Mar 1, 2015

Ragbag Headliners

More Americans Now Consider Themselves Among Working Poor 

Although nearly half of working Americans expect to earn more money a year from today, slightly more now say they’re in poverty.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 47% of employed American Adults say they’ll be earning more money a year from today, down from 50% in surveys since July. Just 12% expect to earn less money in a year, while 33% think their salaries will remain about the same over the next 12 months, generally in line with recent surveys. –Source: Rasmussen Report

Most Americans Support Religious Freedom On Marriage Views

 A new survey released this week found that many Americans support traditional marriage.

The survey from the Family Research Council and the National Religious Broadcasters, found that 81 percent of Americans think that the government should “leave people free to follow their belief about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses."

The survey also found that 61 percent support the right of states and citizens to support traditional marriage. Also, the survey showed that 53 percent of Americans think that marriage should be defined as one man and one woman.

The survey polled 800 registered voters.

"It's clear, based on [this] polling, that Americans have not reached a broad social consensus that marriage should be redefined," said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Said NRB president Jerry Johnson: "Government has no right establishing speech codes or business codes on marriage and 81 percent of Americans agree entirely.”

Also at the release of the survey were Aaron and Melissa Klein, former owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Ore. The couple is being threatened with $150,000 in fines after they refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. They then closed their business.

Klein said there is "an obligation to the next generation to stand up for our constitutional freedoms, not given by man, but given by God.” -Source: Christian Headlines

Study: 27% Of Americans Say ISIL Represents True Islam

More than a quarter of Americans and nearly half of senior Protestant pastors say the Islamic State terrorist group offers a true representation of Islamic society, according to a pair of new surveys by LifeWay Research.

The findings that indicate many Americans have a dim outlook on Islam come as President Obama sent a formal request to Congress on Wednesday to authorize the use of military force to combat the Islamic State. Meanwhile, police in North Carolina tried to determine whether the shooting deaths of three Muslim students were hate-motivated.

Forty-five percent of 1,000 senior Protestant pastors surveyed say the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, "gives a true indication of what an Islamic society looks like." Forty-seven percent disagreed with the statement, according to LifeWay, a Nashville-based, non-profit Christian research group. LifeWay surveyed only clergy who identified themselves as the top pastoral officials in their organizations.

The pastors had a much darker view of Islam than Americans at large. In contrast, in the second survey, 27% of Americans say the Islamic State reflects the true nature of Islamic society.

The findings of LifeWay's twin surveys were shared with USA TODAY before their scheduled publication Thursday.

"People are increasingly antagonistic, and religious leaders are particularly antagonistic towards Islam, and perhaps what people are seeing nightly on TV news is driving this," said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research. "They think about it and say, 'I see this every night. I don't want this here.' "

Stetzer said LifeWay decided to probe Americans' and pastors' attitudes after Obama declared in September, "ISIL is not Islamic," part of an effort to undercut the idea that the group represents the religion.

This isn't the first study to suggest growing distrust among Americans about Islam since the rise of the Islamic State, whose militants have abducted aid workers and journalists, carried out beheadings of hostages and taken control of swaths of Syria and Iraq. Last month, a poll published by the Brookings Institution in Washington found that 14% of Americans say the terror group has the support of a majority of Muslims around the world.

What might be most notable about the LifeWay surveys is the strikingly harder views on Islam among clergy compared with Americans at large.

Sixty-one percent of senior pastors disagree and 30% agree with the statement "True Islam creates a peaceful society." Fifty percent of African-American pastors say Islam can create a peaceful society, while only 30% of white pastors agree with that statement. By contrast, 43% of the laypeople surveyed agree with the statement, and 40% disagree.

Other findings:

    37% of Americans say they worry about sharia law, the Islamic legal and religious code, being applied in the USA. Older Americans, those over 45, are more likely to hold that concern than adults 18 to 44. Women (42%) are more likely to worry about sharia law than men are (33%).
    76% of pastors say airstrikes against the Islamic State are needed to protect Christians in Iraq and Syria, while 13% disagree.

LifeWay polled 1,000 Americans and 1,000 senior Protestant pastors throughout the country as part of the surveys. Of the pastors surveyed, 724 identified themselves as evangelical, 474 consider themselves mainline. Pastors were permitted to consider themselves under both labels.

The survey of Americans has a margin of error of +/-3.5%, while the pastors' survey has a +/-3.1% margin of error. –Source: USA Today

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