A new Baylor University study, the first of its kind, gets in-depth on religious attitudes and practices in the U.S. Things are changing rapidly. Interesting slice from Washington Post:

Beliefs about God’s personality are powerful predictors, according to the survey. Those who considered God engaged and punishing were likely to have lower incomes and less education, to come from the South and to be white evangelicals or black Protestants. Those who believed God to be distant and nonjudgmental were more likely to support increased business regulation, environmental protection and the even distribution of wealth.

The changing demographics of the United States demand different polls as well, religion pollsters say. For example, approximately 3 percent of Americans observe faiths other than Christianity and Judaism. While still small, this group is growing rapidly, and scholars say that if current trends continue, that number could reach 10 percent in coming decades.

According to Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg, who focuses on religion, that is already the figure for Americans younger than 25.

African-Americans in general tend to find faith large part of their past, present and future. The conservatives have somehow co-opted the language of morality, truth and righteousness even though this was once the province of progressives in the civil rights and labor movements. Progressives seeking to broaden their influence in American society must appeal to people’s moral centers authentically, particularly among the growing base of minority voters. Iraq and Katrina have forced many people back to the Democratic party. Let’s figure out how to turn that from a backlash against Republicans and into an embrace of progressive values.

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