Six in 10 U.S. adults believe that “the founders of America originally intended for the U.S. to be a ‘Christian nation,’” according to a Pew Research Center report published October 27.
Despite a majority holding this view of the founders’ intentions, a majority (51%) do not believe that “the U.S. should be a ‘Christian nation’” and 64% do not feel “the U.S. is now a ‘Christian nation.’”
In addition, most respondents say that personal religious views should not influence the rulings of Supreme Court justices (83%), that houses of faith should not endorse political candidates (77%) and that houses of faith should “keep out of political matters” (67%).
A strong majority of the 51% of respondents who believe the U.S. should not be a Christian nation affirm that the federal government should “never declare any particular religion as the official religion of the U.S.” (88%), should “advocate for moral values that are shared by people of many faiths” (75%) and should “enforce separation of church and state” (71%).
Even among the 45% of U.S. adults who believe the U.S. should be a Christian nation, a majority agree with never making such a declaration and with advocating for universal moral values (52% affirm both), while a plurality (39%) affirm the enforcement of church-state separation. Among all adults, 69%, 63% and 54%, respectively, affirm these positions.
Most U.S. adults (51%) say the “Bible should have little or no influence on U.S. laws,” with 47% saying it should “have a great deal or some influence.” Among the 47% saying it should have a great deal / some influence, 27% say the Bible should have more influence than the will of the people and 19% that the will of the U.S. public should have more influence.
Among respondents who say the U.S. should not be a Christian nation, 79% say little / no influence and 20% a great deal / some influence, while the responses among those who feel the nation should be Christian were 21% and 78%, respectively.
White evangelicals were the most likely religious group to say the founders intended to establish a Christian nation (81%), that the nation should be Christian (81%) and that “the Bible should have more influence than the will of the people on U.S. laws” (65%).
Editor’s note: Good Faith Media has resources focused on countering Christian nationalism that are available through GFM’s A Better Way Initiative. These resources can be found here.