Pew: 49% Of Americans Do Not Want Family Members Marrying Atheists

Marrying Atheists

A new Pew Research survey that primarily focused on political polarization also revealed majority of Americans are rather perturbed when someone in the family decides to marry a nonbeliever. Atheists happen to be the most unwanted relatives so far with approximately 49 percent Americans saying they would not approve of a family member marrying an unbeliever.

Those most likely to get upset with such a development in the immediate family are:

  • 73 percent of those who identify as consistently conservative.
  • 64 percent of Protestants
  • 59 percent of Republicans
  • 55 percent of Roman Catholics

In contrast to these numbers, only 9 percent said they would be disappointed with a relative marrying a “born again” Christian.

Weddings between Republicans and Democrats were not as divisive. According to the survey, less than one in ten would be upset if a family member married someone from another political party. Surprisingly, the percentage was as low for marrying an individual from another race or a different country. However, the percentages seemed to rise again for factors like gun ownership and a lack of college education.

“Clearly, an atheist is the least likely to be welcomed into a family… Although 20 percent of Americans said they have no religious identity, “certainly religiosity matters in the United States,” said Jocelyn Kiley, senior researcher with the Pew Center for the People and the Press.

The questions used in the survey aimed at understanding polarization in America. The survey was conducted from January to March 2014 and it involved 10,013 people. However, the questions related to marriage were posed to only a third of the total respondents. The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 2 percentage points. This is the first time that these particular questions related to marriage were asked so there is no previous data for the results to be compared to.

Photo Credits: Blaise Alleyne

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