Pew poll: 42% of spiritual Americans pray for the environment


Religious Americans overwhelmingly imagine they’ve an obligation to guard the Earth, in response to a latest poll from the Pew Research Center, with 80 percent saying God entrusted them with that responsibility. The survey also found that 42 percent prayed for the environment previously yr. 

But that sense of duty doesn’t necessarily mean they’re clamoring to tackle climate change. Lower than half of highly religious people considered the overheating planet a “very” or “extremely” major problem, though two-thirds said it was at the least “somewhat” serious. As compared, almost three-quarters of individuals with low religious commitment said climate change was a really major problem.

At greater than 100 pages long, the Pew poll is probably the most in-depth surveys on the link between Americans’ religious beliefs and climate views to this point, offering a deeper look into why religious people are likely to be less concerned about climate than their nonreligious counterparts.

Researchers pointed to politics as probably the most convincing explanation. Responses to the Pew poll suggest that Americans’ views on climate change are likely to be influenced more heavily by their political party than by what they hear at church. 

Nationwide, about 83 percent of Democrats are likely to think about climate change as a really major problem, in comparison with 25 percent of Republicans. “If you look inside religious groups, you see the identical pattern there, whether it’s evangelical Protestants or religiously unaffiliated Americans,” said Becka Alper, who wrote the Pew report. “Inside religious groups, those that are Republican are far less likely than those that are Democrat to say climate change is a major problem.”

When asked to clarify why they imagine climate change isn’t a major problem, religiously affiliated Americans often echoed Republican talking points. Based on the poll, about half said that stricter environmental laws could hurt jobs and the economy.

The finding that partisanship plays such an influential role in people’s climate views aligns with greater than a decade of research, said Robin Globus Veldman, a professor of spiritual studies at Texas A&M University. The connection between politics and religion may be hard to untangle, nonetheless, for the reason that influence goes each ways.

“People really quickly go and say, ‘Oh, it’s just politics. It has nothing to do with religion. It’s only a coincidence that evangelicals are likely to be more politically conservative and in order that fully explains their climate attitudes,’” Veldman said. “I believe there’s loads more interconnection between being evangelical and being politically conservative, and so you possibly can’t separate it out and say, ‘All of this politics isn’t religion.’”

The Pew poll, which surveyed greater than 10,000 Americans in April, found other the explanation why those that imagine they’ve been entrusted with caring for the Earth might fail to attach that with acting on climate change. Greater than a 3rd of evangelicals said there are much larger problems on the earth than global warming; others said that God is answerable for the climate. 

One other obstacle is that almost all places of worship aren’t really connecting the dots. Just 8 percent of Americans who attend religious services commonly reported they hear loads about climate change in sermons. For pastors, “it’s such a politicized issue that there’s an enormous disincentive to debate that topic,” Veldman said. “You could have to do it very delicately, and also you risk alienating people and driving them away from the opposite good belongings you do in your church.”

That said, there are some signs that highly religious persons are taking environmental problems seriously — even amongst probably the most historically resistant group, evangelicals. In a report earlier this yr, the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 45,000 evangelical churches, called climate motion a Christian responsibility and made the Biblical case to save lots of the planet. Young evangelicals have led the push for climate motion inside the tradition. 

More broadly, a majority of Americans of all religions thought that passing a bill to handle climate change must be a priority for Congress, in response to a poll from Morning Seek the advice of and Politico last yr. That included 60 percent of Christians and 79 percent of Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. They got what they wanted, at the least in theory, when President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act in August, the only largest climate package in U.S. history. 

On the international level, faith groups have organized greater than 40 side events on the U.N. climate conference this month in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to supply a non secular perspective on the climate crisis.

While the finding that many persons are praying for the environment could also be encouraging, Veldman said to take it with a grain of salt, because the religious-friendly framing of the poll could have swayed their answers. “It’s like asking in the event you love your mother — you realize what everyone’s going to say,” she said. “Everybody believes you need to protect the Earth, right? Especially when it’s in a faith framing and in a survey that’s making religious questions salient.”

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