June 23, 2008 / 4:06 PM / 9 years ago

FACTBOX: Highlights from Pew U.S. religion survey

3 Min Read

(Reuters) - The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released the second part of its U.S. Religious Landscape Survey on Monday.

Researchers interviewed more than 35,000 U.S. adults last year for the study, which contains detailed data on beliefs, denomination membership, political party affiliation and other aspects of religion and American culture.

Following are a few of the key findings of the survey:

Religion and Party Affiliation:

* It found that 50 percent of U.S. evangelicals tilted Republican, 34 percent Democratic.

* Mormons are the most staunchly Republican group with 65 percent of those surveyed identifying with or leaning toward that party.

* Members of historically black churches were the most Democratic at 77 percent. Atheists and agnostics are also strongly Democratic at 65 percent and 62 percent respectively.

* Jews are largely in the Democratic camp at 66 percent with only 24 percent indicating a Republican affiliation.

* Of adult U.S. Catholics, 48 percent of adult U.S. Catholics lean toward or identify with the Democratic Party while 33 percent tilt Republican.

* Among mainline Protestant denominations, 41 percent were Republican or leaned that way, while 43 percent tilted Democratic.

Religiosity and Belief:

* Of the 92 percent of Americans who believe in God, 71 percent said they believe with absolute certainty. And, 21 percent of self-described atheists responded that they believe in God.

* About four in 10 adult Americans, or 39 percent, attend religious services at least once a week.

* Seventy-four percent of survey respondents said they believe in an afterlife. The same percentage believe in heaven but only 59 percent believe in hell.

* Thirty-four percent of all Americans surveyed said they experienced or witnessed a divine healing of an illness or an injury.

Cultural Issues:

* A narrow majority, or 51 percent, of Americans favor keeping abortion legal in all or most cases, while 43 percent support making the procedure illegal in all or most cases.

* Among evangelical Protestants, 61 percent favor making abortion illegal in all or most cases, while 70 percent of Mormons felt the same way. Agnostics are the most pro-choice segment of the population, with 83 percent in favor of legal abortion.

* Half of Americans say that homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 40 percent say it should be discouraged.

* About three-quarters of Jehovah's Witnesses, 61 percent of American Muslims and about two-thirds of Mormons and evangelicals hold the view that same-sex relations should be frowned upon. Among American Jews, 79 percent say homosexuality should be accepted, a view held by 82 percent of the country's Buddhists and 58 percent of U.S. Catholics.

* Forty-eight percent of Americans, including 87 percent of atheists, agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life, while 45 percent disagree. Among evangelicals, 70 percent disagree, a position taken by 76 percent of the Mormons surveyed.

Reporting by Ed Stoddard in Dallas, editing by Stacey Joyce and Jackie Frank

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