Not surprisingly, Venango County-based Hate Group, the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, is completely out-of-step with public attitudes on many issues important to the health and well-being of all in the community.
by Marjorie Connelly for The New York Times:
Despite the deep divide between some religious leaders and government officials over contraceptives, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll found most voters support the new federal directive that health insurance plans provide coverage for birth control.
In addition, most voters said they favored some type of legal recognition for same-sex couples, at a time when the New Jersey Legislature is set to vote on gay marriage and after a federal appellate court ruled that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage in California was unconstitutional.
While same-sex marriage and coverage for contraceptives have generated significant debate this month, the poll suggests that voters do not place social issues high on their agenda. When asked to name one issue that presidential candidates should discuss, most voters, including Republicans who described themselves as primary voters, mentioned an economic problem, like unemployment or the budget deficit. Few said they wanted to hear the candidates talk about abortion or gay marriage, for example.
On contraceptive coverage, 65 percent of voters in the poll said they supported the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, and 59 percent, said the health insurance plans of religiously affiliated employers should cover the cost of birth control.
In a compromise last week, President Obama said insurance companies could shoulder the costs required under the new federal health care law, but the Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders continue to oppose the rule.
A majority of Catholic voters in the poll were at odds with the church’s official stance, agreeing with most other voters that religiously affiliated employers should offer health insurance that provides contraception. Jennifer Davison, 38, a Catholic from Lomita, Calif., agrees with the federal requirement. “My opinion is that it is a personal issue rather than a religious issue,” she said in a follow-up interview.
Unlike Catholics, white evangelical Christian voters were more divided, with half objecting to requiring the health insurance plans of religious employers to cover contraceptives; 43 percent supported it. “It is a religious issue with me,” said Jessica Isner, 22, an evangelical Christian from Elkins, W. Va. “I believe that providing birth control is O.K. if the hospital is not religiously affiliated.”
Gay marriage is another debate in which the Catholic laity disagrees with church doctrine. More than two-thirds of Catholic voters supported some sort of legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships: 44 percent favored marriage, and 25 percent preferred civil unions. Twenty-four percent said gay couples should receive no legal recognition.
Again, white evangelical Christian voters expressed more conservative views. A majority said there should not be legal recognition of a gay relationship, while 18 percent said they should be allowed to marry and 25 percent supported civil unions.
The nationwide telephone poll included 1,064 registered voters, of whom 226 were Catholic and 238 were white evangelical Christians. The margins of sampling error are plus or minus three percentage points for all voters, plus or minus seven points for Catholics, and plus or minus six points for white evangelical Christians.