Do churches have a positive impact on America?

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  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 16, 2017 10:59 p.m.

    No churches are bad - lets instead turn to atheism in America. Good grief how Ludicrous a statement.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2017 5:59 p.m.

    "I thought the dems booed God at their last DNC in Denver?"

    They were booing DNC officials because they declared a side the winner in a vote that was close enough that it should've been counted since it quite possibly went the opposite way of how they ruled it.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2017 5:46 p.m.

    "And, lets look closer. This poll is not saying that 50% of Democrats think that churches have a negative impact. Their answer may be "I dont know".

    The Dem numbers were 50-36 and the GOP numbers 73-14 so about 13% of each are some sort of undecided/don't know/neutral/etc.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 13, 2017 4:06 p.m.

    Tyler D: "What a strange conclusion (that I’m advocating moral relativism) to draw from what I said."

    When you were talking about religions that are 'exclusive' I immediately thought of the typical liberal argument these days that any religion that adheres to traditional moral values is inherently bigoted and discriminatory.

    Unless your church has fully embraced SSM, abortion on demand, and stopped calling homosexual behaviors a sin; then it is bad in the eyes of many liberals. If that is not what you meant by 'exclusive' then I apologize.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 13, 2017 2:42 p.m.

    "Do churches have a positive impact on America?"

    Well I suppose not if your political party worships Lucifer.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 13, 2017 2:40 p.m.

    Democrats and church? What? I thought the dems booed God at their last DNC in Denver? How can you slaughter children (abortion) and then claim you are Christian? Oh right politics is the religion of the lefties. I forgot.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    July 13, 2017 11:48 a.m.

    @JoeCapitalist2 – “So...unless a religion teaches "Everything is good" then it is bad???”

    What a strange conclusion (that I’m advocating moral relativism) to draw from what I said.

    By “universal principles” and “sincere paths” I assumed it was clear that I was referring to the fundamental truths found in most religions (even the “bad” ones that teach a lot of other nonsense). Truths like love is better than hate, being good is better than being bad, etc., etc…

    For a more comprehensive treatment of the “core of goodness” found in most religions as well as a much more mature conception of God, check out Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy.

    Now when religions teach that it is bad (i.e., non-believers are infidels and deserve their apocalyptic “comeuppance”) to not believe their theologies - which usually have nothing to do with morality - or that we must adhere to religious teachings masquerading as moral teachings (e.g., a fair amount of what we find in the OT or Sharia Law), then I unapologetically stand by my conclusion – it is a net negative.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 13, 2017 11:34 a.m.


    When church leaders lead the congregation away from Christ's commandments, do you blame it on the members or the church?

    They're one and the same really. Church=Congregation.

    July 13, 2017 10:36 a.m.

    I would say most Churches have a positive impact on America (society). The better question would be, do it's members? I believe most Churches teach their members to be good individuals and to treat others with respect, but not all members of the individual Churches apply those teachings in their lives. Not the Churches fault, but the individuals fault.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 13, 2017 10:35 a.m.

    Tyler D: "To the extent a religion is exclusive, thinks it is in possession of the “one true faith” arguably the most pernicious force the world has ever known."

    So...unless a religion teaches "Everything is good" then it is bad???

    The minute you have the gall to say "X is wrong" then you are excluding somebody. Anyone can point to X and say "I do X therefore you are discriminating against me and you are bad". This doesn't sound like religion at all.

    Of course, that is exactly what many on the left want religion to be. Just a feel-good quasi-organization that rubber stamps anything they are doing as perfectly acceptable.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 13, 2017 10:17 a.m.


    "It is now, as religious affiliation dwindles, that we wonder about the benefits of religion."

    --- Maybe because so many people see religions getting involved in politics and chasing after power and the almighty dollar. They seem to think they can run around saying "do this" and then "doing that" themselves. The hypocrisy is a major turn-off for even those who have a religious bent.

    Today's religions are good examples of Christ's description: "They grow near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 13, 2017 9:47 a.m.

    It depends on the church, I would say, and its members.

    I have heard a lot of comments from religious people of various stamps about America but very few calling the people to repentance and righteous living. Religion is a very vague term.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    July 13, 2017 8:53 a.m.

    Some do. Some (like the Westboro Baptist Church and the FLDS, for example) absolutely do not. What all churches need to recognize is that, while they encourage their members to believe and to live their personal lives in conformity with each church's dogma, NO church has a right to impose its religious beliefs, practices, etc., on the civil/secular marketplace and society. The former is theright way -- inspirng its member to life a righteous life -- to act; the latter is nothing more or less han religious tyranny. Keep church and state separate, and we all will benefit.

  • explorer686 davis, UT
    July 13, 2017 4:25 a.m.

    Religion teaches unhealthy sexual habits, sexist matriarchy and patriarchy rolls, elitism, the list goes on and on. Get rid of religion and start teaching critical thinking. Thanks for letting me add my opinion d.n.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 12, 2017 6:36 p.m.

    "It is now, as religious affiliation dwindles, that we wonder about the benefits of religion."

    When I think of the number of people that have suffered at the hands of religious dogma:

    Those murdered for believing in the wrong god (or no god), or harassed, tortured and/or imprisoned for daring to challenge religious dogma;

    The women (and sometimes girls) who even today submit physically, sexually, and emotionally to their husbands because they've been taught that this is what their god expects of them;

    The people who have contracted an STD or HIV because a religious leader told them using condoms is sinful in the eyes of their god;

    The homosexuals who lived entire existences in hiding, denying who they are, denying themselves companions and families, hearing themselves spoken of as perverts and pedophiles because religions promoted these beliefs about them...

    When I think of all the needless suffering religion has wrought over the centuries, I am grateful and relieved that we are finally, finally questioning not only if it's a benefit, but if it's even true.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    July 12, 2017 5:03 p.m.

    ... I'm a gay man. That I can legally have sex in Texas is in *spite* of American churches. That I can get a security clearance and hold sensitive jobs is in *spite* of American churches. That I can provide health care for my husband, that I can *have* a husband, is in *spite* of American churches.

    Fact is, American churches fought to make me a criminal. Failing that, they fought to make sure I couldn't have any legal relationship to my partner of choice (over 20 state amendments banned marriage as well as civil unions, domestic partnerships, and even death registries), that I would have to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to secure a fraction of the rights of a marriage license.

    That's not a positive influence. That's strictly a negative influence.

    So sure, I can accept that churches *can* be a positive influence in *some* people's lives. But by their own choices and actions, American churches have decided to be a negative influence in mine.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 12, 2017 3:48 p.m.

    Growing up, religion was just part of the fabric of my town, my friends, and our families. We respected each other's religious choices and that was that.

    Churches (in the broadest sense and including synagogues) sponsored or at least hosted scout troops, girl scouts, and both the child and adult groups of a variety of fraternal groups. Few would have even questioned that religion was a net benefit to the community.

    Many of those same churches and synagogues are now almost empty. My parent's church has been sold for condos (with beautiful stain glass windows).

    Though I am now LDS, I was not as a kid (there were very few where I grew up). Still, my religious affiliations brought me in contact with great people and instilled in me a sense of civic engagement and service.

    It is now, as religious affiliation dwindles, that we wonder about the benefits of religion. And that is sad.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    July 12, 2017 2:33 p.m.

    Do churches have a positive impact on America?

    Do churches have a positive impact on Europe?

    Do synagogues have a positive impact on Israel?

    Do mosques have a positive impact on Iran?


    BTW --
    the better question should have been:

    Do churches, synagogues , mosques [or just Religion] have a positive impact on America?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 12, 2017 2:27 p.m.

    Kralon says:

    "It is certainly possible that the current lack of respect and civility towards each other is partly due to the decline of religion in America."

    -- And it might also be religion's efforts to deny equality to blacks, LGBT citizens, women, their hiding sexual abuses by their leaders, etc.

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    July 12, 2017 2:27 p.m.

    So called freedom of religion has run amuck in our great country.

    Churches have become country club tax shelters and not much more.

    Add up all of the religious owned property in America - be it Catholic, Islam, Judiasm, Scientology, Mormon, Protestant, etc... All of this property is exempted from property taxes, if they own businesses then they push the profits back to the "church" as a donation and avoid corporate tax, then the members write off their donations to their organization.

    I would end the property tax loopholes. Limit deductible contributions from people and corporations to 10% of profit or income, anything else they give should be a sacrifice.

    Then states could pay for healthcare, schools, teacher salaries, and so much more.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    July 12, 2017 2:16 p.m.

    If we broaden the question to “religions” instead of just churches the answer becomes much clearer.

    To the extent that a religion is inclusive, cares about universal principles, and generally believes that all sincere “paths up the mountain” lead (eventually) to the same place - the “divine source” of us all… whatever that means - then no matter how nutty (think aspects of the “New Age” movement) or sublime (think the “Dalai Lama”) the religious adherent, it is highly likely they will be a net positive.

    To the extent a religion is exclusive, thinks it is in possession of the “one true faith” (based on statistical probability alone you should not expect to be in this one), divides people into the us and them (saved vs. damned), and especially if it promulgates “end of times” apocalyptic teachings, it is arguably the most pernicious force the world has ever known.

    Given that most religions (at least in the West) fall into the latter category, and that currently one of the largest religions on the planet is an extreme version of this, I would say on balance religion is a net negative.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    July 12, 2017 1:16 p.m.

    @jsf – “is there any atheistic… groups that overall have a positive impact on America?”

    This is an ill-posed question because being an atheist tells you nothing about a person/group – it only tells you what they are not (i.e., believers in deities).

    So the answers are going to be as varied as individuals, groups or cultures themselves. I’m sure some of the worst people have been atheists and likewise some of the best.

    But again, Google the top ten atheist/agnostic countries in the world and tell us if you think those are dystopian places lacking in the virtues we all care about (e.g., love, goodness, morality, integrity, kindness, etc.).

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    July 12, 2017 12:17 p.m.

    Please evaluate this, is there any atheistic agnostic anti religious groups that overall have a positive impact on America?

    Please don't give us your personal identification of any one group, but, overall. Since this survey does not list individual churches but is all inclusive. So also must all atheist, agnostics, and anti-religionists be considered.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    July 12, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    Do churches have a positive impact on America?


    Not if they are opening supporting Donald Trump.
    [and most evangelicals are doing just that]
    Donald Trump is the polar opposite of what should be preached in churches.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    July 12, 2017 11:32 a.m.

    Do churches have a positive impact on America? Some do and some don't. So what?

    July 12, 2017 11:28 a.m.

    It is certainly possible that the current lack of respect and civility towards each other is partly due to the decline of religion in America. But, like most important questions the answer almost certainly is - "it depends".

    Without naming names, a nation with loving, inclusive, welcoming, encouraging, hopeful religions would probably be a great place to live. A nation with divisive, rigid, bigoted, exclusive religions would be an awful place to live.

  • CMTM , 00
    July 12, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    Karen R. Oasis a non-faith-based community. VS,

    The Salvation Army a faith based which goes out of the Community and into the world and (harms way) for the social betterment of the poor. Such concerns have since developed, wherever the Army operates, in practical, skilled and cost-effective ways. Evolving social services meet endemic needs and specific crises worldwide.

    The Salvation Army is an integral part of the Christian Church, although distinctive in government and practice. The Army’s doctrine follows the mainstream of Christian belief and its articles of faith emphasise God’s saving purposes.

    Its objects are ‘the advancement of the Christian religion… of education, the relief of poverty, and other charitable objects beneficial to society or the community of mankind as a whole.’

    All Salvationists accept a disciplined and compassionate life of high moral standards which includes abstinence from alcohol and tobacco

  • Thomas Thompson SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 12, 2017 10:21 a.m.

    The answer, surely, depends upon the way the question is worded. If the question is "Do Churches have a positive impact on America," that phraseology is ambiguous, which could lead to a response of "yes," if it means to ask whether churches have any positive impact at all. But it could also lead to a response of "no," if it means to ask whether, on balance, churches have such a positive impact. To get any meaningful response, the question must be asked in such a way as not to raise ambiguities.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    July 12, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    @Ialaw – “Religious communities are far better places to live than secular ones”

    Google the ten most atheistic countries in the world and the ten most religious ones and tell us which ones you would prefer to raise your family (especially daughters!) in.

  • Danielson West Jordan, UT
    July 12, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    Define positive impact.
    Churches can bring a sense of community and a common moral code to their communities, but they can also bring discrimination, a lack of logical thinking, and the oppression of those who believe differently than they do. Utah is a prime example of this. We have a nice, clean, family-oriented community, but we marginalize those who disagree with the teaching of the LDS church. People who choose to use alcohol have a difficult time navigating liquor laws, and people who may need medical cannabis, or simply choose to use it can be thrown in a cage for doing so. Live and let live. Religions can be great for the community, as long as they don't try to apply their moral code to everyone.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    July 12, 2017 9:54 a.m.

    From what I'm seeing from the right wing andnhow they're justifying trump's abhorrent behavior? No!

  • LP Grad, BYU Alum Provo, UT
    July 12, 2017 9:29 a.m.

    Do churches have a positive impact on America?

    America is the sum of individual people living their lives. For myself and for tens of millions in this country, religion (operationalized as the church) has given me hope that things will work out, even when all is seemingly lost. It has instilled in me a desire to serve my neighbor, to curb my baser emotions, to use clean language, to treat my body and health with respect, to donate money to charitable causes, and to be tolerant and respectful of others with whom I disagree.

    Short answer? Yes, churches have a positive impact that is seen in the lives of individual adherents, and those adherents comprise a large piece of society.

    We need to be careful not to ascribe motivations or sentiments to others simply because we disagree with them. Just because someone disagrees with a certain policy doesn't mean their belief system is corrupt or amoral and ultimately harmful to society. For example, just because someone may want work requirements for public assistance doesn't mean he/she is hypocritical in professing faith while not meeting your definition of helping the poor.

    "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

  • byugraduate Las Vegas, NV
    July 12, 2017 9:26 a.m.

    Pro - Churches mostly provide good moral beliefs to our society and encourage marriage. They also can provide hospitals and employment training to society.

    Con - The very rich churches do not pay taxes while using many public services. Hoarding money while giving very little to the poor.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 12, 2017 8:57 a.m.

    Do churches have a positive impact on America?
    I have my uncertainties on that and it has nothing to do with my personal beliefs. But I am glad we have a strong tradition of separation of church and state.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    July 12, 2017 8:56 a.m.

    I'd say it's a wash, but I could be wrong.

    According to many, without churches, and the threat of punishment in the after life, we'd all be thieving, raping murderers.

    I disagree with this assessment and believe in humanity, as I don't need the threat of after life, happiness, or eternal peril, to treat other humans with dignity and respect.

    I find those who use their beliefs to belittle or condemn others, live in a world where doing what your told, is more important than doing what is right.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 12, 2017 8:33 a.m.

    Joe Blow is right. Some churches have a positive impact, some don't.
    Religion, I believe, is not the origin of our morality. It explained why volcanoes erupted or where the sun went at night. True morality we learned in order to survive before we attached it to religion.
    The churches religion has created are a mixed lot indeed. To me they're far too often moneymaking scams, child sex rings, and de facto PAC's. Wealth, power and secrecy are a bad combination.

  • IAlaw Malvern, IA
    July 12, 2017 8:20 a.m.

    Religion is a better, more efficient governor of behavior than the state. Unfortunately, as society becomes more secular, the state steps in to fill the void. The result is always a net detriment.

    Religious communities are far better places to live than secular ones, which are invariably the same ones in the race to the bottom--the same race to embrace caustic and amoral social policies.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    July 12, 2017 7:49 a.m.

    Maybe it's because those who attend church the least are usually those who are demonized the most by churches.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    July 12, 2017 6:43 a.m.

    Churches are blowing their opportunities to positively effect people and communities. If they stuck to preaching compassion, love and kindness, they'd have a better reputation. In the past few decades, many have used their organizations to divide and exclude. Stay out of politics, stop denying rights to Americans and live your lives like your religion tells you to.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2017 6:36 a.m.

    If you look at countries around the world, the most religious countries tend to be the most backward and the more developed countries are generally less religious.

    For example Pakistan, and Ghana are very religious, and Canada, and Australia are two of least religious nations.

    I don't think most of us would have a hard time deciding which of these countries we would like to live in!

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    July 12, 2017 6:29 a.m.

    "If religious institutions do decline, what is there to replace them?"

    Humans abhor a vacuum. And religious organizations aren't the only means of mobilizing the inherent human drive to solve our problems. If/where organizations are needed to address issues, they'll get formed. Their efforts just won't be tied to a religion-based mission.

    This is happening already, for example, Oasis communities. These organizations show that god belief isn't necessary to believe in community, common cause, and service.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    July 12, 2017 6:15 a.m.

    Do Churches have a positive impact on America? Religion if that is the interpretation of the word "Church" certainly does. Many, but not all, of the positive moral and ethical lessons of our accumulated human understanding are transmitted to the young via religion. But the concept of the "Church" involves a separate idea, that of an organization. It is encumbent that we both laud and criticize both religion and the "Church" when necessary. It is only through this criticism that we elevate the moral and ethical standing of these two concepts.

    Be honest, some values given to the young via religion are not always so positive. For example, we know that slavery and multiple wives are not good for humanity.

    Furthermore, let us be in full disclosure of the "Church" as an organization. Whether you are Catholic, Muslim, Baptist or LDS there have been times when the organization of the "Church" has committed or been accomplice to acts of immorality and of an unethical nature. Many a "Church" has preached against the humanity of those of us who don't happen to be Caucasian. And Catholicism still wrestles with its child abuse scandals.

    Honesty and criticism elevate us.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    July 12, 2017 5:31 a.m.

    Lets look at this another way.

    27% of Republicans or those who lean Republican are not convinced that churches have a positive impact on America. Holy Smokes! Really? Can you believe it?

    In reality, we are not talking about a night and day difference between R and D on this issue.

    And, lets look closer. This poll is not saying that 50% of Democrats think that churches have a negative impact. Their answer may be "I dont know".

    Let me ask you. Do you think Scientology has a positive impact on America?
    How about some of these mega churches run by millionaire preachers who teach the prosperity gospel? How about the Westboro Baptist church?

    How would you answer the following polling question? agree or disagree

    "I believe that some churches have a positive impact on America and some don't"