FaithWorld

Useful Pew backgrounder on faith and U.S. healthcare debate

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has released a useful backgrounder on the role of faith groups in the increasingly bitter and partisan U.S. healthcare debate. You can read it here.

The report focuses on the two large faith-based coalitions that have emerged on opposite sides of the political struggle to overhaul America’s system of healthcare, which is President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

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Faith for Health, is a broad coalition of self-described progressive groups that strongly supports Obama’s reform drive. It  includes mainline and evangelical Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists and Jews.

The Freedom Federation is a group of mostly conservative Christian organizations — a key Republican Party base — which strongly opposes what many of its activists decry as “Obamacare.” Both groups have taken to the airwaves and undertaken grassroots campaigns.

Healthcare reform is the biggest political show right now in Washington, where faith and politics often mix in ways they don’t elsewhere in the developed world. What do you think? Do you think faith-based groups will make a difference one way or the other on this issue? And which side will have its prayers answered?

U.S. religious conservatives and progressives profiled

The first ever comparative surveys of U.S. conservative and progressive (or liberal) religious activists has just been published by the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and Public Religion ResearchClick here for a link to the survey.

Many findings of the study – based on a detailed survey answered by 1,866 progressive religious activists and 1,123 conservative ones — will come as no surprise to followers of the U.S. political scene. But they will no doubt be closely scrutinized by both Republican and Democratic strategists.

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Republicans are sure to take note of the fact that religious conservatives are still preoccupied with the issues of abortion rights and gay marriage, which they staunchly oppose. The Democratic Party will note that progressive religious activists care deeply about poverty, health care and the environment.