Dr. Melissa Deckman is a Professor of Political Science at Washington College and a PRRI Affiliated Scholar. Her research interests center on the intersection of religion, women, and politics. She has written in the past about the Christian Right’s participation in school board politics. Her most recent work is as co-editor and contributor to Curriculum and the Culture Wars: Debating the Bible’s Place in Public Schools. PRRI sat down with Dr. Deckman to discuss the significance of the book.
In just a few weeks, the College of Cardinals will choose the next pope, following the resignation of current Pope Benedict XVI at the end of the month. As the Cardinals deliberate over the next leader of the world’s largest denomination, what do Americans think about the Catholic Church’s public policy stances, and how many believe the Church should preserve traditional beliefs and practices?
Our new graphic shows that majorities of Catholics – including those who attend church most frequently – believe that in its statements about public policy, the Church should focus more on social justice issues, rather than abortion and the right to life. And while a majority of Catholics agree that the Church should adjust its beliefs and practices in light of modern circumstances or adopt modern beliefs and practices, there are some divisions according to frequency of attendance.