Freedom of religion in the U.S. is less secure now than it was 10 years ago.
That is the opinion of 41 percent of adults according to a newly released Barna Group survey, up from 33 percent in 2012.
This view is held by 77 percent of Evangelicals, 52 percent of all practicing Christians and 32 percent of other faith traditions – an increase of 17, 8 and 13 percent, respectively, from 2012.
When respondents were asked if they “agree that true religious freedom means all citizens must have freedom of conscience,” 87 percent of all U.S. adults agreed (down from 90 percent in 2012).
This view was affirmed by 96 percent of Evangelicals (1 percent increase), 91 percent of practicing Christians (4 percent decrease) and 88 percent of other faith traditions (1 percent decrease).
Only 26 percent of survey respondents expressed the belief that “traditional Judeo-Christian values should be given preference in the U.S.,” compared to 76 percent of Evangelicals, 51 percent of practicing Christians and 13 percent of other faith traditions.
When asked to respond to the statement, “no one set of values should dominate the country,” 72 percent of U.S. adults, 25 percent of Evangelicals, 48 percent of practicing Christians and 88 percent of other faith traditions affirmed this position.
Practicing Christians within the youngest generations – Millennials and Gen-Xers – saw the largest increase in expressing their concern about religious freedom.
Fifty-five percent of practicing Christian Millennials and 49 percent of practicing Christian Gen-Xers did so, up from 32 and 40 percent in 2012, respectively.
When asked if they were apprehensive about further restrictions in the next five years, practicing Christian Millennials saw a 37 percent increase to 56 percent of affirmative response, while practicing Christian Gen-Xers saw an 8 percent increase to 51 percent.
“[T]he big headline of this study is the massive shift in the views of younger practicing Christians, especially Millennials (18 to 31 years old). Just three years ago, these young adults expressed relatively little concern about issues related to religious freedom. Today, they are at least as concerned as their older counterparts – and on some issues, even more so,” the Barna Group reported.
The full survey results are available here.