In February 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released the first part of its U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, which held a mirror up to the religious composition of the United States. It documented the religious affiliation of this nation and the changes it had undergone, presenting us with an image of ourselves as a very diverse people, with members of every faith tradition, both old and new, finding common ground on our soil.
The second section of the study, released June 23, 2008, looks deeper, asking questions not only about who we are, but also about what we believe and how we put those beliefs into practice. It reveals a country that is both religiously devout, with more than nine in 10 of us saying we believe in God, and religiously tolerant, with seven in 10 saying many religions can lead to eternal life.
But it also reveals that many of us may be uncomfortable with cut-and-dried definitions of our beliefs. How can we explain that one-fifth of people who say they are atheists also say they believe in God? And it hints that our religious beliefs may be neither deep nor firm. How can we explain that so many members of religions whose doctrines clearly state they are the exclusive path to salvation say members of other religions will find salvation, too?
Regardless of the reasons behind the data, the study will continue to be a fertile bed of discussion and story ideas for reporters. It was conducted from May 8 to Aug. 13, 2007, among more than 35,000 adults in the U.S., with additional input from Eastern Orthodox Christians, Buddhists and Hindus. The study also incorporates the 2007 survey of American Muslims conducted with the Pew Research Center, for a total sampling of more than 36,000 Americans.
In this edition
Read “Reporting on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Part One” (Feb. 25, 2008)
|Religionlink story ideas||Beliefs and practices|
God is not dead, but his book club is shrinking – One thing almost all Americans – 92 percent – agree with is that there is a God. Even so, our ideas of God differ greatly, with some reporting belief in a personal God while others view the divine more as an impersonal force. Much lower numbers of people say they read the scriptures: Nearly half (45 percent) of adults report that they seldom or never read scripture outside a house of worship. How do we reconcile these two figures? What do they tell us about the way people of faith think about God and the revealed word?
Atheists believe, too – One out of five atheists and more than half of agnostics say they believe in God. What do they mean by that? Also surprisingly, 8 percent of atheists report they pray or read scriptures with their children, and 10 percent say they pray daily or a few times a week. Twelve percent believe in heaven, and 10 percent say there’s a hell. How and why do they continue to identify themselves as atheists and agnostics? What does this mean to their communities, especially the atheist community, which has been claiming larger numbers in recent years?
Many paths to salvation – Americans take a pluralistic view of salvation. Of those with a religious affiliation, 70 percent say many religions can lead to eternal life, and more than half – 57 percent – of evangelicals agree with that statement. But by definition, evangelicals profess that accepting Christ as one’s savior is the only way to salvation. What do they mean? What does this mean for the evangelical community as a whole?
Political leanings – According to the study, religious affiliation is closely tied to political orientation. Generally, the more religiously observant someone is, the more likely he or she is to be politically conservative, and some religious groups tend toward the Democratic Party (Jews, African-American Protestants, the religiously unaffiliated) while others tend toward the Republicans (Mormons and evangelicals). But when specific questions about politics were asked, the lines between religious observance and political attitudes began to break down. Members of many religions and levels of devotion were concerned with the environment, the plight of the poor and other social issues. How do these findings suggest that Barack Obama and John McCain build bridges to voters of different religious groups?
Politics and the pulpit – The public as a whole is almost evenly split on whether churches should get involved in political matters, but certain faith groups (such as evangelicals, historically black churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jews) tilt strongly in one direction or the other. What shapes their views on this, and to what extent are they involved in efforts to weaken (or fortify) Internal Revenue Service rules on it?
Government and morality – Fifty-two percent of Americans are worried that the government is too involved in morality, but 40 percent want the government to do more. What reasons does each side give for its view? Among those with the greatest percentages advocating a bigger role are Muslims (59 percent), Mormons (54 percent) and evangelicals (50 percent). To what degree might they work together to accomplish this goal?
Literal vs. metaphorical – Six in ten – 63 percent – of Americans say they believe their scriptures are the word of God. But fewer believe it should be interpreted literally, though higher numbers of evangelicals (59 percent) and members of historically black churches (62 percent) believe it should. Half of all Muslims say the Quran is the literal word of God; one-quarter say the Quran should not be interpreted literally.
Heaven and hell – Significantly more people say they believe in heaven (74 percent) than in hell (59 percent). Why? In what faith groups does belief in one mean belief in the other, and in what faith groups are members more likely to believe only in heaven?
Miracles – Most Americans – 79 percent – say they believe in miracles. This is more than the number who say they believe their scriptures are the word of God and more than the number who say they believe in life after death. How do we explain this?
Answered vs. unanswered prayer – Less than one-third of the respondents say they receive answers to their prayers at least once a month. What do the other two-thirds say they get from prayer? Why do they engage in it if they do not feel that their prayers are regularly answered? How do their perceptions influence their frequency of praying or the subjects of their petitions?
Meditation – Meditation is widespread across faiths, with Buddhists reporting a high number (61 percent) of weekly practitioners. But even more Jehovah’s Witnesses (72 percent) say they meditate at least once a week. Numbers are also high among Mormons (56 percent) and members of historically African-American churches (55 percent). How do members of these groups define and practice meditation? How are their practices the same and different?
Who’s praying with the children? – About two-thirds of adults with children living in the house say they pray or read scripture with their children. Numbers are highest among Mormons and lowest among Jews and Buddhists. How do people teach their children to pray, and why? What kinds of prayer (petitionary, intercessory, praise, etc.) do they teach them?
Formal membership – Ninety-two percent of Mormons report being official members of a local house of worship, but only 42 percent of Muslims and 55 percent of Jews say the same. Hindu and Buddhist figures are even lower. What accounts for that, and what challenges do those faith traditions face as a result?
Low service attendance – Only 39 percent of Americans say they attend religious services weekly. What are different religious groups doing to increase that? What other spiritual and religious activities do people engage in outside a traditional house of worship?
Look who’s speaking in tongues – Speaking in tongues is generally associated with Pentecostal traditions. Yet 12 percent of Orthodox Christians – among the most liturgically based traditions – report they speak or pray in tongues at least once a week. Another 6 percent say they do at least once a year. What role does this Pentecostal practice play in Orthodox worship? How did it evolve in Orthodox Christianity?
The afterlife – Only six in 10 (62 percent) of Buddhists believe in the state of nirvana. A similar number – 61 percent – of Hindus believe in reincarnation. Both concepts are considered central to their respective faiths. What holds Buddhists and Hindus who do not believe in them to their faiths?
None of the above? Not exactly – The religiously unaffiliated report a high level of religiosity, with 70 percent claiming a belief in God and 41 percent describing religion as “somewhat important” in their lives. What do they do to feed their spiritual longings? Where do they go to find religious nourishment and/or community?
Satisfaction gap – A majority of members of every religion reported that they were “very satisfied” with their personal lives – with one exception. Less than half (47 percent) of all members of traditionally African-American churches reported that they were very happy with their personal lives. Why?
Hot-button issues – On some of the most controversial issues of the day, interesting nuances showed up in the survey’s findings; consider exploring these further. For example, despite the church’s stance, more Catholics say abortions should remain legal in most/all cases (48 percent) than favor making it illegal most or all of the time (45 percent). On evolution, 58 percent of Catholics say that it’s the best explanation for the origins of human life, compared with just 48 percent of the total population.
Religion and modern life – A majority of Americans (54 percent) with a religious affiliation say there is no conflict between being devout and living in a modern society. But a hefty portion – 40 percent – says there is. How do people experience and solve this tension in their lives?
See this section of ReligionLink’s Feb. 25, 2008, tip, “Reporting on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.”
• Peter Berger is director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University. He can comment on how the data compare with findings on religious beliefs and practices in other nations. Contact 617-277-0713 (home office), 617-353-9050, email@example.com.
• Peter Beyer is a professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Ottawa. He is an expert on the religious diversity of Canada and can discuss how the study results compare with data about that nation. He requests that any interviews be brief. Contact 613-298-6638, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mark Chaves is a professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He is an expert on the health of American religious congregations and has directed the National Congregations Study. He served as a consultant to the Religious Landscape study. He is away until June 30 but will check phone messages at 919-408-1188. After that date, contact him at 919-660-5783, Mac58@soc.duke.edu.
• Roger Finke is a sociology professor at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. He is also director of the Association of Religion Data Archives. He served as a consultant to the Pew study. Contact 814-867-1427, email@example.com.
• Brian Grim is a senior research fellow in religion and world affairs at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C. He previously managed the international data for the Association of Religion Data Archives. He can discuss how the Religious Landscape study results compare with studies on religious beliefs and practices in other nations. Contact via Robbie Mills, 202-419-4564, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Todd Johnson is director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass. The center maintains the World Christian Database, a collection of demographic information on religion worldwide. He can discuss the way the study compares with data collected on Christians in other nations. Johnson says some of the study data may reflect a “bland secularism” that has members of some religions unsure about the actual tenets of their faith and that may lead to leaders of religious communities refocusing on educating their adherents. Contact 978-468-2750, email@example.com.
• D. Michael Lindsay is an assistant professor of sociology at Rice University in Houston. He is an expert on religion in urban areas and on American evangelicalism. He says the study shows that Americans approach religion as a salad bar, taking what they want from traditions outside their own and ignoring some things within their own religious traditions. Contact 713-348-5511, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Stephen Prothero is chair of the religion department at Boston University. He is the author of Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know – and Doesn’t (2007). He says the study shows that Americans believe they can be both devout and tolerant at the same time. Contact 617-353-4426, email@example.com.
• Tom Smith is a senior fellow and director of the General Social Survey at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. He is at work on a study of religious change, including how people think about God. He served as a consultant to the Religious Landscape study and is an expert on Catholics and Protestants. Contact 773-256-6288, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Alan Wolfe is director of the Boise Center for Religion and American Public Life and a political science professor at Boston College. He is the author of many books, including The Transformation of American Religion: How We Actually Live Our Faith. Contact 617-552-1862, email@example.com.
For additional sources, see this section of ReligionLink’s Feb. 25, 2008, tip on the first release from the study, “Reporting on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.”
• Christine D. Chapman co-wrote Black Power From the Pew: Laity Connecting Congregations and Communities (2007). She is an adjunct professor at Georgia State University and at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Contact 404-527-7700.
• Michael I.N. Dash is professor of ministry and context at the Interdenominational Theological Center. He co-directed the ITC/Faith Factor Project 2000 study, which focused on African-American congregations and is part of Hartford Seminary’s Faith Communities Today project. Contact 404-527-7700, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Lawrence H. Mamiya, with the late C. Eric Lincoln, wrote The Black Church in the African American Experience, about their survey of some 1,900 ministers and 2,100 churches. Mamiya is professor of religion at Vassar College outside of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He’s a widely recognized expert on African-American religion in general and on the Nation of Islam. Contact 845-437-7490, email@example.com.
• Anthony B. Pinn is a professor of humanities and religious studies at Rice University in Houston. He is also executive director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, and he co-chairs the American Academy of Religion’s Black Theology Group. He wrote Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion and numerous other books about African-American religion. Contact 713-348-2710, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Jan. 8, 2007, “Guide to African-Americans and Religion.”
• Derek Davis is dean of the college of humanities at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. He is a former editor of the Journal of Church and State, where he wrote about the question, is atheism a religion? Contact 254-295-4143, email@example.com.
• Joseph Gerteis is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He is the co-author of a 2006 study on the social acceptance of atheists in America. He is an expert on American attitudes about diversity, including religious diversity. Contact 612-624-1615, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Phil Zuckerman is an associate professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif. He is the author of the forthcoming book Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment (October 2008) and editor of the forthcoming Atheism (2009). Contact 909-607-4495, email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s May 7, 2007, tip, “Atheist Awakening: The Appeal of Unbelief.”
• James William Coleman is a sociology professor at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. He is the author of The New Buddhism: The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition. Contact 805-756-1230, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Donald S. Lopez Jr. is a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is the author of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West and editor of Critical Terms for the Study of Buddhism. Contact email@example.com.
• Paul D. Numrich is chair of the Program in World Religions and Inter-Religious Dialogue at the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus in Ohio, and affiliate research associate professor in the sociology department at Loyola University Chicago. While working with the Religion in Urban America Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he directed the Buddhist Chicago Project, through which he visited more than 60 Buddhist temples, centers and groups in the Chicago area. Contact 740-362-3443, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Richard H. Seager is a professor of religious studies at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. He is studying the globalization and Americanization of Buddhism and is the author of Buddhism in America and Encountering the Dharma: Daisaku Ikeda, Soka Gakkai and the Globalization of Buddhist Humanism. Contact 315-859-4132, email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Jan. 23, 2006, tip, “Ancient Faith Experiences an Explosion of Growth in U.S.”
• Mary Bendyna is executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. She can compare and contrast the Religious Landscape study’s data with the center’s own data on Catholics. Contact 202-687-0839, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• William V. D’Antonio is an adjunct professor of sociology at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is a leading analyst of the changing roles of Catholic laity in society and politics. D’Antonio is the co-author of Laity: American and Catholic: Transforming the Church and of American Catholics Today: New Realities of Their Faith and Their Church. Contact 202-319-5911, email@example.com.
• James D. Davidson is a sociology professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Davidson can comment on the trends shaping political attitudes and beliefs of American Catholics. Contact 765-494-4688, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• James T. Fisher is co-director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University in New York City. He can help decipher the Catholic data in the study. Contact 212-636-7698, email@example.com.
• Mary Gautier is a senior research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Contact 202-687-8086, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mark Gray is a research associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He can comment on the apparent political realignment of Catholics. Contact 202-687-0085, email@example.com.
• Michael Horan is a theologian at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles who can relate Catholic beliefs to Catholic practice, particularly in the political realm. Contact 310-338-2755, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Sister Mary Johnson is a professor of sociology and religious studies at Emmanuel College in Boston who lectures widely on Catholicism. She is a co-author of Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice and is writing a book on Catholic religious orders. Contact 617-735-9830, email@example.com.
• Michael Cromartie is vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and a prominent researcher on evangelical issues. Contact 202-682-1200, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Richard J. Mouw is president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., a leading evangelical institution. He can comment on the data about evangelicals, including the data on homosexuality, politics and prayer. Contact 626-584-5201, email@example.com.
• Walter B. Shurden retired in December 2007 from Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where he was the founding executive director of the Center for Baptist Studies. He can discuss the attitudes, beliefs and practices of all Baptists. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Corwin E. Smidt is a professor of political science at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and an expert on the political and cultural involvement of conservative Christians, including Pentecostals. Contact 616-526-6233.
• Chris Soper is a political science professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., and the author of Evangelical Christianity in the United States and Great Britain: Religious Beliefs, Political Choices. Contact 310-506-4792, email@example.com.
• Grant Wacker is a professor of church history at Duke University Divinity School in Durham, N.C. He specializes in the history of evangelicalism. Contact 919-660-3462, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s archived tips dealing with evangelicalism.
• Diana L. Eck is a professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. She is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism, having traveled and written widely about India and its religions. She is also director of Harvard’s Pluralism Project, which explores the religious diversity of the U.S. Contact 617-495-5781, email@example.com.
• Michael J. Gressett is a graduate student at the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions at the University of Florida in Gainesville. His research interests include Hindu traditions in America. Contact 352-392-1625, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Khyati Y. Joshi is an assistant professor of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., and author of New Roots in America’s Sacred Ground: Religion, Race and Ethnicity in Indian America (2006). Contact 210-692-2836, email@example.com.
• Vasudha Narayanan is a professor of religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville and director of its Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions. She is a past president of the American Academy of Religion. Contact 352-392-1625, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• B.V.K. Sastry is a professor at Hindu University of America in Orlando, Fla., where he teaches courses in Hindu practices and principles. Contact email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Feb. 12, 2007, source guide, “Hinduism: A Guide to U.S. Experts and Organizations.”
• Arthur Greil is a sociology professor at Alfred University in Alfred, N.Y. He wrote an entry on Jehovah’s Witnesses for Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. He is also an expert on magic and religion. Contact 607-871-2885, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Carl Raschke is a professor of religious studies at the University of Denver. He wrote about Jehovah’s Witnesses in Contemporary American Religion. Contact 303-871-3206, email@example.com.
• Watchtower is the official Web site of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It contains a page listing the official beliefs of the group. The international headquarters are in Brooklyn, N.Y. Contact the office of communications, 718-560-5600.
• David Weddle is a religion professor at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He has written entries on Jehovah’s Witnesses for several encyclopedias and is the author of an article titled “A New ‘Generation’ of Jehovah’s Witnesses: Revised Interpretation, Ritual and Identity” that appeared in the journal Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions in 2000. He is also an expert in contemporary religious ideas and attitudes about miracles. Contact 719-389-6615, DWeddle@ColoradoCollege.edu.
• Rabbi Rachel Cowan is a Reform rabbi and executive director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, which uses Torah study, prayer, mindfulness meditation, yoga and spiritual direction and retreats to nurture deeper spirituality among rabbis, cantors and lay people. She says she is not surprised by the comparatively low numbers of Jews who report spiritual practices and service attendance, but believes Jews are beginning to ask more spiritual questions and explore new ways of thinking about and experiencing God. She is based in New York City. Contact 212-774-3608, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Arnold M. Eisen is chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City. He co-wrote The Jew Within: Self, Family and Community in America, which looks at the results of surveys Eisen and his co-author conducted with American Jews. The book states that American Jews today are less attached to Israel and that their primary expression of religious identification is observing Jewish holidays. Contact 212-678-8071, email@example.com.
• Rabbi Jerome Epstein is executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. He has long lamented the lack of connectedness many American Jews feel to religious Judaism. Contact 212-533-7800, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Jonathan D. Sarna is a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. He is the author of American Judaism: A History and can discuss Jewish beliefs and practices. Contact 781-736-2977, email@example.com.
• Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin is director of Chabad.org and a spokesman for Chabad-Lubavitch, a branch of Hasidic Judaism that tries to reach out to American Jews who it believes have not been exposed to “authentic” Judaism. He believes there is a renaissance of spirituality among American Jews. Contact 718-735-2000 ext. 212 or 917-804-7137 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Rabbi Eric Yoffie is president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Contact 212-650-4150, email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Sept. 8, 2004, tip, “Jews Mark 350th Anniversary of American Jewish Life,” and Sept. 12, 2006, tip, “Quest for Jewish Spirituality Broadens, Deepens.”
• Terryl L. Givens is a professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. He is the author of several books on Latter-day Saints, including The Latter-day Saint Experience in America and People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture (2007). Contact 804-289-8303, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Tim Heaton is a sociologist at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He studies LDS demographics. Contact 801-422-3280, email@example.com.
• Michael Otterson is head of public relations for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. He can discuss broad demographics. Contact 801-450-8911, OttersonMR@ldschurch.org.
• Kelly Patterson is in the department of political science at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and has done some research on LDS demographics and voting patterns. Contact 801-422-3423, Kelly_patterson@byu.edu.
• Nancy Ammerman is a professor of the sociology of religion at Boston University and a leading expert on congregational dynamics, especially in mainline Protestantism. Her books include, as editor, Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives. Contact 617-353-3066, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Randall Balmer is a professor of American religious history at Barnard College, Columbia University, in New York City. He is the author of numerous books on American Protestants, including Protestantism in America, which he co-wrote with Lauren F. Winner. He is also an expert on American evangelicals and on Presbyterians. Contact 212-854-2597, email@example.com.
• Diana Butler Bass is senior research fellow and director of the Project on Congregations of Intentional Practice, a study of mainline Protestant vitality at the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. She is the author of Christianity for the Rest of Us (2006) and Episcopalians in America (2007). Contact 703-370-6600, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s June 4, 2007, tip, “The Religious ‘Left’ Reasserts Itself.”
• Ihsan Bagby is an associate professor of Islamic studies in the department of modern and classical languages, literatures and cultures at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He studies Muslims in the United States, including the growth of Islam here, African-Americans and Islam, demographics of American Muslims and the growth of Islam in prisons. In 2001, he conducted the first comprehensive study of U.S. mosques, “The Mosque in America: A National Portrait,” for the Council on American-Muslim Relations, on whose board he serves. Contact 859-257-9638, email@example.com.
• Frederick M. Denny is professor emeritus of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His expertise is in Islam in the contemporary world, including religious ideas and practices and demographics, including Muslim communities in North America. Contact 303-492-8041 (department), firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Ingrid Mattson is a professor of Islamic studies and Christian-Muslim relations at Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn., and effective July 1, she will also be director of the Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations there. She is widely respected among American Muslims for her scholarship. She can address questions of general Islamic beliefs and attitudes. Contact 860-509-9531, email@example.com.
• Jane I. Smith is professor of Islamic studies and co-director of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Starting July 1, she will be associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at Harvard Divinity School. Among her areas of expertise are Muslim communities in America and Islamic conceptions of death and afterlife. Contact through June 30 at 860-509-9532, firstname.lastname@example.org. After July 1, contact 617-495-5761.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Aug. 7, 2006, source guide, “Islam: A Guide to U.S. Experts and Organizations.”
• Robert Fuller is a professor of religious studies at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and the author of Spiritual but Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America. Contact 309-677-3282, email@example.com.
• Penny Long Marler is a religion sociologist at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., who has researched and written about people who are spiritual but not religious. She has been critical of research methods that she says have artificially forced people to choose between being either “spiritual” or “religious.” Contact 205-726-2869, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Darren Sherkat is a sociologist at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale who has extensively researched social movements and religious change. He has studied survey data for trends about religiously unaffiliated people and can also address their attitudes toward politics. Contact 618-453-2494, email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Sept. 29, 2003, tip, “‘None’ sense: Engaging the ‘Spiritual But Not Religious.’”
• Lawrence Cunningham is a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame. He wrote the entry on angels in the Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion. He can also discuss the Catholic data in the study. Contact 574-631-7137, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Duane Garrett is a professor of Old Testament interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. He wrote Angels and the New Spirituality. Contact email@example.com.
• Michael Rogness is a professor of preaching at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., who has written about popular fascination with angels. Contact 651-641-3420, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Vinita Hampton Wright is a Chicago-based novelist and religion editor who wrote A Catalogue of Angels: The Heavenly, the Fallen and the Holy Ones Among Us (2006), about angels in the three Abrahamic traditions. Contact VinitaWright@sbcglobal.net.
For sources, see ReligionLink’s July 12, 2004, tip, “New Angles on Angels,” and an Oct. 9, 2003, tip, “Satan’s Higher Profile: What the Devil is Going On?”
• Paul Crowley is a Catholic priest and a professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif. He has written about Catholic concepts of heaven and evil. Contact 408-554-4542, email@example.com.
• Charles Hallisey is an associate professor in the languages and cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He has written about Buddhist ideas of death and the afterlife. Contact 608-262-4943, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Colleen McDannell is a professor of religious studies at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and author of many books, including (as co-author) Heaven: A History, an examination of Christian ideas and imagery of the higher realms. Contact 801-581-4748, email@example.com.
• A. Kevin Reinhart is an associate professor of religion at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He is an expert on Islam and has written about Islamic conceptions of the afterlife. Contact 603-646-3204, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Alan Franklin Segal is a professor of Jewish studies at Columbia University in New York City and author of Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion. Contact 212-854-5419, email@example.com.
• Ross Stolzenberg is a sociology professor at the University of Chicago. He has written about Jewish concepts of the afterlife. Contact 773-702-8685, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Dr. Margaret Poloma is a professor emeritus of religion at the University of Akron who wrote about Christian belief in miracles and other supernatural/paranormal phenomenon in Main Street Mystics: The Toronto Blessing and Reviving Pentecostalism. She describes herself as a Pentecostal Christian who has experienced paranormal phenomena within the framework of her religion. Contact 330-972-6837 or 330-328-7860 (cell), email@example.com.
• Mary Roach is the author of Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, in which she investigates claims of life after death and attempts to understand why people believe in reincarnation despite a lack of proof. Contact via Norton publicity, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Lisa J. Schwebel is an assistant professor in the department of classical and Oriental studies at Hunter College in New York City and author of Apparitions, Healings and Weeping Madonnas: Christianity and the Paranormal. Contact 212-772-4960, email@example.com.
• Christine Wicker is the author of two books on the supernatural and paranormal, Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town That Talks to the Dead and Not in Kansas Anymore: The Curious Tale of How Magic is Transforming America. Contact Christine@christinewicker.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Dec. 3, 2007, tip, “Modern Miracles: Belief Endures.”
• Mark Massa is a professor of theology and co-director of the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University in New York City. He is also a Jesuit priest and can address Catholic concepts of God. Contact 718-817-4719, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Robert Millet is a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He has written about Mormon concepts of the nature of God. Contact 801-422-7042, email@example.com.
• Mark Noll is a history professor at the University of Notre Dame. His expertise includes American religious history, especially American evangelical history. He can discuss evangelical ideas of God. He is the author of many books, including American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction. Contact 574-631-7574, Mark.Noll.firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Julie Hicks Patrick is an associate professor of psychology at West Virginia University in Morgantown. She is working on a journal article that examines what adults pray and why. Contact 304-293-2001 ext. 31680, Julie.Patrick@mail.wvu.edu.
• Mary Elizabeth Perry is a certified spiritual director in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who teaches Lectio Divina and meditation as a form of prayer. She can discuss the mainline Protestant concept of meditation. She lives in Mobile, Ala. Contact 251-471-5727, email@example.com.
• Laurence Hull Stookey is a professor of preaching and worship at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. He has written about the language of prayer and praying in public. Contact 202-885-8642, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For sources, see ReligionLink’s Aug. 13, 2007, tip, “Prayer Beyond Words.”
• Kent P. Jackson is a professor of ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He can address questions about Mormons’ relationship to their scriptures and the practice of reading them alone, in groups and with children. Contact 801-422-3139, email@example.com.
• Richard Peace is a professor of evangelism and spiritual formation at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. He is the author of Contemplative Bible Reading: Experiencing God Through Scripture. Contact 626-584-5646, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Anant Rambachan is a professor of religion at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism, an ongoing project. He has written on Hindu attitudes about their sacred scriptures. Contact 507-786-3080, email@example.com.
Fifty-one percent of those surveyed say abortion should remain legal in all or most cases; 48 percent of Catholic respondents share that view.
• Robert M. Baird is a professor and chairman of the philosophy department at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He co-edited the book The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice. Contact 817-755-3368, Robert_Baird@baylor.edu.
• Stanley M. Hauerwas is professor of theological ethics at the Divinity School at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He wrote “Why Abortion Is a Religious Issue” for the book The Church and Abortion: In Search of New Ground for Response. Contact 919-660-3420.
• Daniel C. Maguire is a theology professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee and editor of Sacred Rights: The Case for Contraception and Abortion in World Religions. Contact 414-288-5508, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Abdulaziz A. Sachedina is professor of Islamic studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and wrote the entry on abortion for the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an. Contact 434-924-6725, email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s April 18, 2007, tip, “U.S. Supreme Court: Court Upholds ‘Partial-Birth Abortion’ Ban.”
Fifty-two percent worry that government is too involved in morality, but 40 percent say government should be doing more.
• James Davison Hunter is a professor of sociology and religious studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and a frequent writer and commentator on the “culture wars” dividing America, especially as regards homosexuality. He is the author of Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. Contact 434-924-6524, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Morris Fiorina is co-author, with Jeremy Pope, of Culture War?: The Myth of a Polarized America. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., where he is an expert in public opinion. Contact 650-723-1754.
• Peter Kreeft is a philosophy professor at Boston College and the author of How to Win the Culture War: A Christian Battle Plan for a Society in Crisis. He has also written about angels and demons. Contact 617-552-3871, email@example.com.
• Leigh Eric Schmidt is a professor of religion at Princeton University and author of Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality From Emerson to Oprah, which links American interest in mysticism and spirituality with political liberalism. He traced that connection at the 2005 Pew forum “Spirit Wars: American Religion in Progressive Politics.” Contact 609-258-5285, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forty-two percent of those surveyed say their values are threatened by the entertainment industry; 56 percent say theirs are not.
• Andrew Flescher is a professor of religion at California State University, Chico. He teaches a course in religion and film that looks at religion and self in contemporary American society. Contact 530-898-5534, email@example.com.
• Lesley A. Northup is an associate professor of religion and culture at Florida International University in Miami and is an expert on religion and broadcasting. Among her courses is one on religion and television. Contact 305-348-2956, Northupl@fiu.edu.
• S. Brent Plate is a professor of religion and visual arts at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He has written widely about religion, art and visual culture, including television and film. Contact 817-257-6444, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s June 28, 2007, “Guide to Experts on Religion and Pop Culture,” which contains a section on films and television.
• Margaret A. Farley is a professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Conn. She is Catholic and has written widely about Christian sexual ethics. Contact 203-432-5355, email@example.com.
• Dean R. Hoge is a professor emeritus of sociology in the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is one of the foremost researchers on Catholic issues and can address Catholic attitudes toward homosexuality, both in terms of gay marriage and gay clergy. Contact Hoge@cua.edu.
• Mark D. Jordan is a religion professor at Emory University in Atlanta. He is a well-known author of several books on homosexuality in Christianity, including Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage. Contact 404-727-6002, firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the study, nearly eight out of 10 Americans say there is an absolute standard of right and wrong, but only a minority cite religious teachings as their biggest influence when weighing these matters. The majority say they rely on personal experience and common sense to decide between right and wrong.
• David Callahan is author of The Cheating Culture: Why More American are Doing Wrong to Get Ahead and co-founder of the public policy center Demos. He maintains a Web site about cheating in the news and research on cheating. Contact via Wendy Paris, 212-725-0674 or 917-622-0912, email@example.com.
• Darrell J. Fasching is a professor of religious studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He is co-author of Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach and can discuss the different attitudes toward lying and honesty among the world religions. Contact 813-974-1878, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Kathy Kinlaw is acting director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University in Atlanta. Contact 404-727-2201, email@example.com.
• Douglas Porpora is the author of Landscapes of the Soul: The Loss of Moral Meaning in American Life and chairman of the department of culture and communications at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Contact 215-895-2470, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s April 12, 2004, tip, “In All Honesty . . . A Culture of Lies.”
• Barry Hankins is a professor of church-state studies at the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Contact 254-710-4667, email@example.com.
• Charles Haynes is a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va., and an expert on the First Amendment and religious liberty. He can address the change in public attitudes toward the separation between church and state. Contact 703-528-0800, Chaynes@freedomforum.org.
• Allen D. Hertzke is a political science professor and director of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is co-author of Religion and Politics in America: Faith, Culture and Strategic Choices. Contact 405-325-6421, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Richard Land is president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He can discuss the history of church-state separation and the Southern Baptist Church. Contact Jill Martin, 615-782-8417, email@example.com.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s “Guide to Church-State Experts and Organizations.”
• Edith Blumhofer is director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. She can discuss the history and attitudes of American evangelicals and international issues, from missionary activity to interest in the Middle East. Contact 630-752-5437, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Michael Cromartie is vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He can discuss the relationship of evangelicals to American foreign policy. Contact 202-682-1200, email@example.com.
• John Judis is a senior editor at The New Republic and a visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He wrote an article about the influence of religion on U.S. foreign policy. Contact 202-939-2322, jjudis@CarnegieEndowment.org.
• Leo Ribuffo is a history professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has written about the complex relationship between religion and American foreign policy. Contact 202-994-6469, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed say stricter environmental laws are worth the cost. Seventy-seven percent of Jews and 78 percent of agnostics share that opinion.
• The Rev. Sally Bingham is an Episcopal priest who leads the Regeneration Project. She can address mainline Protestant feeling about the environment. The Regeneration Project is based in San Francisco. Contact 415-561-4891, email@example.com.
• Paul Gorman is founder and executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, based in Amherst, Mass. The partnership, which claims to represent 100 million Americans, is an alliance of major faith groups and denominations across the spectrum of Jewish and Christian communities and organizations in the United States. It includes the U.S. Catholic bishops, the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the National Council of Churches. Contact 413-253-1515, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Roger S. Gottlieb is a philosophy professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. He has written several books on religion and the environment, including A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet’s Future (2006), and he edited The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology (2006). Contact 508-831-5439, email@example.com.
• Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a professor of Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He has written about the religious and spiritual dimensions of the environmental crisis. Contact 202-994-5704, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mary Evelyn Tucker is a senior lecturer and research scholar in the forestry and environmental studies and in religious studies at Yale University in Hartford, Conn. She is the author of Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase and co-coordinator of Harvard University’s Forum on Religion and Ecology. Contact email@example.com.
• Martin David Yaffe is a professor of philosophy and religion studies at the University of North Texas in Denton. He is the editor of Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader. Contact 940-565-2266, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Nov. 12, 2007, “Source Guide on Religion and the Environment.”
According to the study, 48 percent of Americans agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life, while 45 percent disagree – a reflection of the broader division in society over this issue that blends religion, science and education.
• Michael Behe is a biochemistry professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., and author of Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution and The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism (2007). His Web page contains this disclaimer: “My ideas about irreducible complexity and intelligent design are entirely my own. They certainly are not in any sense endorsed by either Lehigh University in general or the Department of Biological Sciences in particular. In fact, most of my colleagues in the Department strongly disagree with them.” Contact 610-758-3474, email@example.com.
• John Bloom is a physics professor at Biola University, a Christian school in La Mirada, Calif. He founded the school’s master’s degree program in science and religion, and he teaches a course in intelligent design that asks the question, “Why isn’t the evidence clearer?” Contact via Biola’s media relations department, 562-777-4061.
• John Haught is a systematic theologian at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He has written and spoken widely on the subject of Christianity, evolution and intelligent design and testified for the plaintiffs in the Dover, Pa., evolution-intelligent design trial. Contact 202-687-6119, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more sources, see ReligionLink’s Oct. 8, 2007, tip, “Evolution vs. Intelligent Design: The Battle Continues.”
• To look at how the current survey compares with previous broad-based religion surveys, see the major religious affiliation surveys section of ReligionLink’s Feb. 25, 2008, tip, “Reporting on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.”
• A Gallup poll conducted in June 2007 found that 86 percent of Americans say they believe in God, while 81 percent say they believe in heaven and 70 percent say they believe in the devil.
• A Harris Poll conducted in November 2005 found that 82 percent of Americans say they believe in God, 73 percent say they believe in miracles, 70 percent believe in an afterlife, 70 percent believe in heaven, and 61 percent believe in the devil.
• ABC News conducted a poll in October 2005 which found that 89 percent of Americans say they believe in heaven; of those who do, 24 percent say it is for Christians only.
• Newsweek and Beliefnet conducted a poll in August 2005 that asked respondents about their attitudes on God, prayer, the afterlife and heaven and hell. Their poll found that 30 percent of Americans said they attend religious services weekly, 20 percent said they read a sacred text daily, 29 percent said they meditate every day, and 64 percent said they pray daily.
• The Barna Group maintains a list of its poll findings on church attendance. Among the findings are that 47 percent of Americans say they attend church on a typical weekend. A poll on belief in the devil found that less than half of Americans say they believe the devil is a real being; 46 percent of evangelical Christians deny the devil’s existence, and 64 percent of Catholics say the devil is only a symbol.
For more regional sources, see ReligionLink’s Feb 25, 2008, tip, “Reporting on the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey.”
• Wendy Cadge is an assistant professor of sociology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. She has written widely about homosexuality and Christianity, especially as it pertains to mainline Protestantism. Contact 781-736-2641, email@example.com.
• Michele Dillon is a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire in Durham. She contributed an article on the afterlife to Contemporary American Religion. She is also an expert on religious attitudes about abortion and wrote “The American Abortion Debate: Culture War or Normal Discourse?” for the book The American Culture Wars: Current Contests and Future Prospects. Contact 781-239-3552, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Ian Markham is a professor of theology and ethics and dean of Hartford Seminary in Hartford, Conn. He is an expert on mainline Christianity and is the author, with the Rev. Martyn Percy of Oxford, of Why Liberal Churches Are Growing (2006). He can discuss mainline Christianity. Contact 860-509-9553, email@example.com.
• David M. O’Leary is a Jesuit priest and a senior lecturer in comparative religions and medical ethics at Tufts University in Medford, Mass. He contributed articles on heaven and hell to The Encyclopedia of Religious and Spiritual Development. Contact 617-627-3427, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Geneive Abdo is the author of Mecca and Main Street: Muslim Life in America After 9/11 (2006), which is based on interviews with Muslims and their families across the United States. She is based in New Jersey. Contact through Christian Purdy in the publicity department of Oxford University Press, 212-726-6032 or Christian.email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Louis Bolce teaches a course on religion and politics at Baruch College in New York City. With Gerald De Maio, also of Baruch College, he has written that the clearest indicator of voting patterns is religious affiliation. Contact 646-312-4416, Louis_Bolce@baruch.cuny.edu.
• Robert Destro is a law professor at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and co-director and founder of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion. He co-authored, with Michael S. Ariens, Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society, the nation’s leading law school textbook on religious liberty. Contact 202-319-5202, email@example.com.
• Lewis D. Solomon is a professor of business law at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is an expert on Jewish spirituality and wrote the book Jewish Spirituality: Revitalizing Judaism for the Twenty-First Century. Contact 202-994-6753, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Barbara G. Wheeler is the longtime president of Auburn Theological Seminary in New York, a leading Presbyterian seminary. She can discuss the data on mainline Protestants, including on the subjects of homosexuality, abortion and politics. Contact through her assistant, Mercedes Rivera, at 212-662-4315, email@example.com.
• David R. Blumenthal is a professor of Judaic studies at Emory University in Atlanta. He is an expert on Jewish mysticism and spirituality and can also tackle questions about the Jewish concept of evil. Contact 404-727-7545, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Bill J. Leonard is dean of the divinity school and a professor of church history at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. He is an expert on evangelical Christians, especially Baptists, and contributed articles on heaven and hell to Contemporary American Religion. Contact 336-631-9504, email@example.com.
• Melissa Rogers is a visiting professor of religion and public policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School in Winston-Salem, N.C. She previously served as executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in Washington, D.C. Her expertise includes religion and politics, and separation of church and state. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• June Tangney is a psychology professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. She is co-author of the chapter “A Moral-Emotional Perspective on Evil Persons and Evil Deeds” in The Social Psychology of Good and Evil. Contact 703-993-4051, email@example.com.
• Steven M. Tipton is a professor of the sociology of religion at Emory University in Atlanta. He researches American religion and politics, and the sociology of morality. Contact 404-727-6332, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Jay Geller is an assistant professor of modern Jewish culture and religious studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Contact 615-353-3968, email@example.com.
• Charles Lippy teaches philosophy and religion at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, and specializes in American religious history. He wrote Being Religious, American-Style: A History of Popular Religiosity in the United States. Contact 423-425-4340, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Wilfred McClay is a history professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is an expert on evangelical attitudes and beliefs and can address questions about church-state beliefs. Contact 423-425-5202, Bill-McClay@utc.edu.
• Darby Kathleen Ray is an associate professor of religious studies and director of the Millsaps Faith and Work Initiative at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. She is the editor of Theology That Matters: Ecology, Economy and God (2006). Contact 601-974-1337, email@example.com.
• Robert B. Stewart is an associate professor of philosophy and theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an expert on American evangelicals. Contact 504-282-4455 ext. 8017, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Laurie Bagby is an associate professor of political science at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., where she teaches a course on religion and politics. Contact 785-532-0441, email@example.com.
• James B. Martin-Schramm is a professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He has written about population, consumption and Christian ethics and about Christian environmental ethics. Contact 563-387-1251, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Kenneth Pargament teaches psychology at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and has researched the psychological dimensions of spirituality. He has written extensively on spirituality and its uses in everyday life. Contact 419-372-8037, email@example.com.
• Walter Sundberg teaches church history at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and has written about religion, politics and trends in American religion. Contact 651-641-3270, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Paul Allen Williams is an assistant professor in the department of philosophy and religion at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and editor of the Journal of Religion and Film. Contact 402-554-6016, email@example.com.
• Thomas Richard Dunlap is a history professor at Texas A&M University in College Station. He is the author of Faith in Nature: Environmentalism as Religious Quest. Contact 979-845-7107, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Barry Hankins is a professor of church-state studies at the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Contact 254-710-4667, email@example.com.
• Gregory Kaplan is an assistant professor of Judaic studies at Rice University in Houston. He is an expert on modern Judaism. Contact 713-348-2778, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mark G. Toulouse is a professor of American religious history at the Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He wrote the article “Perspectives on Abortion in the Christian Community From the 1950s to the Early 1990s” for the journal Encounter (2001) and can discuss the trends reflected in the new data on abortion and religion. Contact 817-257-7592, email@example.com.
• Jane Vennard is a United Church of Christ pastor and retreat leader. She is the author of Praying With Body and Soul: A Way to Intimacy With God. She lives in Denver. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Rev. Patricia D. Brown is director of Spiritworks, a nonprofit, online resource for the exploration of Judeo-Christian spirituality. She is the author of Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God. She is based in Seattle. Contact email@example.com.
• Paul Burstein is chairman of the Jewish studies program and a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is an expert on the American Jewish community. Contact 206-543-7088, firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Thomas J. Csordas is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. He studies comparative religion and cultural phenomenology and took part in the 2004 Templeton symposium on the Holy Spirit in contemporary America. He can address questions about divine healing and other beliefs. Contact 858-534-4145, email@example.com.
• Bruce Phillips is a professor of Jewish communal service at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, a leading seminary of the Reform movement. He was on the team that completed the National Jewish Population Survey 2000. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• John E. Seery is a professor of politics at Pomona College in Pomona, Calif. He is an expert on abortion politics and wrote an article titled “Moral Perfectionism and Abortion Politics” for the journal Polity (2001). Contact 909-607-2458, John_Seery@pomona.edu.