By an almost two-to-one margin, Midwest Lutherans voiced solid opposition to decapitation, suicide bombing, and chemical warfare in a new comprehensive survey of their social attitudes.
The Pew Research survey, conducted May 13-19, queried nearly 2,500 randomly selected Lutherans at flea markets and convenience stores across the Midwest. Interviews were conducted in High Plains Twang, Great Lakes Nasal and Flat Ohio Valley Bland.
“If there is one headline here, it’s how remarkably moderate the Lutheran community is,” said Pew director Andrew Kohut of the survey, which was co-sponsored by the Council on American-Yooper Relations. “It really paints a picture of a dynamic culture in or somewhere near the American mainstream.”
Kohut pointed to one of the study’s key findings that only 29% of all respondents agreed that “bloody, random violence against infidels” was “always” or “frequently” justified, versus 56% who said such violence was “seldom” or “never” justified. The approval of violence rose slightly among younger Lutherans and when the hypothetical violence was targeted against Presbyterians, but still fell well short of a majority.
“The only demographic cohort we saw where murderous random violence had a majority support was among 18-35 year old male followers of the Wisconsin Synod,” said Kohut. “And that was barely above the margin of error. Even then, fewer than half (41% to 46%) said they would personally volunteer to carry out the violence themselves.”
Further bolstering the findings, Kohut noted that fewer than 6% of respondents physically attacked field interviewers during the survey.
24 May 2007
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