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Abortion Survey Results, Obama's Pro-Gay Pastor, A Scientology Investigation And More

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Today in religion news:

-- Fresh from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a new survey on abortion.

As the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision approaches, the public remains opposed to completely overturning the historic ruling on abortion. A new poll by the Pew Research Center finds that more than six-in-ten (63 percent) say they would not like to see the court completely overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, which established a woman's constitutional right to abortion, at least in the first three months of pregnancy. Only about three-in-ten (29 percent) would like to see the ruling overturned. These opinions are little changed from surveys conducted 10 and 20 years ago.

The religious breakdown:

White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group in which a majority favors completely overturning the Roe v. Wade decision. Large percentages of white mainline Protestants, black Protestants and white Catholics say the ruling should not be overturned. Fully 82 percent of the religiously unaffiliated oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.

-- By picking the Rev. Luis Leon, an Episcopal priest at the church President Barack Obama most often attends in Washington, D.C., the Presidential Inaugural Committee selected a man from one of the most LGBT-friendly denomination's in the country. It's a turn away from the Rev. Louie Giglio, the conservative evangelical who said he believes homosexuality is a sin, and the move likely won't draw criticism from gay rights supporters and liberal religious communities. But Leon also has a key tie to conservatives: he has pastored to former President George W. Bush and delivered the invocation at his 2005 inauguration.

There was a loud response from evangelicals when Giglio withdrew. Many asked if this meant that people who believe being gay is a sin are not allowed to speak and pray at events such as the inauguration. The reaction to the latest news has been quieter, though it's been less than a day since it broke. What have you heard?

-- Speaking of evangelicals, The Immanent Frame, a blog from the Social Science Research Counci, has an interesting piece today about evangelicals who have "left the right."

-- In a lengthy, well-reported piece, Alex Klein, a contributor to BuzzFeed asks if the Church of Scientology is a self-destructing "institution on decline."

-- As part of its series on the "nones," National Public Radio covers how atheists deal with grief. Here's my earlier piece on atheist funerals.