faith & religion

faith & religion

Facts

For a country with no official religion, we're pretty preoccupied with God in our policy - whether it be teaching evolution in the classroom or displaying the Ten Commandments in a courthouse. A less sexy, but no less contentious issue, is President Bush's faith-based initiative - which is being continued under Obama (WP), which some say violates the notion of ‘separation of church and state.'

Americans and religion

How religious Americans say they are (2001) (CUNY - pdf):

  • Religious: 37%;
  • Somewhat religious: 38%;
  • Somewhat secular: 6%;
  • Secular: 10%;
  • Don't know/refused to answer: 9%.

Our religious affiliations

The CUNY survey (2001)

Posted In

issue guide: Same Sex Marriage

The Skinny

see also background & facts, pro & con, links

What's Up

In November 2003, a Massachusetts’ Supreme Court decision legitimizing gay marriages sparked a nationwide debate that had same-sex couples running to the altar and state governments scrambling to define who could and who could not get hitched. President Bush brought the debate to DC by endorsing a change to the Constitution that would outlaw same-sex marriages. So far there’s been more bark than bite to the national debate, with the status of DC's position on gay marriages little altered since '03. But at the state level, the pandora’s box of same-sex marriages was flung wide open; while most states immediately moved to limit or ban same-sex marriage, a growing number inched toward approval of same-sex partnerships and marriages.

issue guide: Stem Cell Research

The Skinny

see also background & facts, pro & con, links

What's Up

In 2001 President Bush reversed a Clinton era order that opened up federally funded stem cell research and, instead, limited public research to cells from a handful of existing stem cell "lines." Throughout Bush's years there were calls from a growing number of Democrats and Republicans to "lift the ban on stem cell research." While there was no outright ban – after all, private companies, states and localities could fund all the stem cell research they wanted – the administration, on moral and ethical grounds, limited federally funded research to only certain lines of cells. That was bad news for research, according to many scientists, who said the limits slowed the progress of curing many diseases.

With a new administration in 2009, stem cell policy flipped again. This time the National Institute of Health, with the blessing of President Obama, okayed research on stem cells from embryos left unused at fertility clinics.