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

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University