Pew survey exposes cultural parenting divide: Religion v tolerance

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According to a recent Pew Research study, "being responsible" is the most important lesson Americans want to impart on their children, followed by "hard work", "religious faith" and "helping others".

Dig a little deeper into the survey numbers, however, and the cultural rifts that run through US society become apparent.

According to the Pew, 59% of "consistently conservative" respondents rated religious faith as the most important value to teach children, versus 11% of "consistently liberal" respondents. Obedience (15%) is the second-most common choice among conservatives.

For liberals qualities like empathy for others (34%), curiosity (23%) and tolerance (22%) were considered most important.

"It's the culture war, in one Pew Research figure," tweets University of Virginia Prof W Bradford Wilcox.

The split was also apparent when subjects were asked whether values were "especially important" or not. Among conservatives, 81% said that this described religious faith, while only 26% of liberals felt this way.

As for tolerance, 88% of consistently liberal respondents said it was important, while only 41% of conservatives agreed.

There's also an interesting divergence in values when the responses are broken down by race. Blacks placed more importance on religious faith and obedience, for instance, while whites and Hispanics emphasised being responsible.

Pew interviewed 3,243 adults, 185 of whom were parents, in late April and May for the survey.

Parenting has become a major topic of conversation recently due to NFL star Adrian Peterson's indictment on child endangerment charges for disciplining one of his 4-year-old sons by hitting him with a stick.

Views on Mr Peterson's actions - and his resulting suspension from participation in the sport - have diverged in part based on different experiences and views on child-rearing. The Pew survey provides some interesting insight into the values that could lie behind these divided opinions.


A crumbling infrastructure - Although Germany presents itself as an economic success story and a model for the rest of Europe, it is "crumbling at its core", six Der Spiegel staffers write.

The magazine cites Marcel Fratzer, the head of the German Institute for Economic Research, who describes what he calls "the German illusion". In the last 20 years, the amount of Germany's economic output invested in infrastructure has declined from 25% to 19.7%.

Germany is either spending its money immediately or saving for future consumption, they say. It should be "invested in companies, education and infrastructure, so that it becomes the basis for future prosperity, technical progress and additional jobs".

"Germany will only be able to maintain its position in the global economic competition if it once again focuses on its future," they conclude.


Starving children are forgotten - Although it is not making headlines, the African nation of Chad is currently undergoing a humanitarian crisis as it attempts to deal with refugees from neighbouring Darfur and the Central African Republic, writes Francisco Toro for the Guardian.

Based on the way humanitarian donations are earmarked for specific emergencies, he writes, "third-tier crises like those in Chad often don't get any direct funding".

He says that "less than 1%" of the US contribution to the World Food Programme is unearmarked, so it is not available to slow-burning trouble spots like Chad.

"This needs to change, but bureaucratic inertia is a major obstacle to improved response to these invisible crises," he concludes.


Floods reveal institutional failure - Government agencies had plenty of time to prepare for and respond to the heavy rainfall that led to massive flooding in the provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, writes Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People. That they didn't is an indictment of the nation's disaster management system, he contends.

"It seems that the people of the 11th century had better management wisdom than the engineers of today with their straitjacketed mindset," he writes for the Hindu.

He says the government also needs to recognise the link between climate change and disasters and begin developing plans to cope.

"We see little progress in any of these directions," he writes.


Moving the capital is a dangerous idea - Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner recently called for her nation's capital to be moved from the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires to the northern city of Santiago del Estero.

This is a dangerous idea, write the editors of the Argentine daily newspaper Clarin (translated by WorldCrunch). The motives of proponents, they say, could be to escape political critics and not to boost the economy of the nation's interior or alleviate traffic issues in Buenos Aires.

"However attractive it may sound, the capital's transfer could quickly worsen the overall state of the country," they write.

BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day

Iranian commentators respond to the decision to exclude their nation from Paris-based conferenceon confronting the Islamic State (IS).

"US dishonest behaviour has been exposed to a greater extent in the formation of the coalition against IS than on previous occasions." - Editorial in Javan.

"By creating the IS group, Western countries laid the ground for many extremist Islamists living in the West to join IS. And now they will not allow these extremist elements to return to the Western countries." - Editorial in E'tamad.‎

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