Divorce has hurt the growth of religion in America

  This post isn’t necessarily about me. I’ve been divorced twice, but my agnosticism predates my first marriage. My daughter from my second marriage and my four step-daughters from my first marriage were not encouraged to attend church. But neither were they actively discouraged. The point to be made here is about a new study from the Public Religion Research Institute showing that not only have divorce rates increased sharply  in recent decades, but the children of divorced parents are more likely to be non-religious. The...

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Why is Hillary faulted for Bill’s sexual dalliances?

  We’ve heard a lot of buzz lately about whether Donald Trump will attack Hillary Clinton on the subject of her husband Bill’s numerous extramarital affairs. Trump himself said he almost raised the matter in Monday night’s presidential debate but demurred because Bill and Hillary’s daughter Chelsea was in the audience. Still, the pressure on Trump to go after Hillary on this score persists. Frankly, I don’t get it. Why should the sins of the husband in this case reflect poorly on the wife? Yes, it might be...

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Religion and education distinguish Clinton voters from Trump voters

What are the fundamental differences between people who support the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump and those who are backing Hillary Clinton? The problem with that question is that it can only be answered with generalizations — and there are exceptions to almost every generalization. For example, among my personal acquaintances, there are at least a few Trump supporters who don’t fit the popular stereotypes. Still, the generalizations about voters in the coming election — at least those theories based on solid...

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Dumbest possible reaction to debate comes from Fox News

  When it comes to political polling, the first thing you need to know is that any survey that doesn’t follow the fundamental scientific rules of the game is mostly worthless. Reputable polling organizations take great pains to follow those rules, which is why their results usually are pretty much similar to one another. If Gallup has a poll showing Smith leading Jones by nine percentage points, most other reliable polls likely will show similar results. Sometimes, however, a pollster with a good reputation will come up with...

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Debate winner won’t likely be determined for days

  The tens of millions of Americans eagerly awaiting tonight’s debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should not expect that the winner of the event will be clear once it’s over or even within a day or so. That may happen, but it might not. Indeed, it likely won’t. Let’s consider the various factors, shall we? The winner of a presidential campaign debate is ultimately determined by scientific polls. Did one of the candidates leave a more favorable impression among debate watchers than the other? The only...

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Donald Trump follows Phyllis Schlafly’s political advice?

Phyllis Schlafly, the celebrated anti-feminist and all-around right-wing kook who died a few weeks ago at the age of 92, has left us a sizable legacy of dubious political nostrums. One of the more recent examples of questionable advice from Schlafly seems to have been heeded by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In the wake of GOP defeats in the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012, leaders of the Republican National Committee suggested that the party should try harder to attract non-white voters. White voter turnout rates had...

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