Most U.S. parents do not place a high priority on their children sharing their religious views, according to a Pew Research Center report published January 24.
Parents were presented with the prompt, “Thinking about the kind of people you hope your children become as adults, how important is it to you that they…” and then asked to indicate if seven scenarios were extremely, very, somewhat, not too, or not at all important to them.
Only 35% of parents said it was extremely or very important to them that their children “have similar religious beliefs to their own.” This was the second lowest total, only ahead of “have similar political beliefs to their own,” which had 16% of parents say this was extremely or very important to them.
U.S. parents placed the highest value on the children being honest and ethical, with 94% saying this is extremely / very important to them. “Be hardworking” was second at 88%, followed by “be someone who helps others in need” (81%), “be accepting of people who are different from them” (80%) and “be ambitious” (65%).
There was little variation between fathers and mothers in their responses on these seven scenarios, though there were notable differences based on the religious affiliation of respondents.
“White evangelical Protestant parents (70%) are more likely than white non-evangelical Protestant (29%) and Black Protestant parents (53%) to say it’s very or extremely important to them that their children have religious beliefs that are similar to their own as adults,” the report said. “About a third (35%) of Catholic parents and just 8% of those who are religiously unaffiliated say this.”