Was the Constitution inspired by God? Is Oprah a spiritual leader?


This article was first published in the State of the Faith Newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox every Monday evening.

Last week, Deseret News and The Marist Poll published their first “faith in america” survey, which explored the evolving role of religion in American life. So far, I’ve used the new data to write about some of the reasons people are less interested in organized religion today than they were in the past and what Americans believe about wearing religious clothing in public.

My teammates have also contributed articles and columns to the ongoing project. Jennifer Graham discussed concerns surrounding the concept of a “post-Christian society” and Mya Jaradat explored the Golden Rule’s enduring popularity.

Despite the quantity (and quality!) of these stories, my colleagues and I have only scratched the surface of the “Faith in America” investigative report. For this week’s newsletter, I wanted to highlight a few other fascinating data points that have yet to be featured in a Deseret News article.

Half of Americans say religion plays a role in their social life.

About 1 in 5 American adults (22%) say their religious beliefs and faith-related activities play a “major role” in their social network. A further 28% say religion plays a more minor role.

“Republicans (35%) are almost twice as likely as Democrats (18%) and Independents (18%) to say their religion plays a major role in deciding who they spend time with,” noted the researchers.

Many Americans are skeptical that gun rights are inspired by God.

More than half of American adults (55%) believe the Constitution as a whole was inspired by God, according to the Deseret-Marist poll. Similar shares of Americans said the same about the First Amendment (freedom of speech and freedom of religion), the 15th Amendment (suffrage for black men), and the 19th Amendment (suffrage for women). ).

Americans are less confident about divine support for the Second Amendment, which guarantees the “right to keep and bear arms.” The survey showed that only 37% of American adults say the Second Amendment is inspired by God.

Oprah is an uncommon source of moral advice.

Oprah may be a hugely popular celebrity, but she’s not a common source of moral advice. Only 1 in 10 American adults turn to her for advice on how to lead a moral life, according to the Deseret-Marist poll.

Fresh off the press

Term of the week: stay

In the legal context, “stay” refers to a court order that terminates a legal proceeding. In most cases, stays are only temporary; they expire once various details are ironed out.

Stays are often discussed in death penalty cases, as these usually involve many requests for postponement. A court may stay an enforcement to give the parties involved time to respond to outstanding issues.

Last week, the Supreme Court granted a partial stay in an ongoing battle over the Navy’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. The decision will allow Navy officials to temporarily refuse to deploy unvaccinated service members. Previously, district and appellate court judges ruled that the Navy cannot take adverse action against people with religious concerns about COVID-19 vaccines.

What I read…

My friend Daniel Silliman recently completed a unique mission in his career: investigating cases of sexual harassment within own organization. He wrote about the allegations against two former leaders of Christianity Today and how the organization spent years protecting these men instead of people concerned about their behavior. Slate recently spoke with Silliman on coverage of abuse at TB and elsewhere.

This year St. Peter’s Peacocks maybe out of the March Madness basketball tournament, but they will live on in my heart. If the same is true for you, check out Religion Unplugged’s look at the Roman Catholic school.

I really enjoyed the New York Times look at the story behind one of the most shared photos Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation hearings.


The Deseret News recently published an interesting look at the land on which the Washington DC Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was built.

If you have room in your heart and brain for more survey data, check out this new report from the Survey Center on American Life on Generation Z and the Future of Faith.


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