African Americans top U.S. religious measures-Pew
“While the U.S. is generally considered a highly religious nation, African-Americans are markedly more religious on a variety of measures than the U.S. population as a whole, including level of affiliation with a religion, attendance at religious services, frequency of prayer and religion’s importance in life,” the report says.
– Nearly eight in 10 blacks (79 percent) say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent among all U.S. adults.
– Blacks attend religious services and pray more frequently than the general population. While 39 percent of all Americans report attending religious services at least once a week, 53 percent of blacks report the same.
– Similarly, while 58 percent of all Americans report praying at least once a day, 76 percent of blacks report praying daily.
– The vast majority of blacks are Protestant (78 percent), compared with 51 percent of the U.S. adult population as a whole.
The findings, drawn mostly from data within Pew’s Religious Landscape Survey conducted in 2007, have political as well as cultural implications.
President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party made a strong bid in last November’s presidential election to woo voters of faith — a strategy that dovetailed neatly with Obama’s strong appeal to the party’s black base.
The survey also highlights the cultural and social conservatism of U.S. blacks on issues such as gay rights.
According to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in the summer of 2008, nearly two-thirds of blacks said they opposed gay marriage compared to 51 percent among whites.
Some leading groups in the religious right such as the Family Research Council have been tapping this vein by forming alliances with leading black Christian conservatives.
Democrat and Republican strategists will no doubt read this report carefully.
(Photo: Barack Obama at a New Orleans church, Aug. 26, 2007. REUTERS/Lee Celano, USA)