“People ask, ‘What does it mean to live a good life and be good to people?’ These are deeply religious questions, and will have a profound impact on the spiritual sensibilities of an entire nation.”

Even as a life-ending plague burns through the United States, Americans are moving closer to God.

A Pew Research Center poll shows that while 2% of those surveyed say the coronavirus has weakened their faith, 25% declare the virus has deepened it. According to Gallup, 3% say their faith has “gotten worse”; 19% say it’s “gotten better.”

And among African Americans, who, like Latinx people, have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, 41% say their faith has grown stronger, compared with 30% of Latinx Americans, and 20% of whites, Pew reports.

Originally labeled the “rich man’s disease” because the virus festered within the well-off who traveled by plane, COVID-19 quickly spread throughout the world among the wealthy and the poor.

“The coronavirus is a profound equalizer,” said Danielle Widmann Abraham, a professor of Islamic studies and comparative religion at Ursinus College. “It affects people at the level of their bodies.”

That creates a universal understanding that we are more alike than different, she said. And that’s a profoundly religious sentiment.

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