The Morning Buzz | June 21, 2012

Welcome to the Morning Buzz, PRRI’s morning dose of religion-related news with a shot of data – because what doesn’t liven up a morning round-up like some public opinion numbers? If you happen to be the person who stole the rib bone that (maybe) belonged to John the Baptist from a Bulgarian church, the local bishop wants you to know that “hell and damnation will rain down from God, not only on the person who stole it but also on his family and anyone else who knows about it, and even the village where it was taken.” Time to ‘fess up, folks.

Chances are, though, that if you are the miscreant who swiped the rib bone, you don’t believe in hell and damnation in the first place – at least, according to a new study which claims that criminal activity is lower in societies where people’s religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component (i.e., this).

Can “true” Catholics still support policies like same-sex marriage? Slightly more Catholics believe the Catholic Church’s position on the issue of homosexuality is too conservative than believe it is about right. However, among the roughly 4-in-10 Catholics who attend services at least once a week a majority say the Church’s position is about right.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform legislation should be coming down very soon, and a new survey of 38 former clerks of current Supreme Court justices and 18 attorneys who have argued cases before the high court found that most of them think the court will rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, many young adults are likely keeping their fingers crossed that the court doesn’t strike down the entire law: according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 3 million young adults have been able to stay on their parents’ insurance plans because of Obamacare. Perhaps understandably, Millennials (age 18-29) are more likely than seniors (age 65 and older) to say that the new health care reform law will result in more insured Americans (45% vs. 28%).

A government report released yesterday reveals that young women in the U.S. are less likely to get pregnant or have an abortion than they were 20 years ago. Some are saying that more effective methods of birth control are responsible for the shifts. Over 8-in-10 (82%) Americans favor expanding birth control access to women who cannot afford it.

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