54% Of Americans Say Being Religious Isn’t Required To Have Morals

(image via Depositphotos)

Non-partisan polling outfit Pew Research asked 38,426 people across 34 countries from May 13 to October 2, 2019, if it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.

Globally, a median 51% said no, believing in God isn’t necessary to be a moral person with good values while 45% responded yes.

In the United States, 54% said you can be a moral person without tieing that belief to God. Forty-four percent of those Americans polled said religion is necessary for good values.

When Pew Research first asked the question in 2002, 58% of those in the U.S. said a belief in God was necessary to have good values. Today’s figures represent a 14 point drop in that view.

It’s notable, however, when asked if God “plays an important role in their life,” 72% of Americans polled either “completely agreed” or “mostly agreed.”

Monetary status around the world appears to influence which countries do or do not believe religion is required for good values.

From Pew Research:

For example, in Kenya, which has the lowest GDP per capita of all 34 nations included in this analysis ($4,509 in 2019) 95% of respondents express the view that belief in God is integral to being moral.

By contrast, only 9% of respondents in Sweden – which has one of the highest GDP per capita of the nations surveyed ($55,815 in 2019) – say belief in God is necessary to be moral.

This pattern is consistent with prior research that has found that Europeans tend to be less religious than people in many other parts of the world.

On an individual basis, those who earn at or above the median income threshold in most nations are significantly less likely to say that belief in God is necessary for morality.

The largest difference between those at different income levels is in the U.S. where 56% of those in lower-income brackets do feel a belief in God is necessary versus only 34% of those who land above median income levels feel the same way.

Poll: Only 27 Percent Of Americans View Trump As ‘Man Of Faith’

Donald and Melania Trump visit St. John Paul II National Shrine (photo: public domain/Flickr)

From The Hill:

The Politico-Morning Consult poll released Wednesday morning found that 27 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that Trump is religious, compared to 55 percent who somewhat or strongly disagree.

Slightly more than a third of self-identified Christians see Trump as religious, pollsters noted, while half say he is not.

Forty percent of evangelicals also agreed that Trump was a man of faith, while 33 percent disagreed.

A total of 23 percent of Catholics and 18 percent of independents supported the statement that Trump is religious.

Only majorities of ideological conservatives — 55 percent — and Republicans — 60 percent — said they see the president as religious.

The poll was conducted after Trump’s disastrous visits to two prominent religious venues (St. John’s Episcopal Church and Saint John Paul II National Shrine) last week. Trump was promptly excoriated for using the church for political theater.

In an interview with his former White House press secretary Sean Spicer last week, Trump, who infrequently attends church services, was asked whether he’s “grown in his faith” since becoming president.

“So I think maybe I have, from the standpoint that I see so much that I can do,” answered Trump before adding, “I’ve done so much for religion.”

White Evangelicals Oppose LGBTQ Rights More Than Other Religious Groups

A new poll shows white evangelicals have stark differences from other religious groups when it comes to civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans.

Conducted by the Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, the survey’s results indicate 39 percent of white evangelicals oppose extending anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, while only 13 percent of other Americans oppose such protections.

Thirty-three percent of evangelicals support government restrictions on discrimination against LGBTQs in schools, housing or the workplace. In comparison, 66 percent of other Americans support banning LGBTQ discrimination.

The poll also shows white evangelical Protestants believe religion should have more influence on public policy than it currently does.

Sixty-two percent of evangelicals believe religion should have an influence on LGBTQ issues, while only 30 percent of other Americans agree.

And it will come as no surprise that President Trump garners strong support (79%) from white evangelicals, while other Americans strongly disapprove of his job performance.

(Source: AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research)

Oklahoma Church Accused Of Holding Gay Man Hostage To ‘Pray The Gay Away’

A gay man in Oklahoma has filed a police report after members of the First Assembly of God Church in Blackwell allegedly held him down and punched him in an attempt to ‘pray the gay away.’

Sean Cormie, 23, came out as gay this past spring. Since that time, his family has asked him to attend services at the church. His partner, Gary Gardner, was invited to attend as well.

“I wanted to go to church to make my mom proud,” Cormie told local news station KFOR.

On September 8, the couple joined family members at the church, which Cormie had attended several times.

Cormie says there was nothing unusual about the service until the end when Cormie and Gardner were asked to come up to the alter. As they did, church members stood up and began to circle the couple. At the same time, the pastor began to preach against homosexuality.

“It’s a sin, it’s an abomination, you need to realize, wake up, and see it for a sin,” recalls Cormie.

As the praying by 12-15 congregants grew louder and louder, Cormie and Gardner felt uncomfortable and moved to leave. But while Gardner made it out of the church, Cormie says he was physically restrained by the congregants.

Gardner told News 9 that Cormie was “slammed to the ground by his stepfather.”

“They hold me down, pin me down, and I’m crying, and the Holy Spirit just comes through me, and they keep speaking in tongues, praying over me,” said Cormie. At some point, Cormie says he was punched in the face. “I was just crying ‘mercy, mercy,’” he added.

Cormie says eventually it was his sister who convinced the congregants to let him go. When he was finally released, Cormie says he left the church with a black eye and bruises on his arms and face.

He immediately headed to the Blackwell Police Department where he filed a report. According to KFOR, the police chief acknowledges the incident is being investigated.

Bill and Tami McKissick, pastors for the First Assembly Church of God, issued this statement:

“On behalf of First Assembly, we have been asked by the media to respond to the allegations that have been made. This began as a family matter that escalated. Our church would never condone restraint of any person unless they were engaged in violent activity. There is much more to this incident, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement to hopefully bring all of the facts to light as a rush to judgment is not in anyone’s best interest.”

Since filing the police report, Cormie says he’s received anonymous threats to drop his allegations. He adds that family members, who he believes were involved in the incident, have urged his to let the issue go.

But Cormie is firm in his belief that “what they did was totally wrong” and he feels there should be “some consequences out of it.”

On a spiritual level, he says he believes being gay is a sin, but he is who he is.

“I’m a full-fledged gay, you can’t change it,” he told KFOR. “It’s my nature, I’m born that way, so let it be.”

Former Conversion Camp Scammers Arrested For Child Trafficking

Husband and wife who previously ran 'conversion therapy camps' have been arrested in Texas on child trafficking charges

The ringleaders of a former ‘conversion therapy camp’ have been arrested in Texas on child trafficking charges.

From local NBC News affiliate KXAN:

More than a year after boys were removed from a nonprofit in Burnet County, the couple who ran it are facing trafficking charges. A grand jury indicted Gary Wiggins, 49, and his wife Meghann Wiggins, 34, on Trafficking of Persons charges.

They are both accused of “knowingly” trafficking four underage boys and “through force, fraud or coercion” making them “engage in forced labor or services.” The two ran Joshua Home, which officials described as a place that “purports to be a residential home for troubled boys.”

According to the indictment, the trafficking allegedly occurred between May 17, 2018 and July 25, 2018. Eight boys between the ages of 10 and 17 were removed after a multi-agency investigation into allegations of abuse, neglect, labor violations, fraud, licensing violations and human trafficking.

Watch the report from KXAN below:

The Advocate reports the couple has hopped from state to state setting up so-called ‘conversion therapy’ camps where they tried to torture the gay out of young boys.

Before the Wigginses set up the home in Missouri, they ran the Blessed Hope Boys Academy in Robertsdale, Ala., where Wiggins was referred to as Brother Gary. The shuttered school was the subject of a 20/20 investigation in which boys who’d been sent there spoke out against the abuse that included forced exercise, solitary confinement, withholding food, and various conversion therapy tactics.

“He took off his belt and started swinging,” Lucas Greenfield whose mother sent him to Blessed Hope because he is gay, told 20/20 in 2017.

“I’m going to get the demon out of you and make you straight,” Gary Wiggins told the boys he terrorized, Greenfield told police in 2016.

Bishop Says If A Mother Has Anal Sex During Pregnancy The Child Becomes Gay

A bishop tells followers the child of a pregnant woman becomes gay if she has anal sex during pregnancy and enjoys it

Britain’s Metro reports that Bishop Neophytos Masouras of the Church of Cyprus recently told followers that gay people happen when a pregnant mother has enjoyable anal sex.

In a video translated by Metro.co.uk translators, he said: “It happens during the parent’s intercourse or pregnancy. It follows an abnormal sexual act between the parents. To be more clear, anal sex. Saint Porfyrios says that when the woman likes that, a desire is born, and then the desire is passed on to the child.”

I guess that means, back in the 1960s, my parents were really ‘freaks in the sheets.’


Mayor Pete Has ‘A Lot To Repent For’ But Not His Marriage

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete Buttigieg was asked by the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart during a Q&A at New York City’s 92nd Street Y Wednesday evening about criticism leveled at the openly gay mayor by Vice President Mike Pence and evangelist Franklin Graham.

Buttigieg has been very open about his personal faith as an Episcopalian, as well as the hypocrisy he sees in religion-based attacks.

In April, for example, Graham posted a tweet that described Buttigieg’s sexuality as “sin, something to be repentant of, not something to be flaunted, praised or politicized.”

“I guess I would say that we all have a lot to repent for,” replied Buttigieg in a pensive tone. “I have a lot to repent for when it comes to my marriage.”

From there, the 37-year-old mayor ticked off a few personal faults of his own before landing on his answer.

“Moments when I have not been as caring as I should be; moments when I’ve been selfish; moments when I’ve said a harsh word that I wish I could take back,” listed Mayor Pete.

“But one thing that I absolutely should not be repentant for, in the context of my marriage, is the fact that I’m in love with my husband,” he added.

And the crowd goes wild!!!

Watch the moment below.

In April, Buttigieg addressed Pence’s ‘morality’ issues with homosexuality head-on while speaking at the LGBTQ Victory Fund brunch.

Sharing the ways that being married to his husband, Chasten, has made him a better man, the mayor added, “And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

“That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: That if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me,” Buttigieg said. “Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

And during an appearance on ELLEN, Buttigieg said of the Vice President, “I’m not critical of his faith. I’m critical of bad policies.”

“I don’t have a problem with religion, I’m religious, too,” he added. “I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community.”

Mayor Pete To Pence: We Don’t Need To Feud About Religion, Just Stop Being Homophobic

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on ELLEN (via screen capture)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg on ELLEN (via screen capture)

During his appearance on ELLEN Friday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg addressed an accusation by Vice President Mike Pence that he has been attacking Pence’s “Christian faith” as a means to further his presidential aspirations.

“I’m not critical of his faith,” the mayor told Ellen DeGeneres. “I’m critical of bad policies.”

“I don’t have a problem with religion – I’m religious, too,” he added. “I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people, and especially in the LGBTQ community. So many people, even today, feel like they don’t belong. You can get fired in so many parts of this country just for who you are. And that’s got to change.”

Back to Pence, the 37-year-old White House hopeful told Ellen he isn’t “interested in feuding with the Vice President.”

“But, if he wanted to clear this up he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind,” said Buttigieg. “That it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are.”

Mayor Pete Buttigieg on ELLEN (via screen capture)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg on ELLEN (via screen capture)

Buttigieg also spoke about the influence of religion on his life and how it guides him.

“When I’m in church, the scripture that I hear is about taking care about the least among us it’s about lifting up those who are most vulnerable,” he explained. “It’s a message that is fundamentally about love. Love and humility. Humbling yourself before God and putting other people before you.”

Noting that many people were disappointed a woman wasn’t elected president in 2016, Ellen asked the mayor why those people should vote for him in the 2020 election.

“You gotta vote for the person you think best speaks to your values and is best able to lead the country, and you may decide that’s me and you may decide that’s somebody else.”

Underscoring the importance for administrations to have gender diversity and gender balance, Mayor Pete was quick to say he’d definitely be open to having a female running mate should he win the Democratic primary.

In related Mayor Pete news, the recent Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll shows he has surged to third place among Democratic voters in New Hampshire.

With former Vice President Joe Biden coming in on top with 23 percent, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders second with 16 percent, Mayor Pete garnered 11 percent support.

The pollster wrote in his report, “The emerging dark horse in this race may be Pete Buttigieg, who has gone from a virtual unknown to vault to 11% support, trailing only Biden and Sanders and ahead of Warren.”

The poll indicated Buttigieg has seen a 33-point increase in name recognition in recent weeks, almost all of it favorable.

And the latest poll out of Iowa from Monmouth University also shows Buttigieg in third place (9% support) behind Biden (27%) and Sanders (16%).

Campaign Ad Puts Marco Rubio’s Faith Front & Center

 Sen. Marco Rubio has a new campaign ad out in Iowa in an attempt to woo the heavy conservative evangelical vote. The ad puts the young senator’s faith front and center.

From CNN:

In the 30-second ad, the Florida senator speaks directly with the camera to share why Christianity is important to him spliced with footage of his family.

“The purpose of our life is to cooperate with God’s plan,” Rubio says in the ad. “To those who much as been given, much is expected. And we will be asked to account for that … I try to allow that to influence me in everything that I do.”

Clearly a move to try and reach for some of Sen. Ted Cruz’s support in the state. Cruz currently leads the pack of GOP contenders in recent polls. Rubio is trailing a distant third.