Survey: Americans Believe Religious Values Are 'Under Attack'
Los Angeles, CA, November 14, 2008 … A majority of the American people believes that religious values are "under attack," and that the people who run the television networks and major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans, according to a survey from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued today.
American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood, a national poll of 1,000 American adults conducted in October 2008 by The Marttila Communications Group, found that 61% of the American people continue to believe that religious values in this country are "under attack." The poll also found that 59% of Americans agree that "the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans."
The poll was released during the League's 2008 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.
"These findings point to the challenges that we face in dealing with issues of religion in society," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The belief that religion is under attack underlies the drive to incorporate more religion into American public life. Disturbingly, 43% of Americans believe there is an organized campaign by Hollywood and the national media to weaken the influence of religious values in this country."
Among the main findings of the ADL survey, American Attitudes on Religion, Moral Values and Hollywood:
• 61% of Americans say they believe that "Religious values are under attack in this country," while 36% disagree with that statement (graph). 59% agree that "the people who run the TV networks and the major movie studios do not share the religious and moral values of most Americans." And 43% hold the view that Hollywood and the national media are waging an organized campaign to "weaken the influence of religious values in this country." (graph)
• Significantly fewer Americans believe today that Jews control the TV and film industries. The survey showed that 63% disagree with the notion that "the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews," while only 22% agree. When ADL conducted its first survey on anti-Semitic attitudes in 1964, nearly half of all Americans believed that the television and film industries were run by Jews. (graph)
• There is surprising support for censorship. Nearly 40% of the American people support the notion that "dangerous ideas should be banned from public school libraries," and nearly the same number of Americans disagree with the statement that "censoring books is an old-fashioned idea." (graph)
• Nearly half of those surveyed – 49 percent – believe that the United States is becoming "too tolerant in its acceptance of different ideas and lifestyles;" 47 percent disagreed with that statement. (graph)
"It is troubling that so many Americans feel as if the output of Hollywood is part of an organized campaign to undermine religious values in this country and believe that censorship is acceptable," said Mr. Foxman. "It shows that in this age of pervasive media and the widening availability of the Internet, many Americans still maintain a very parochial view toward the information age, and even believe in censorship to 'protect morality.' If anything, it points to the need for a greater awareness of the fundamental role that the First Amendment has played in helping religious freedom in America to be sustained, and indeed, to flourish."
The survey was conducted by the Marttila Communications Group, a Boston-based public opinion research firm that has conducted numerous national surveys for ADL measuring American attitudes on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.09 percent. For many questions, the survey used the technique of split sampling," a process in which the 1,000 sample was split into two demographically representative national samples of 500 respondents each. The margin of error for questions answered by 500 respondents is +/- 4.38 percent.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.