New Study Reveals Most Americans Support Separation of Church & State

A March 2021 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that most adult US Americans support the separation of church and state. With 69% of the respondents agreeing that the federal government should never declare any state religion. At the same time, 67% agree that the US Constitution was written by humans and reflects their vision, not necessarily God’s vision.

The study also highlights a clear distinction in the political affiliations of the respondents. According to the study, those who lean towards identifying as a Republican and those who identify as Republicans are more likely to support imposing Christianity as a national identity.

Collectively, Republicans are indirect with their support for the integration of church and state. According to the study, 58% of Republicans and those who lean towards a Republican political view agree that the federal government should not designate a state religion. 80% of Democrats and those who lean towards a Democratic view agree on the same statement. In contrast, 26% of Republicans and Republican leaners agree that the US should declare itself a Christian nation, compared to only 6% of Democrats and Democrat leaners agreeing on the same statement.

Thomas Jefferson used the metaphor of a wall separating church and state in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. The idea did not remain popular in the first 150 years of the United States. But as the US population diversifies and more Americans subscribe to science, the attention towards the validity of religion is under increased scrutiny.

Despite the First Amendment stating that there should be no state religion, Christians still make up most of the US population. According to the Religious Landscape Study, Christians make up 70.6% of religious groups in the US.

For the March 2021 study, Pew Research Center surveyed 12,055 adults from March 1 to 7, 2021. The survey was conducted through their American Trends Panel, Pew’s online survey platform that takes random sampling on a national level based on residential addresses. 

The March 2021 study also identified White Evangelical Christians to be the most supportive of the integration of church and state. Only 29% of the unaffiliated yet highly religious Christians support integration compared to the 35% of the White Evangelical Christians who support the integration of church and state. Pew calls these seemingly isolated yet compact groups “pockets of support for increased church-state integration.”

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