Nearly three-quarters (72%) of white evangelical Protestants (WEPs) in the U.S. believe that religious liberty is being threatened, according to a Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) report published February 10.
This affirmation level is well above the 42% of all respondents who say, “the right of religious liberty is being threatened,” and they are the only religious group surveyed to have a majority of respondents feel this way.
By comparison, 44% of white Catholics, 42% of mainline Protestants, 41% of Protestants of color and 24% of the religiously unaffiliated affirm this statement.
A similar number of WEPs (71%) feel their personal religious liberty is being threatened, well above the national average (39%) and other religious groups: Protestants of color (43%), white mainline Protestants (42%), white Catholics (42%) and the religiously unaffiliated (17%).
WEPs are the least likely religious group to affirm that “everyone is free to follow their religious beliefs and practices in their personal lives, provided they do not cause harm to others.”
While a strong majority (81%) of WEPs agree with this statement, this is eight points below the national average and the lowest level among the religious groups surveyed: religiously unaffiliated (93%), Protestants of color (92%), white mainline Protestants (91%) and white Catholics (90%).
Similarly, WEPS are the most likely group (17%) to agree that “everyone is free to follow their religious beliefs and practices in every part of their lives, including performing their jobs, even if that means excluding certain groups of people.”
This is nearly double the national average (10%) and well above every other religious group surveyed: white Catholics (10%), white mainline Protestant (9%), Protestants of color (8%) and the religiously unaffiliated (6%).
WEPs are the most likely religious group to say there is a lot of discrimination against whites (51% agree) and Christians (59%), and the least likely to affirm discrimination against transgender people (52%), Muslims (49%), Jews (48%), Blacks (46%), lesbian and gay people (42%), women (38%), Hispanics (35%) and Asians (31%).
By comparison, around one-third of all respondents see a lot of discrimination against Christians (36%) and against whites (32%).
The national average for all respondents who “think there is a lot of discrimination against” the other social groups surveyed is: transgender people (73%), Muslims (73%), Jews (56%), Blacks (70%), lesbian and gay people (67%), women (57%), Hispanics (63%), and Asians (53%).