How Young Americans View Religious Freedom

A recent study, commissioned by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, attempts to measure American attitudes toward religious pluralism and religious tolerance, as well as the related constitutional questions. Focusing on what the results reveal about Generation Z (those born in the late 1990s and afterward), Kelsey Dallas writes:

The good news is that most of the country is generally supportive of religious rights—especially when those rights ensure that members of minority groups feel safe living out their faith. . . . The bad news is that skepticism about religious freedom has a clear source, and it’s one that will exert a growing influence over the country in years to come.

The new research showed that members of Gen Z were less likely than members of other generations—often by a wide margin—to “accept and support” policies that protect the right of people of faith, including religious business owners, to hold unpopular or controversial beliefs. For example, just one-third of Gen Z said individuals who believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman should be protected from discrimination, fines or other penalties, compared to 44 percent of respondents overall.

One possible explanation for these trends . . . is that Gen Z is the least religious generation. Around one-third of Gen Z identifies as religiously unaffiliated, compared to 29 percent of millennials, 25 percent of Generation X, and 18 percent of baby boomers, according to the Survey Center on American Life.

While 85 percent of respondents correctly noted that free speech is one of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, just 47 percent remembered that it also protects religious freedom, the survey found.

Read more at Deseret News

More about: American Religion, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion


Only Hamas’s Defeat Can Pave the Path to Peace

Opponents of the IDF’s campaign in Gaza often appeal to two related arguments: that Hamas is rooted in a set of ideas and thus cannot be defeated militarily, and that the destruction in Gaza only further radicalizes Palestinians, thus increasing the threat to Israel. Rejecting both lines of thinking, Ghaith al-Omar writes:

What makes Hamas and similar militant organizations effective is not their ideologies but their ability to act on them. For Hamas, the sustained capacity to use violence was key to helping it build political power. Back in the 1990s, Hamas’s popularity was at its lowest point, as most Palestinians believed that liberation could be achieved by peaceful and diplomatic means. Its use of violence derailed that concept, but it established Hamas as a political alternative.

Ever since, the use of force and violence has been an integral part of Hamas’s strategy. . . . Indeed, one lesson from October 7 is that while Hamas maintains its military and violent capabilities, it will remain capable of shaping the political reality. To be defeated, Hamas must be denied that. This can only be done through the use of force.

Any illusions that Palestinian and Israeli societies can now trust one another or even develop a level of coexistence anytime soon should be laid to rest. If it can ever be reached, such an outcome is at best a generational endeavor. . . . Hamas triggered war and still insists that it would do it all again given the chance, so it will be hard-pressed to garner a following from Palestinians in Gaza who suffered so horribly for its decision.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict