Robert P. Jones, of the Public Religion Research Institute, lists his top eleven findings of 2011.
Of special note are the decoupling of views on abortion and same-sex marriage, the continued high rate of support for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, and, very sadly, continued ambivalence about Islam.
The decoupling of views on abortion and same-sex marriage shows that young people remain responsive to pro-life concerns even while their familiarity with gay men and women makes them less likely to oppose their right to marry. Of course, for RCs, marriage is not a right but a sacrament, but I wonder if the Church should not find a better way to navigate the issue than they have done so far. As I have noted before, the fight for traditional marriage took its strongest body blow with the advent of no-fault divorce laws, not the movement for gay marriage rights.
The continued high rate of support for immigration reform shows one thing: The issue only needs some leadership.
And, the ambivalence about Islam is very troublesome. We cannot allow the hatred of a few Muslim fanatics to lead us to tar an entire religion with our prejudice. One of America's proudest national traditions is our religious tolerance and our Christian pulpits should ring with denunciations of anti-Muslim bigotry.