The number of adults in the United States who see the Supreme Court as friendly toward religion is increasing, according to a Pew Research Center report published Nov. 30.
More than a third (35%) of U.S. adults say the current court is “friendly” toward religion, nearly doubling the total (18%) from three years ago. By comparison, 51% say the court is “neutral” (down from 69%) and 11% say “unfriendly” (unchanged from 2019).
In addition to the overall increase in respondents who say the court is “friendly” toward religion, a higher number of respondents in every demographic group included in the report now say the court is friendly than in 2019.
A majority of both Jewish (53%) and religiously unaffiliated (51%) respondents now say the court is friendly toward religion – a 24-point and 25-point increase, respectively. By comparison, 30% of Catholics and 25% of Protestants say the court is friendly – a 17-point and 12-point increase, respectively.
White evangelical Protestants (20%) had the smallest number of respondents say the court is now friendly toward religion, but this total is a 10% increase from 2019.
A strong majority (83%) of all respondents said the justices “should not bring their own religious views into how they decide major cases,” with a majority of every demographic grouping featured in the report affirming this position. White evangelical Protestants had the lowest level of affirmation at 68%, with 29% saying the justices’ religious views should influence their decisions.
When asked how much “justices have relied on their religious beliefs” in recent rulings, a plurality of all adults (44%) said “too much,” while 40% said “about the right amount” and 13% said “too little.”
Jewish respondents (70%) were most likely to say, “too much,” followed by the religiously unaffiliated (66%). By comparison, 38% of Catholics and 29% of Protestants said, “too much.” White evangelical Protestants had the fewest respondents say, “too much” (15%), and the highest percentage say, “about the right amount” (63%), while Black Protestants had the highest percentage say, “too little” (25%).
A plurality of adults say that the court’s recent rulings have helped Christians (42%) and that they have “not made much difference” for non-religious people (55%). The same number (37%) of all respondents said the rulings have “hurt” or have “not made much difference” for the LGBTQ+ community.
“About a third of Christians (35%) – including similar shares of Catholics, White evangelical Protestants and White non-evangelical Protestants – believe the recent court decisions have helped Christians’ interests,” the report said. “By contrast, larger shares of Jewish (58%) and religiously unaffiliated (55%) adults – including about three-quarters of atheists (77%) and agnostics (73%) – say the same.”
The full report is available here.