How Religion Affects Society
More generally, social scientists are discovering the continuing power of religion to protect the family from the forces that would tear it down. 13 Professor Bergin’s summary was echoed two years later by nationally syndicated columnist William Raspberry: “Almost every commentator on the current scene bemoans the increase of violence, lowered ethical standards and loss of civility that mark American society. Is the decline of religious influence part of what is happening to us?
Is it not Just possible that anti-religious bias masquerading as religious neutrality is costing more than we have been willing to acknowledge? ” 14 Other reviewsl 5 also list the positive effects of religious belief and practice in reducing uch problems as suicide, substance abuse, divorce, and marital dissatisfaction. Such evidence indicates clearly that religious practice contributes significantly to the quality of American life.
Given this evidence, Congress should: Begin a new national debate to help renew the role of religion in American life; Ask the General Accounting Office (GAO) to review the evidence on the beneficial effects of religious practice in the relevant social science literature and report its findings to a national commission formed to promote the consideration of religious Fund federal experiments with school choice that ractice among U.
S. citizens; include religiously affiliated schools; Pass a sense-of-the-congress resolution that data on religious practice are useful for policymakers and researchers as part of the public policy debate; and Mandate a census question on religious practice. It religious practice in America.
The President should: Appoint Judges who are more sensitive to the role of religion in public life, with the Senate ensuring that such is the case by ascertaining the stand of Judges on matters of religion and its relationship to the Constitution; Direct the Bureau of he Census to record levels of religious practice in the census for the year 2000 (time is running out for preparation of the census questionnaire); and Issue a directive to all federal agencies making clear that cooperation between government entities and the social, medical, and educational services of faith-based organizations does not violate separation of church and state. The U. S. Supreme Court should: Review the decisions in which it has changed the laws of the land by changing commonly held beliefs regarding the Constitution and religion and send to Congress hose that should have been the object of legislative action rather than Judicial reinterpretation.
America’s religious leaders should: Be much more assertive in emphasizing the contribution of religion to the health of the nation and in resisting efforts to minimize religion in public discourse; Make clear to their congregations that they are contributing not only to their own welfare, but also to the well-being of the nation by their regular attendance at religious worship; Take special care of the religious formation of children, especially during the transition period from childhood to adolescence, when they are ost likely to lose their religious faith; Recognize that the church in the inner city, especially the black church, has a vital role to play in helping its people escape from the degrading culture of inner-city poverty;