Monday, November 14, 2005

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly

I happened across Religion & Ethics Newsweekly for the first time on PBS YOU, channel 377 on DirecTV tonight. KRMA, Channel 6, broadcasts this program at 12:30am, which is not exactly primetime. KBDI, Channel 12, broadcasts this program at 5:30am and 11:30am, which is not much better. It concerns me that neither station broadcasts this program during primetime, considering the vacuum in moral leadership that we face in the Bush administration and in the U.S. Congress.

The program tonight was part 3 of a series, "Faith and Family in America," which examined the problems of poor black families -- high rates of divorce, single parents, and out-of-wedlock births. At the same time, a high percentage of African-American women say they are very religious. The program looked at why so many poor African-American families are in trouble, and what their churches are doing to help. The website has a streaming video version of the program available for those without Tivo or those who are VCR-challenged.

The program website also has an interesting report on a survey about religion and the family conducted in conjunction with the "Faith and Family" series. From the report:
On the question of "moral values," the survey found that most American families place a higher priority on personal values than on divisive social issues. In the 2004 national election exit poll, about one fifth of voters said moral values mattered most in deciding how to vote for president. In the RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY survey, roughly the same proportion -- 18% -- named moral values as the concern that worries them the most. But when asked what "moral values" means to them, the largest number of respondents -- 36% -- said personal values such as honesty and responsibility. Only 10% of respondents said "moral values" means opinions on a social issue, such as abortion or gay marriage. One quarter said "family values," such as protecting children.
I remember the breathless commentary from the pundits after the 2004 election about how "moral values" was the number one concern for voters. Of course, the pundits told us that meant the majority of voters were against abortion and against same-sex unions. We suspected that was not true, and now we finally have these survey results to confirm those suspicions.

Speaking of surveys, the November 10th Newsweek poll shows that only 42% of respondents describe George W. Bush as honest and ethical, and only 29% describe Dick Cheney as honest and ethical. So much for moral values and the Bush administration.

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