Influence of Religion and the Churches
The present study of opinions and attitudes was undertaken under the auspices of a department of the Federal Council of Churches, now the National Council of Churches, as explained in the Foreword.
While the 503 individual interviews represented a random sampling of a particular area, with no regard to church relationships, the religious backgrounds or affiliations were noted in the course of the interviews -- as reported in Chapter 9.
Many of the discussion groups, on the other hand, were set up by or with the cooperation of local councils of churches, but the members were largely laymen and laywomen. Local service organizations were helpful in organizing several young working women's groups. No single pattern of membership prevailed, but at least nine tenths of the more than 500 participating members had Protestant church backgrounds or affiliations.
It was appropriate and inevitable, therefore, that the discussions of ethical or moral standards should be related to the Christian Gospel and faith, which most of the participants recognized as the source, or a major source, of such standards. The suggestions of topics for discussion distributed to the groups included questions involving this relationship (Appendix 2, pp. 190 ff). The frequent references to the Golden Rule and its application to secular life, as well as the discussions of the social responsibilities of the churches and their individual communicants, indicate a serious effort to regard moral and ethical standards and to appraise economic and social practices from a Christian point of view.
In this chapter are included from the reports of the discussions some excerpts related to the influence of religion and the churches.
Some of these groups, while apparently sensitive to such moral and ethical standards as the churches support, made only incidental references to distinctly religious motivation -- except as they would mention