A Conservative County’s Backlash Against Sex Education

A Conservative County’s Backlash Against Sex Education

Greg Jaffe and Patrick Marley at The Washington Post report that in Ottawa County, Michigan, a sex educator for the county’s health department has become a flashpoint for local Christian conservative activists. In her role, Heather Alberda developed programs to lower teen pregnancy and curb the spread of sexually transmitted infections, decreasing the county’s teen pregnancy rate by 76% as a result. However, newly-elected members of Ottawa County Board and Ottawa Impact, the right-wing group that had backed them, have been engaged in a months-long campaign claiming Alberda and the health department were using county resources to promote abortion and sexualize children. PRRI’s recent Gender and Politics report finds that only 8% of Americans say it is never appropriate to teach comprehensive sex education in public schools.

Why Republican Voters Believe Trump

CNN’s Ronald Brownstein writes that the foundation of Trump’s enduring popularity among Republicans is the widely-adopted belief that conservatives are the real victims in a society growing more racially and culturally diverse. Robert P. Jones, president and founder of PRRI, told Brownstein: “Since his rise to power, with winks and nods to white supremacists … Trump became the symbol of white Christian entitlement and power in a rapidly changing country.” Jones continued, explaining that “Trump’s attacks “on the legitimacy of elections he lost, a federal government that is persecuting him and his followers, and ‘racist’ Black prosecutors, all derive power from this world view, where the white Christian inhabitants of the promised land are being denied their rightful divine inheritance,” further straining the fraying ties that bind an increasingly divided nation.

Abortion’s Next Big Battleground Is in Virginia

Caitlin Owens at Axios reports that Democrats are mobilizing for what they view as the next major referendum on abortion rights: Virginia’s state legislature elections. Owens highlights that Virginia is the lone southern state that hasn’t banned or restricted abortion since the fall of Roe v. Wade. Earlier this summer, Richmond-area Democratic primary voters defeated an anti-abortion, longtime state senator in favor of an ex-state legislator who supports legal access to abortion, and Virginia House Democrats recently released ads in 14 legislative districts attacking Republicans for wanting to restrict access. PRRI research finds that 71% of Virginians say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

From MLK to Today, the March on Washington Highlights the Evolution of Activism by Black Churches

Ahead of the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington, David Crary for the Associated Press writes that the March on Washington of 1963 is remembered most for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, but was also a crowning moment for the civil rights activism of the Black Church. While King represented numerous Black clergy in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the March was the product of sustained activism by a broader, multiracial coalition. Calling attention to the growing number of multiracial congregations across the country, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, senior minister of Middle Collegiate Church in New York City, agrees that the “Black Church” may be of limited use now. “Let’s look at ‘Black faith’ instead.” PRRI finds that Black churchgoers are more likely than Black non-churchgoers to have contacted a government official (20% vs. 11%) or volunteered for a political campaign (9% vs. 3%).

What’s Buzzing?

Read PRRI’s full report, “Religion and Congregations in a Time of Social and Political Upheaval” here.