A Pew Research study found that four-in-10 American adults say that country should be a “Christian nation.” However, researchers say that Americans’ ideas of what a Christian nation should look like differ significantly.
The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., which conducts demographics research and opinion polling. The center conducted a survey of U.S. adults to better understand how Americans feel on the subject of the separation of church and state and Christian nationalism.
More attention is being paid to Christian nationalism as prominent Republican politicians including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia and Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Vincent Mastriano begin to identify with the term.
Respondents were asked if they think the U.S. should be a “Christian nation,” with 45% responding yes and 51% responding no. When separating participants by religious denomination researchers found that White evangelicals were most likely to say that the U.S. should be a “Christian nation” with 81% responding yes. 65% of Black Protestants and a little less than half of Catholics (47%) also agreed.
Only 16% of Jewish participants and 7% of atheist and agnostic participants said that the U.S.should be a “Christian nation.”
While almost half of the participants answered yes, answers regarding how Christianity would be implemented into American politics differed. Two-thirds of surveyors agreed that churches and other houses of worship should be kept out of political affairs and three-quarters said churches and houses of worship should not endorse political candidates.
Furthermore, in a March 2021 study the center found that 52% of adults said the federal government “should never declare any particular religion as the official religion of the United States.”
Greg Smith, an author of the study found that most respondents who think the U.S. should be a “Christian nation,” “…don’t mean that they want to get rid of separation of church and state,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“They don’t mean they want to see the U.S. officially declared to be a Christian nation. It’s a nuanced picture.”
The results of the study also show varied answers depending on age. Almost two-thirds (63%) of participants 65 and older said the U.S. should be a Christian nation compared to less than a quarter (23%) of those aged 18-29.
The results lined up with findings from a June Gallup poll. The survey showed that the belief in God among young adults has dropped, with 68% saying they believe in God as compared to 87% of adults 65 and older.