accepting

from Christian Science Monitor

Americans are overwhelmingly people of faith, and a new survey shows they are holding onto a traditional ideal of marriage and family. Yet as fewer families meet that ideal, they are becoming more accepting of divorce, cohabitation, and nontraditional family situations - across religious groupings.

"Faith and Family in America," a survey released last week by PBS's Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, highlights the contradictions between beliefs and reality, explores views on moral values, and compares religious practices of traditional and nontraditional families. The TV show begins a four-part series on the subject this weekend.

While the survey reveals that 71 percent of Americans believe "God's plan for marriage is one man, one woman, for life," only 22 percent say they see divorce as a sin. Even among religious conservatives (Protestant or Catholic), only about one-third say divorce is sinful. Protestants are more likely than other groups to get married, but they are no more likely to stay married.

About half of Americans now see cohabitation as acceptable, but only 40 percent support "trial marriage," in which people intending to marry live together first.

Although the traditional nuclear family continues to be prized, only 19 percent of families fulfill that ideal (nondivorced parents with children). And "48 percent of Americans live in households that depart dramatically from the ideal," says John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C.

Yet traditional and nontraditional parents are surprisingly similar in some respects, including seeing religion as important. Traditional parents attend religious services more regularly, but 49 percent of each type say they read religious scriptures every week. And close to 45 percent of both hold daily devotions with their families. These practices are carried on at a time when only about 31 percent of Americans attend religious services weekly.

Despite the disconnect between people's aspirations and their family experience, most Americans clearly prefer to sort things out on their own; 82 percent say they oppose government programs to encourage marriage.

While 59 percent of Americans say they do not support gay marriage, 43 percent do favor adoption rights for gays and lesbians, while 47 percent are opposed.


Blogger Habby said...

"As a foundation for family life and raising children, marriage is better than its fast-growing
alternatives. It is our society's most important institution for bringing up children, for fostering high parental investment in children, and for helping men and women find a common life of mutual affection, care, and sexual intimacy."
- Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation, 1995.

Source: http://www.cohabiting.org
"All About Cohabiting"

November 01, 2005 7:01 PM  
Blogger Darren said...

Nicely heterosexist and disconnected from the reality that life does not reflect your moral code. "I'm right and everyone else is wrong" is simply a childish and bigoted way to live in a multicultural world. Get over yourself.

I gather that you think this opinion is actually a fact? It proves nothing except bigotry and closed-minded ignorance. As someone with actual experience in the "alternatives," which I guarantee you the person who you quote does not, I can assure you it is not fact. It's fearing what you don't know anything about.

Just like animals do.

November 02, 2005 1:33 PM  

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