24 Sep 2014

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade.

Nearly three-quarters of the public (72%) now thinks religion is losing influence in American life, up 5 percentage points from 2010 to the highest level in Pew Research polling over the past decade. Andmost people who say religion's influence is waning see this as a bad thing.

Perhaps as a consequence, a growing share of the American public wants religion to play a role in U.S. politics. The share of Americans who say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political issues is up 6 points since the 2010 midterm elections (from 43% to 49%). The share who say there has been “too little” expression of religious faith and prayer from political leaders is up modestly over the same period (from 37% to 41%). And a growing minority of Americans (32%) think churches should endorse candidates for political office, though most continue to oppose such direct involvement by churches in electoral politics. 

The findings reflect a widening divide between religiously affiliated Americans and the rising share of the population that is not affiliated with any religion (sometimes called the “nones”). The public’s appetite for religious influence in politics is increasing in part because those who continue to identify with a religion (e.g., Protestants, Catholics and others) have become significantly more supportive of churches and other houses of worship speaking out about political issues and political leaders talking more often about religion. The “nones” are much more likely to oppose the intermingling of religion and politics.

 Analysis also shows that growing support for religion in politics is concentrated among those who think religion has a positive impact on society. And the desire for religion in public life is much more evident among Republicans and those who lean toward the GOP than among Democrats and Democratic leaners.

 These are among the key findings from a new survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Sept. 2-9 among 2,002 U.S. adults. The survey tracks public attitudes about religion in public life, maps the contours of the religious elements of the political landscape heading into the 2014 midterm elections and monitors trends on important social issues.

Read More:http://www.pewforum.org/2014/09/22/public-sees-religions-influence-waning-2/

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