Archives For Pew Research

The Briefing

How do we find meaning in yet another mass shooting?
Al Mohler asks that question following the tragedy in Las Vegas.
In the face of such overwhelming news, we naturally seek after facts. But the facts of who and what and where and how, still unfolding, point to the even more difficult question — why? We cannot help but ask why because, made in God’s image, we are moral creatures who cannot grasp or understand the world around us without moral categories.

Gov. signs HB40 into law; Baptists deeply disappointed
Gov. Bruce Rauner ended months of speculation last week when he signed legislation allowing state health insurance and Medicaid coverage for abortions. Reaction has been swift and strong.


So. Baptists, others release letter on ‘alt-right’ to Trump
A letter drafted by a group of Southern Baptists and others has called on President Trump to denounce clearly the racism of the “alt-right.” The letter commends the president for signing a joint congressional resolution rejecting white nationalism and supremacy, but it tells him the country “needs your voice and your convictions to defeat racist ideologies and movements in every form that they present themselves.”

Pew surveys governments on religion
More than 40% of the world’s countries have an official or preferred state religion, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center. The most common official state religion is Islam, which is named in the constitutions or basic laws of 27 countries. That’s 63% of the 43 countries that officially designate a religion. Thirteen countries list Christianity as their state religion—nine in Europe, two in the Caribbean, one in Africa, and one Pacific island nation.

Sources: AlbertMohler.com, Springfield State Journal-Register, Baptist Press (2), Christianity Today

THE BRIEFING | Five men were shot yesterday outside Uptown Baptist Church on Chicago’s north side. The shooting, thought to have resulted from a dispute between two gangs, occurred while the church held a prayer service inside the building. Uptown hosts the service and a weekly meal on Monday evenings for their neighborhood’s homeless population.

“A few of us went outside to see what happened,” Pastor Michael Allen told DNAinfo.com. “We found several people on the ground bleeding profusely, and they were screaming.”

The church plans to hold a prayer vigil Wednesday evening at 6:30.

Read the Chicago Tribune’s story here.

Other news:

Pastors to pray in Dallas
Senior pastors from Southern Baptist churches of all sizes are invited to gather in Texas this fall to pray together 24 hours. The event, scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square, “is not a ‘come and go’ event or a place to ‘come and be seen,’ nor is it a denominational or political meeting,” said Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd (left) in a written statement. “It is a serious spiritual experience of prayer with pastors nationally.” Read more at BPNews.net.

Group advocates pulpit freedom
A 14-member commission recently recommended relaxing restrictions on political speech in church services, Baptist Press reports. The group, created at the request of Sen. Charles Grassley (R.-Iowa), found “a member of the clergy should be permitted to say whatever he or she believes is appropriate in the context of a religious worship service without fear of government reprisal, even when such communications include content related to political candidates.” Read the full story here.

Abortion is moral issue for most
Most Americans still view abortion as either morally acceptable or morally wrong, but they’re less likely to view other birth issues in those terms, according to a survey by Pew Research. The study found 49% of people believe having an abortion is morally wrong, but far fewer respondents were morally opposed to embryonic stem cell research (22%) and in vitro fertilization (12%). According to Pew, only 23% of people believe abortion is not a moral issue, compared to 36% for embryonic stem cell research and 46% for in vitro fertilization. Read more at PewForum.org.

Parenting advice that’s truly inspired
Mother of 19 Michelle Duggar learned how to settle sibling disputes from the Bible. “I thought I’m going to go nuts if all I’m doing all day long is refereeing these little ones,” the matriarch of TV’s “19 Kids and Counting” says in a video on The Learning Channel’s website. But she looked to Matthew 18 for help. “If you have a problem you talk sweet to your brother or sister,” Duggar says, paraphrasing the passage for her little ones. “If they came up and took your dump truck away from you, you talk sweet to them and try and turn their heart to God saying, ‘Brother don’t take that truck away.’” Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.

Tuesday_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

A majority of Americans don’t want to be centenarians (plus 20 years), but they think their neighbors might, according to a new study by Pew Research. The survey of 2,012 American adults found 56% of them said they wouldn’t choose to undergo medical treatments in order to live to 120. But 68% expected most people would.

According to the survey, 69% of people place their ideal life span in the 79-100 range.

Pew also asked leaders from a variety of religious groups about their views on radical life extension. Jeffrey Riley, a professor at the Southern Baptist seminary in New Orleans, said evangelicals’ acceptance of life-extending technology and methods would depend on how those strategies are framed.

“If this was being advertised as never dying, I think a lot of people and the leadership of my church would be opposed,” Riley said in an article on Pew’s website. “However, if this was incremental and was seen as a way for people to continue flourishing, my church would more readily accept it.”

To read more about religious leaders’ responses and the study itself, go to PewForum.org.

Other news:

Judge orders new name for baby “Messiah”
A judge in Tennessee has ordered the parents of 7-month-old Messiah DeShawn Martin to change his first name because, “The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ.”

According to ChristianPost.com, Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew first met the parents when they appeared in her courtroom to argue over the child’s last name. Judge Ballew helped settle that dispute, but may find herself in the middle of another, as the baby’s mother plans to appeal her ruling. Christian Post reports more than 700 babies were named Messiah last year in the U.S., making it the 387th most popular baby name.

Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.

Warren returns to pulpit after son’s death
Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Ca., stood in his church’s pulpit July 27 for the first time in 16 weeks. Warren, the author of the bestseller “The Purpose Drive Life,” took a leave of absence after his son, Matthew, committed suicide in April following a long struggle with mental illness.

Warren received a standing ovation that Saturday evening, and thanked Saddleback staff, members, his family and local pastors who supported him. Then, with comments from his wife, Kay, he shared the first message in a series titled, “How to Get Through What You’re Going Through.”

Read writer John Evans’ full story on BPNews.net.

Carmen Halsey to lead IBSA mobilization, WMU
Carmen Halsey will serve as the Illinois Baptist State Association’s new director of Missions Mobilization beginning this month. As part of the role, she also will give IBSA staff leadership to Illinois Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), and serve on the national WMU board along with Illinois WMU President Gail Miller.

Read more in the new issue of the Illinois Baptist, online now at http://ibonline.IBSA.org.

Tuesday_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Military members ranked the highest in Pew Research’s study of how much various professions contribute to society. Pew found 78% of Americans believe military personnel contribute “a lot,” followed by teachers (72%) and doctors (66%). Clergy members didn’t fare quite as well, with 37% of respondents saying they contribute a lot to society, and 36% that they contribute some. Read more at PewForum.org.

Other news:

‘We all lost’ in George Zimmerman verdict, pastor says
In a Christianity Today essay about Saturday’s verdict, Pastor Victor Montalvo shares his perspective as the leader of a church in Sanford, Fla., the eye of the storm since teenager Trayvon Martin was killed in February 2012. Montalvo writes, “A young man is dead. Another man’s life is ruined. A city struggling with an undercurrent of racial tension for decades has another gaping wound.” Read Montalvo’s essay, including his charge for the Church, at ChristianityToday.com.

Baptist named new president of The King’s College
Greg Thornbury, a vice president and dean at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., has been named the new president of The King’s College in New York City. Located just around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange in Lower Manhattan, the Christian college is in an extremely strategic place, Thornbury said. “There is one freestanding Christian college in that city, and it must succeed… We need an institution of higher education that is articulating the cause of God and truth in the greatest city in the world.” Read the full story at Baptist Press.

Illinois Supreme Court clears way for parental notice law
The Illinois Supreme Court acted on the Parental Notice of Abortion Act last week, breathing new life into a law that is nearly 20 years old, but has never taken effect in the state. The Associated Press reports the court upheld the dismissal of a suit against the law, ending years of legal challenges and requiring doctors to notify the parents of any girl 17 or under 48 hours before she undergoes an abortion. The law is scheduled to go into effect in mid-August. Read the full AP story at sj-r.com.

Churches investigate Boy Scouts alternatives
More churches are investigating Royal Ambassadors, a Southern Baptist missions education program for boys, in the wake of Boy Scouts decision to allow self-identifying gay members. Julie Walters leads corporate communications for Woman’s Missionary Union, the organization that directs RA’s.

“The first week following the [Boy Scout] vote we received more than 25 requests via Facebook and email from churches and individuals interested in beginning an RA program,” Walters told Baptist Press. “This is an increase from the typical number we receive on a weekly basis.” Read more at BPNews.net.