Das Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life ist ein Projekt des Pew Research Center. Die Organisation mit Sitz in Washington, D. C. bezeichnet sich als „fact tank“und liefert Informationen, die Einstellungen und Trends, die die USA und die Welt betreffen, liefert. Die Organisation wird finanziert von The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Das Pew Research Center ist vor allem auf Grund von weltweiten Umfragen zu Themen wie Religiosität, Selbst- und Fremdeinschätzung von Anhängern verschiedener Religionen, Terror und Homosexualität in der Presse.
Luis Lugo ist der Direktor des Pew Forums on Religion and Public Life.
(Zusammenfassung von Iris Petzschmann)
The main mission of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life is to promote a deeper understanding of the interactions between religion and public affairs. For that purpose, the Forum conducts neutral analyses, objective reports and surveys on religious matters.
Our meeting with Dr. Luis Lugo, the director of the Forum, was interesting and educational. Lugo started with a short but instructive overview of the history and also the present social trends in American religion and politics, one of the forum’s key areas of research. In this report, he focused especially on the fact that Europeans often misunderstand and misjudge US-American politics, and tried to explain the reasons for those prejudices. Lugo commented on the characteristic differences between Europe and the USA -- namely that, compared to Europe, religious beliefs, values and ethics play a much bigger role in America and are generally much more accepted in “normal” public life. Furthermore, Lugo told us about important differences within the American population and society. In spite of an overall consensus, there are religious and secular areas of concentration that are causing a number of social problems. Finally, Lugo told us about the divisions within the evangelical population.
Of particular interest to us was Lugo’s opinion on the real influence of the Religious Right on policymaking in the USA: It seems that Europeans tend to greatly overestimate their ability to intervene. Today, prominent figures like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson can no longer be regarded as the “leaders” of the evangelical community. Reborn Christians are in the process of reorganizing without forming a homogeneous voting bloc with a common, all-embracing worldview. The “new evangelical leaders” – like Richard Land or James Dobson for example – are defining new fields of activity, such as international politics for instance, and are very open to dialogue and cooperation. Moreover, due to the fact that media usually does not focus on such developments, it is mostly unknown that there are also evangelical intellectuals who take part in serious intellectual discussions on a very high level, (e.g. the initiative “Evangelicals and Catholics Together”).
It remains uncertain, then, whether the Religious Right will be successful in widening its influence on American politics and the society at large. It is very possible that the evangelical coalition will break apart. Discord could result from disagreement on any number of issues.
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