Survey: Americans Are Just About Evenly Split On the Issue of Religious Displays On Government Property

When it comes to government endorsement of religion, Americans are more or less evenly divided.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 44% of Americans say Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be allowed on government property even if they are not accompanied by symbols from other religions. In addition, 28% of U.S. adults say that such symbols should be permitted, but only if they are accompanied by symbols from other religions, such as Hanukkah candles. One in five (20%) say there should be no religious displays on government property, period.



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Gallup: Religious “Nones” Represents 16% of the U.S.

According to the latest survey results from Gallup, 75% of Americans consider themselves some form of Christian — no significant change from last year — while the percent of Nones/Atheists/Agnostics is pretty steady at 16%:

You’ll notice a very tiny change from last year and it follows the general trend of people shedding their faith:

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Poll: Most Non-Believers Decry CIA Torture, While the Religious Are O.K. With It

Earlier this week, Rachel posted about Bryan Fischer‘s views on torture. Fischer says that when the CIA tortured terrorism suspects, that was OK, because they did so righteously, just like the murderers in the Bible did their work to please God.

For my money, Fischer is the Ann Coulter of the evangelical set: someone with a big mouth, a tiny heart, and a propensity to spout outrageousness. I’ve always considered his views to be on the outer edge of what most Christians find acceptable. But it turns out that at least when it comes to torture, Christians are, overall, broadly in agreement with the man.

Over at MSNBC, Steve Benen scrutinized the results of a recent Washington Post/ABC poll, and concludes:

While many might assume that the faithful would be morally repulsed by torture, the reality is the opposite. When poll respondents were asked, “Do you personally think the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists amounted to torture, or not?” most Americans said the abuses did not constitute torture. But it was non-religious Americans who were easily the most convinced that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” were, in fact, torture.



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Researchers Studied a Decade’s Worth of Atheist Conferences to See If We’re Getting More Diverse

The stereotypical atheist is usually a white guy — Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Maher, to name a few — but there’s been a push over the past several years to go beyond that, to promote the views of atheists who are women, minorities, LGBT, etc.

Sure, you might be able to name people who fit one or more of those categories, but one way to quantify whether there’s a real shift happening movement-wide is by looking at who’s speaking at various atheist conferences.

Christopher Hassall and Ian Bushfield did just that.

They looked at “48 atheist conferences held between 2003 and 2014″ to see what the trends were regarding women and non-white speakers, and they just published their results in the journal Secularism and Nonreligion. That meant analyzing as much as they could from “1223 speaker slots and 630 different speakers.”

So what did they discover?

Women represented just over 30% of all the conference speakers they looked at over the past decade, which is significantly below the percentage of female atheists worldwide.



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According to the Egyptian Government, There Are Precisely 866 Atheists in the Country

According to the 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, atheists (who use that label) comprise 1.6% of the population… If there are about 316,000,000 Americans, that means there are about 5,056,000 atheists in the country.

The key word in all that is “about.” There are undoubtedly a lot of Americans who don’t believe in God but who don’t use the “atheist” label. There are probably lots of atheists who lie and just say they’re religious because of the stigma. We also have to consider the margin of error for the survey. In other words, what we have are strong estimates at best. And every survey reveals slightly different numbers.

But not in Egypt. They don’t do estimates in Egypt:



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