|Americans Still Support Abortion Rights|
“While Christians hold differing beliefs about the morality of abortion, the idea that ‘Christianity has always been against abortion’ is simply not true,” PRRI Public Fellow Rebecca Todd Peters writes in The Tampa Bay Times. Peters, a professor of religious studies at Elon University, engages with a number of bills being advanced in state legislatures across the country that would criminalize abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. This ambitious agenda is being prioritized by some conservatives who believe these laws are likelier to have a friendlier hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court, thanks to Trump’s recent appointments. Examining Florida residents’ attitudes toward abortion, Peters writes: “A recent Public Research Religion Institute (PRRI) poll found that 56 percent of people across the country think that Roe should remain the law of the land while only 33 percent think Roe should be overturned. Floridians tracked very closely to these national numbers in the same PRRI poll with 54 percent supporting Roe and only 31 percent opposing it.”
|Texas Standard: Broad Support for Laws Protecting LGBTQ Rights|
Texas Standard, a daily news program in Texas, recently examined PRRI data showing that a majority of Texans support a key LGBT rights issue. In a new analysis, PRRI found that 64 percent of Texans favor nondiscrimination protections for LGBT citizens. Samantha Smooth of Equality Texas tells Texas Standard, “For the first time ever it’s showing across every single major demographic group in Texas – including white evangelicals – majority support for laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender people from discrimination.” The release of the survey coincided with the formation of a LGBT caucus within the Texas legislature. Five state representatives will now work together to advocate for LGBT issues. “If you would have told me that we would have five LGBTQ members in the Texas legislature, I would have never believed you,” Texas State Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D) tells The Dallas Morning News. “And all women, and all in the House.”
|Leaked Schedules Show Trump Likes “Executive Time”|
A new report in Axios shows that President Donald Trump has spent about 60 percent of his daily schedule in “executive time” over the last three months. Axios published Trump’s schedule after receiving the information from an aide within the administration. Chris Whipple, a historian who studies presidential schedules, says, “The most important asset in any presidency is the president’s time. And Trump is a guy who gives new meaning to the notion of an unstructured presidency.” Whipple also says that there’s no historical precedent for Trump’s schedule. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refuted the notion that Trump is wasting his time with such a loosely structured calendar: “President Trump has a different leadership style than his predecessors and the results speak for themselves.” PRRI data shows that almost seven in ten (69 percent) say that Trump has damaged the dignity of the presidency, while three in ten (30 percent) disagree. Almost seven in ten (69 percent) Americans say that they would like President Trump’s speech and behavior to be more consistent with his predecessors, while 29 percent disagree.
|The Religious Right’s Access to Trump|
Reporter Jessica Glenza wrote an article for The Guardian about evangelical Protestants’ influence within the Trump administration. Glenza points to an interview between Alex Azar, the current health and human services secretary, and influential conservative Christian leader Tony Perkins at an anti-abortion event last month, as an example. Perkins is a controversial figure because of his past comments linking homosexuality with pedophilia, advocacy for conversion therapy, and remarks that have been perceived as transphobic. “The interview is the latest example of how a narrow slice of the American right has gained unprecedented access to the White House, as defining Trump statements have emboldened the antisemitic far right and Trump administration policies put the brakes on Muslim immigration,” Glenza writes. According to PRRI research, almost seven in ten (68 percent) white evangelical Protestants have a favorable view of Trump, including 28 percent who have a very favorable view.