Lipset's observation about the indispensability of religious practice to American life came to mind recently with the release of a study on the societal benefits of religion. Released last December, "Why Religion Matters Even More: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability," has not gotten a lot of publicity in the media; but its findings are increasingly relevant, especially now as debates over religion's proper role in society continue to rage, and as the impact of religion on our politics has emerged as a decisive national campaign issue.
Authored by Pat Fagan, William H.G. Fitzgerald Research Fellow in Family and Cultural Issues at the Heritage Foundation, the report examines the last ten years of empirical research on the effects of religion on a host of social indicators.
Fagan's conclusion? Religion has never mattered more: to individuals, families and society at large.