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Perception vs. Reality

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Sometimes events covered by the press create a perception that is far from reality. That is certainly the case with the press coverage of the political events in Indiana. Reading the newspapers and watching TV coverage, you would think that that the whole nation is disturbed by the fact that the legislature passed a Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was subsequently signed by the governor. Recent polls show a much different picture.

Let’s start with the poll I mentioned last month. The WPA Opinion Research found that more than eight in ten (81%) of the registered voters they polled agreed with this statement: “Government should leave people free to follow their beliefs about marriage as they live their daily lives at work and in the way they run their businesses.” That statement goes beyond even what was contained in the Indiana law. It is also worth mentioning that each and every demographic group agreed with this statement with an overwhelming majority.

Last week a Rasmussen poll found that seven in ten (79%) of likely voters “agree that a Christian wedding photographer who has deeply held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage has the right to turn down working a job at such a wedding.”

Back in February, an Associated Press poll found that a majority of Americans (57%) agreed that: “wedding-related businesses with religious objections should be allowed to refuse service to same sex couples.”

This brings us to the latest Marist poll. It asked specific questions tailored to the controversy in Indiana. A majority (54%) of adults support “religious liberty protection or exemptions for faith-based organizations and individuals.” A smaller minority (39%) opposes such protections. They also found that three-fourths (75%) of adults oppose leveling a fine on individuals who refused to provide wedding-related services.

The media and some outspoken business executives have created the perception that all of America rejects any attempt to provide protection to people with a religious objection of same-sex marriage ceremonies. As you can see, reality is much different.

Viewpoints by Kerby Anderson

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