Church & World: Study Finds Women Becoming More Religious, Conservative

New York, NY (EP) — American women are becoming more religious and more conservative, according to a poll released earlier this year by the feminist Center for Gender Equality.

Women polled were evenly divided when asked it elected officials should be guided by their religious values. In a similar survey done in 1992, 63 percent of respondents said “religion and politics shouldn’t mix.”

The study found a growing opposition to abortion among women. More than half (53 percent) of the women surveyed said abortion should be illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the life of the mother, or should be illegal in all cases. That’s an eight percent drop in support for abortion-on-demand from a similar poll done two years earlier.

Diane Colasanto of Princeton Survey Research Associates, which conducted the poll, called the change on the abortion question “pretty dramatic.”

The survey found that 75 percent of American women consider religion “very important” in their lives — a six percent increase since 1996. The number of women who say they pray each day was up by 11 percent during the same period, and the percentage of women identifying themselves as “born-again or evangelical Christians” grew six percent to 51 percent.

Most women surveyed (76 percent) said religious leaders have a “somewhat positive” or “very positive” effect on the US, and by a two-to-one margin women expressed a favorable opinion on the Christian Coalition’s impact on women’s lives.

Just more than one-third of the women surveyed agreed with the Southern Baptist Convention’s statement that wives should “submit graciously” to their husbands. Still, 4 percent said they believe the society is better off if men are the primary wage-earners and women work at home.

Faye Wattleton, president of the feminist organization which commissioned the survey, called its findings “disturbing.”

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