Gun Control, Religion And Abortion

Today's religion reads:

-- What's the relationship between gun control, religion and views on abortion? A new survey from Public Religion Research Institute sheds light. According to a statement that came out with the survey:

The pro-life community is sharply divided along religious lines on the need for stricter gun laws...While white evangelical Protestants who say the term "pro-life" describes them very well oppose stricter gun control laws, Catholics who say the term "pro-life" describes them very well support stricter gun control laws.

When asked about the most important way to prevent future mass shootings from occurring in the United States, 3-in-10 (30 percent) cite better mental health screening and support, one-quarter (25 percent) point to stricter gun control laws and enforcement, and 1-in-5 (20 percent) say that we should place more emphasis on God and morality in school and society. Only about 1-in-10 Americans cite stricter security at public gatherings (11 percent) or allowing more private citizens to carry guns (9 percent) as the most important way to prevent future mass shootings.

-- On Thursday morning, the Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, plans to join Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and others at a Capitol Hill press conference as Feinstein introduces legislation to reinstate a federal assault weapons ban. Supporters who will be at the 11 a.m. event at the Dirksen Senate Office Building include: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sen. Chris Murphy (D.-Conn.) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.). Hall, who has tried to forge a religious "cross lobby" for gun control in the wake of the December 14 shootings in Newtown, Conn., has preached about gun violence at the cathedral in recent weeks.

-- Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) has introduced a resolution to recognize February 12 as Darwin Day, but it's unclear how far his effort will go. The Secular Coalition for America and American Humanist Association have cheered Holt for the move and are trying to get additional representatives to sponsor the resolution. Darwin was born on February 12, 1809.

"Only very rarely in human history has someone uncovered a fundamentally new way of thinking about the world -- an insight so revolutionary that it has made possible further creative and explanatory thinking," Holt told the American Humanist Association. "Without Charles Darwin, our modern understandings of biology, ecology, genetics, and medicine would be utterly impossible, and our comprehension of the world around us would be vastly poorer. By recognizing Darwin Day, we can honor the importance of scientific thinking in our lives, and we can celebrate one of our greatest thinkers."