The 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America grants freedom of worship, speech & press; the right to petition the government & to assemble peaceably. Specifically with regard to "religion" it states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Many on the left have tried for at least 50 years to re-write history with regard to "separation of church and state" and to downgrade the religious beliefs of the founding fathers. This quote should satisfy both questions: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports ... and let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." George Washington, Farewell Speech, 9/17/1796 (from "Being George Washington"). The Liberty Institute lists the many & varied current activities to attempt to eliminate Religious Freedom in America. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology by researchers at the London School of Economics and Erasmus University Medical Center found that the secret to sustained happiness lies in participating in religion. “The church appears to play a very important social role in keeping depression at bay and also as a coping mechanism during periods of illness in later life,” an author of the study said.

Pope Francis still popular, but warmth is waning among conservatives

from Fort Worth Star Telegram,

Five years after Pope Francis ascended to the papacy, a new survey of U.S. Catholics reports that most still harbor warm feelings toward the pontiff – but his popularity is waning among political conservatives. According to a new study from the Pew Research Center, the first Latin American pope retains a soaring 84 percent favorability rating among Catholics overall, with only a 1-point drop since 2014. A majority (58 percent) also still believe he represents a major positive change for the Roman Catholic Church. But there are signs Francis’ honeymoon period has ended in some circles. Roughly a quarter (24 percent) of American Catholics say he is naive, up from 15 percent in 2015, and 34 percent now say the pontiff is too liberal, compared with 19 percent who said the same three years ago. The divisions appear to be more political than theological. According to the survey, the share of Republican and Republican-leaning Catholics who say Francis is too liberal has more than doubled since 2015, jumping from 23 percent to 55 percent. Similarly, while only 16 percent of Republican Catholics surveyed in 2015 said Francis is naive, roughly a third say so today. By contrast, the report shows that when it comes to Democratic or Democratic-leaning Catholics, “there has been no statistically significant change in opinion on either of these questions.”

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