Discrimination, Evangelical Netflix, & Glass Ceilings

Fewer Republicans See Discrimination Against Historically Marginalized Groups
Fewer Republicans believe that historically marginalized groups face discrimination in the U.S. today, reports Eugene Scott for the Washington Post, which “could have ramifications on laws protecting against discrimination.” Citing PRRI data, he explains that the percentage of Republicans who believe that Muslims, Jews, LGBT people, and women face substantial discrimination has dropped significantly since 2013. The same trend can be found in reliably Republican religious groups, too: while nearly six in ten (59 percent) white evangelical Protestants said Muslims faced a lot of discrimination in 2013, for example, less than half (46 percent) say the same today. “In a country where discrimination is not uncommon,” notes Scott, “what political bases think about discrimination can shape what lawmakers do about it.”
Increasing Number of Americans May Support Push for Religious Freedom
According to the latest PRRI survey, an increasing number of Americans may welcome Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ denunciation of recent transgressions of “religious liberty,” notes Yonat Shimron of Religion News Service. Nearly half (46 percent) of Americans say small businesses should be exempted from having to serve LGBT couples, an uptick of five percentage points from last year. However, “complicating the picture is the fact that Americans are becoming evermore accepting of LGBT rights as well as same-sex marriage.” Majorities of Americans support same-sex marriage (64 percent) as well as laws that would protect LGBT people against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations (71 percent). “There’s a reason I think it might be a momentary shift and not a trend,” added Daniel Cox, Director of Research at PRRI, regarding the increase in support for religiously based service refusals. “It may be a short-term reaction to the political environment rather than a long-term shift in opinion on this issue.”
Gubernatorial Races Could Shatter Ceilings This Year
The New York Times featured a look at women running for governor, including four that have won their party primaries. The article notes that as of 1980, five states had elected female governors before. That number has since jumped to 28, but there has been little traction on shattering this glass ceiling in the remaining 22 states. Two of those states, Wisconsin and Minnesota, will have four women running in their Democratic primaries next Tuesday, and women have won primaries in nine states so far in this election cycle. The piece summarizes one common explanation for why women have historically been excluded from the governorship. “Voters tend to ascribe to women the traits considered good for legislative bodies: Women are good collaborators and listen well. It’s different when voters elect a boss.” According to a 2016 PRRI survey, 58 percent of Americans believe the country would be better off if more women were serving in public office.
California’s Current Fire Now Largest in State History
California wildfires continue to devastate the West Coast state, as a recent fire has nearly doubled in size in the last several days. The recent growth of the wildfire makes it the largest in California’s history. Though there have been no injuries, the fire has still had a huge impact. As of Monday evening, it has burned 283,800 acres and destroyed 75 residencies. Some are connecting the growth and intensity of these fires, as well as other catastrophic climate-related events, to climate change and pushing for environmental policy to address these issues. Recent PRRI polling finds Americans largely agree that the severity of recent natural disasters is evidence of climate change. According to 2017 PRRI analysis, six-in-ten (60 percent) agree with the statement, while 37 percent disagree.
Faith and Values Movie Service Goes Pro Trump
A recent piece from NBC highlights the success of PureFlix.com, an on-demand streaming platform, not dissimilar to Netflix, which produces faith-based content. Recently, Pure Flix has begun to wade into political territory with the release of two films from right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza’s latest film, “Death of a Nation,” compares Democrats to the Nazi Party and President Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln. “We have an audience that skews to support this type of film,” Pure Flix COO Steve Fedyski tells NBC. “We felt we could be successful on launching the film because it would resonate with a lot of our audience.” The NBC article cites PRRI data that shows why the businesses decision is paying off. A recent PRRI survey found that 75 percent of white evangelicals, an important demographic for much of Pure Flix’s content, support President Trump.
Hollywood Still Has Diversity Problems
Hollywood is as white, straight and male as ever, writes Maya Salam in the New York Times. Salam, a journalist and self-described “entertainment junkie,” pens her piece from the vantage point of a concerned consumer of culture. She uses a new report from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to showcase the lack of diversity in Hollywood. “Researchers found that of the top 100 films each year from 2007 to 2017 (that’s 1,100 films in total), representation of women, people of color, L.G.B.T.Q. people and the disabled has remained overwhelmingly stagnant: Women have never accounted for more than 33 percent of speaking roles in a given year,” Salam writes. According to a 2018 PRRI report, a majority of young people (age 15-24) say that the news media portrays black people (66 percent), transgender people (61 percent), Hispanic people (59 percent), and gay and lesbian people (55 percent) in a way that promotes negative stereotypes. In contrast, a slim majority (54 percent) of young people say women are given fair and accurate representation by the entertainment industry.
Willow Creek Church Says It Will Investigate Bill Hybels
Willow Creek Community Church, a megachurch outside of Chicago, announced on Monday that it would plan to start an independent investigation into allegations that its pastor, Bill Hybels, sexually harassed female co-workers and a congregant over many years. This announcement comes in the wake of a New York Times report of accusations made by Pat Baranowski, Hybels’ former executive assistant. Heather Larson, a pastor at Willow Creek, in a statement, wrote: “It was heartbreaking yesterday to read about the new allegation against Bill Hybels in The New York Times. We have deep sadness for Ms. Baranowski. The behavior that she has described is reprehensible.”