For Americans, Free Speech Trumps Religious Sensibilities

A new HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in the wake of last week's attacks in Paris, France, found that a majority (63 percent) of Americans deem protecting free speech more important than protecting the dignity of religious beliefs.  Only 19 percent said protecting religious sensibilities was more important.  18 percent were unsure.

The survey also showed that "Americans don't think the media should react to the threat of violence either by censoring themselves or by ramping up the publication of provocative religious content. While 15 percent wanted to see more religious satire and 23 percent wanted less, 43 percent said Western media shouldn't alter their content at all."

About three quarters of those surveyed said that cartoons mocking religious figures are acceptable, but two thirds of those also find such cartoons in poor taste.

Compared to 2006 when a Danish newspaper published cartoons which included a depiction of the prophet Mohammed, a greater share of the American public believe that Charlie Hebdo acted responsibly by publishing controversial cartoons of Mohammed, while those who said they behaved irresponsibly went down to 21 percent from 61 percent in 2006.  The share of those who are unsure increased from 10 percent in 2006 to 38 percent in this most recent poll.

Read more: resources:
Religion and Opinions on Democracy in Ghana: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Religion among Teens: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
The War on Terror: A Data-Driven Learning Guide (
Frederique Laubepin

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