Religion and Public Life

One of the most debated issues facing America today is the role that faith and religion should play in society. The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project seeks to promote a deeper understanding of the issues raised by the intersection of religion and public affairs.

The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project acts as a research organization, a clearinghouse for gathering and sharing information and a “town hall,” providing a neutral venue for discussion. Launched in 2001, the forum delivers timely, impartial research to political leaders, journalists, scholars and public interest groups.

The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project has four areas of research:

  • Religion and politics—the influence of religion and religious organizations on political behavior, including voting and campaigns.
  • Religion and the law—church-state controversies such as recent Supreme Court battles over the Ten Commandments, the Pledge of Allegiance and school vouchers.
  • Religion and domestic policy—public policy debates on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, stem-cell research and faith-based initiatives.
  • Religion and world affairs—the role religion plays in the international arena, with a focus on U.S. foreign policy.

As a non-advocacy organization, the project does not take positions on issues. It is a project of the Pew Research Center, a Pew subsidiary and a nonpartisan “fact tank” based in Washington, D.C., that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

For more information, visit the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.

  • Bioethics

    The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project examines how advances in biomedical research such as embryonic stem-cell research and human cloning intersect with the spiritual beliefs of Americans.
  • Death Penalty

    Few public policy issues have inflamed passions as consistently and as strongly as the debate over capital punishment. Religious communities have been deeply involved on both sides of the issue, drawing on teachings and traditions of justice and the dignity
  • Gay Marriage

    The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project tracks public opinion about gay marriage and civil unions, which are divisive issues within American religious communities and the public at large.
  • Religion and Politics

    The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project offers information about the relationship between religion and politics, through reports, event transcripts, polling data and news clips.
  • Religion and Public Schools

    Religious expression in public schools, including school prayer, the use of vouchers, the teaching of evolution and intelligent design theory, and the use of school space for religious activities, is a major focus of the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.
  • Religion and Social Welfare

    Americans are divided over the role of faith-based organizations in the delivery of federally funded social services. The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project examines the relationship between religious groups, human services providers and government.
  • Religion and the Law

    Judicial battles over such issues as school prayer, state-funded vouchers for religious schools and the placement of Christmas crèches or Ten Commandments monuments on public property receive close scrutiny from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project.
  • Religion and World Affairs

    The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project examines the increasingly significant role played by religion in the domestic politics of other nations and major international developments such as interstate conflicts and global terrorism.
  • U.S. Religious Landscape Survey

    Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey details the religious makeup, religious beliefs and practices as well as social and political attitudes of the American public.

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