Religion and the Republic: The American Circumstance

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This sentiment is shared by considerably fewer people in Catholic and religiously mixed countries in the region. People in Orthodox-majority countries tend to look more favorably toward Russian economic influence in the region.

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Larger shares of the public in Orthodox countries than elsewhere say Russian companies are having a good influence over the way things are going in their country. And across roughly half the Orthodox countries surveyed, smaller shares say American companies have a good influence within their borders than say the same about Russian companies. Only in two Orthodox countries Ukraine and Romania do more adults give positive assessments of American companies than of Russian ones. Ukraine also is the only country surveyed where ethnic Russians are about equally likely to say American companies and Russian companies are having a good influence in their country.

In Estonia and Latvia, ethnic Russians are far more likely to rate favorably the influence of Russian than American companies. In part, the desire for a strong Russia may owe to a perceived values gap with the West.

The Age Gap in Religion Around the World

In Moldova and Armenia, for example, majorities say the dissolution of the Soviet Union in was bad for their country. This question was asked only in countries that were once a part of the Soviet Union. In nearly every country, adults over the age of 5o i.

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Ethnicity makes a difference as well: Ethnic Russians in Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia are more likely than people of other ethnicities in these countries to say the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a bad thing. Neither man is viewed positively across the region as a whole. But in several former Soviet republics, including Russia and his native Georgia, more people view Stalin favorably than view Gorbachev favorably.

Meanwhile, Gorbachev receives more favorable ratings than Stalin does in the Baltic countries, as well as in Poland, Hungary, Croatia and the Czech Republic. Elsewhere, Pew Research Center has documented the wide range of public reactions to political and economic change between and Just as in that study, the new survey finds many people across the region harbor doubts about democracy.

In many countries across Central and Eastern Europe, substantial shares of the public — including roughly one-third or more of adults in Bulgaria, Belarus, Russia and Moldova — take the position that under some circumstances, a nondemocratic government is preferable. People in Orthodox-majority countries are more inclined than those elsewhere in the region to say their governments should support the spread of religious values and beliefs in the country and that governments should provide funding for their dominant, national churches.

Support for government efforts to spread religious values is considerably lower in most Catholic countries — in Poland, Croatia and Hungary, majorities instead take the position that religion should be kept separate from government policies.

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In addition, even though relatively few people in Orthodox-majority countries in the region say they personally attend church on a weekly basis, many more say their national Orthodox Church should receive government funding. Across several Orthodox- and Catholic-majority countries, people who do not identify with the predominant religion whether Orthodoxy or Catholicism are less likely than others to support the government spread of religious values as well as public funding for the church.

But, in some cases, people in religious minority groups are nearly as likely as those in the majority to say the government should financially support the dominant church. The survey also probed views on religious and ethnic diversity.

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Answers vary significantly across the region, with large majorities in countries that were part of the former Yugoslavia Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia , which went through ethnic and religious wars in the s, saying that a multicultural society is preferable. Muslims tend to be more likely than Orthodox Christians and Catholics in the region to favor a multicultural society. In addition to measuring broad attitudes toward diversity and pluralism, the survey also explored opinions about a number of specific religious and ethnic groups in the region.

For example, how do the two largest religious groups in the region — Orthodox Christians and Catholics — view each other? To begin with, many members of both Christian traditions say that Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy have a lot in common. But the Orthodox-Catholic schism is nearly 1, years old it is conventionally dated to , following a period of growing estrangement between the Eastern patriarchates and the Latin Church of Rome. And some modern Orthodox leaders have condemned the idea of reuniting with the Roman Catholic Church, expressing fears that liberal Western values would supplant traditional Orthodox ones.

In countries that have significant Catholic and Orthodox populations, Catholics are, on balance, more likely to favor communion between the two churches. In some cases, the estrangement between the two Christian traditions runs deeper. The survey asked Orthodox Christians and Catholics whether they would be willing to accept each other as fellow citizens of their country, as neighbors or as family members.

In most countries, the vast majority of both groups say they would accept each other as citizens and as neighbors. But the survey reveals at least some hesitation on the part of both Orthodox Christians and Catholics to accept the other as family members, with Catholics somewhat more accepting of Orthodox Christians than vice versa.


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The survey also posed similar questions about three other religious or ethnic groups. Respondents were asked whether they would be willing to accept Jews, Muslims and Roma as citizens of their country, neighbors and family. Roma also known as Romani or Gypsies, a term some consider pejorative face the lowest overall levels of acceptance. There is little or no difference between Catholics and Orthodox Christians when it comes to views of Roma. On balance, acceptance of Jews is higher than of Muslims. But there are some differences in the attitudes of the major Christian groups toward these minorities.

Overall, Catholics appear more willing than Orthodox Christians to accept Jews as family members. On the other hand, Orthodox Christians are generally more inclined than Catholics across the region to accept Muslims as fellow citizens and neighbors. This may reflect, at least in part, the sizable Muslim populations in some countries that also have large Orthodox populations.

Orthodox-majority Russia has approximately 14 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in the region in total number , and Bosnia has substantial populations of both Muslims and Orthodox Christians, but fewer Catholics.


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People in Georgia and Armenia consistently show low levels of acceptance of all three groups as family members compared with other countries in the region. Roughly a quarter in Georgia and Armenia say they would be willing to accept Jews as family members. Pew Research Center previously polled Muslims in the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as in the Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, as part of a survey of Muslims in 40 countries around the world.

Bosnia and Kazakhstan also were included in the survey. The survey found relatively low levels of religious belief and practice among Muslims in the former Soviet bloc countries compared with Muslims elsewhere around the world. No more than half of Muslims surveyed in Russia, the Balkans and in Central Asia say religion is very important in their lives, compared with the vast majorities of Muslims living in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa. Following the same pattern, fewer Muslims in most countries of the former Soviet bloc than elsewhere say they practice core tenets of their faith, such as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, or giving zakat a portion of their accumulated wealth to the needy.

And considerably fewer in most countries favor making sharia the official law of the land in their countries.

go to link The current survey has large enough sample sizes of Muslims for analysis in Bosnia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia. Muslims in Kazakhstan and Russia largely show levels of religious belief and observance similar to those highlighted in the report. A lack of survey data dating back to the early s on the attitudes of Muslim publics makes it difficult to determine the extent to which these populations have experienced religious revival since the fall of the Soviet Union. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.

It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research.

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Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Around the world, different ways of being religious Believing. What is a median? Ukraine divided between east and west The survey results highlight an east-west divide within Ukraine. Muslims in the former Soviet bloc Pew Research Center previously polled Muslims in the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as in the Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo, as part of a survey of Muslims in 40 countries around the world.

Davie, Grace. In the Soviet Union, anti-religious actions by the state included executing priests, confiscating church property and banning religious literature and proselytization. In addition, clergy and religious sympathizers could be declared enemies of the people, a charge that often resulted in imprisonment or execution.


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See Corley, Felix. The men who fought the Revolution may have thanked Providence and attended church regularly—or not. But they also fought a war against a country in which the head of state was the head of the church. It was the recognition of that divisive past by the founders—notably Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison—that secured America as a secular republic.