Study: College students' views vary by religion

Posted: Friday, July 30, 2004

LOS ANGELES (AP) U.S. college students who are strongly religious differ markedly from the least religious students on political identification and moral issues, according to a survey issued Wednesday.

The report from UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute was drawn from responses by 3,680 juniors on 46 diverse campuses.

UCLA said about a fifth of the collegians were ''highly religious'' while another fifth ranked very low on religious activities like attending worship and reading sacred texts. Women were significantly more religious than men.

Specifics of the findings:

Politics. Among those who called themselves politically conservative, 50 percent showed high levels of religious commitment, compared with only 18 percent of political liberals.

Death penalty. It was opposed by 38 percent of the highly religious but only 23 percent of the least religious.

Sex. Just 7 percent of the highly religious thought it was all right if people who've known each other ''a very short time'' had sex. But 80 percent of the least religious said it was OK.

Abortion. Of the highly religious, 24 percent wanted it kept legal as opposed to 79 percent of the least religious.

Homosexuality. Of the highly religious, 38 percent said they would support ''laws prohibiting homosexual relationships,'' compared with 17 percent of the least religious.

Marijuana use: Of the highly religious, 17 percent wanted it legalized, compared with 64 percent of the least religious.

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