Weekly Religion News with a recent survey on support for same-sex marriage by religious group, "Did Muhammad Exist?" by Robert Spencer and more.

President Barack Obama recently announced his support for same-sex marriage, and Mitt Romney recently announced his opposition to it.


As a follow-up, The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life recently released the results of a survey, "Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage." Here are some the results based on different religious groups.


By far, those who support gay marriage the most are the religiously unaffiliated. In 2001, 61 percent of the religiously unaffiliated were in favor of same-sex marriage, with a slight increase to 63 percent in 2006 and, finally, reaching its peak of 77 percent in 2012.


White evangelical Protestants are the least in favor of same-sex marriage, with just 13 percent of them in support in 2001. Favorability among this group reached its peak in 2010, with 20 percent in favor, and then declined to 14 percent in 2012.


Among black Protestants, 30 percent were in favor of same-sex marriage in 2001. Favorability reached its low point in 2004, with 19 percent, but gradually increased over the subsequent years to reach 33 percent favorability in 2012.


Among white mainline Protestants, 38 percent were in favor of same-sex marriage in 2001, with a drop to 34 percent in 2004 and another sharp drop to 36 percent in 2009 (favorability was at 44 percent in 2008). However, a drastic increase in favorability subsequently took place, with 48 percent in favor in 2010, 54 percent in 2011 and, finally, 52 percent in 2012.


Among Catholics, 40 percent were in favor of same-sex marriage in 2001, and favorability dropped to a low of 34 percent in 2004. However, since then, a gradual increase of favorability took place, with 42 percent in favor in 2009, 46 percent in 2010 and 53 percent in 2011. However, a sharp drop in favorability subsequently occurred with 46 percent favorability in 2012.


-- Dayna Fields/ GHNS


Week in Religion


- May 16, 1920, popular Baptist pastor and denominational leader George Washington Truett, 53, preached his famous sermon, "Baptists and Religious Liberty," to 15,000 people from the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C.


- May 17, 1947, the Conservative Baptist Association of America was formally established at Atlantic City, N.J., as a break-away movement from within the American Baptist Convention.


- May 18, 1291, Acre, the last territory in Palestine taken by the first Crusaders, fell to invading Muslim armies. It signaled the end of a Christian "military presence" in the Near East. Afterwards, friars sought to spread the Gospel by preaching instead.


-- William D. Blake, Almanac of the Christian Church


Survey Says


Those with some college education have become increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of religious expression from political leaders, with 38 percent now saying there has been too much religion talk from politicians (up from 27 percent in 2010). By contrast, there has been little change in opinion on this question among those with a high school degree or less education.  


-- Pew Research Center


Good Book?


"Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins" by Robert Spencer


Best-selling author Robert Spencer meticulously examines historical records, archaeological findings and pioneering new scholarship to reconstruct what can be known about Muhammad, the Quran and the early days of Islam. He uncovers evidence that calls into question fundamental assumptions made even by non-Muslims.


-- ISI Books


Quote of the week


"Preachers and laymen are each rowing different oars, but they are both in the same boat. When only one oar is being pulled, there is a lot of splash but no progress. Let us see that both oars are being pulled." -- Roger Ward Babson, founder of Babson College in Massachusetts


The Word


Ecclesiastes: A book of wisdom in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament whose author represents himself as King Solomon. Some of its phrases, such as "To every thing there is a season," have become part of Western culture.


-- religionstylebook.com


Religion Around the World


Religious makeup of South Korea (1995 census)


Christian: 26.3 percent


Buddhist: 23.2 percent


Other or unknown: 1.3 percent


None: 49.3 percent


- CIA Factbook


GateHouse News Service