Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Americans rethink religion in politics

Photo by Katelyn Bosch

A new study from the Pew Research Center reveals that Americans believe that religion is losing its influence on politics, yet also think that religion should play a larger role in the American political system.

The study found that 72 percent of respondents, nearly three quarters, think that religion is losing influence in the U.S. This is a five percent increase from a corresponding 2010 study.

What the Pew Research Center found significant was that there was a corresponding increase in public opinion that churches should be more involved in U.S. government.

This study showed that increasingly people think the church should express their stances on political views with 49 percent of respondents saying they should and 48 percent saying they should not. This shows significant change from the 2010 results in which 52 percent of respondents said churches should not express their views and 43 percent said they should.

The study distinguished between the two political parties with Republicans (59 percent) more likely than Democrats (42 percent) to desire increased involvement of religion in politics.

The Pew study analysis said:

Analysis also shows that growing support for religion in politics is concentrated among those who think religion has a positive impact on society. And the desire for religion in public life runs stronger among Republicans and those who lean right than among Democrats and left-leaning independents.

This study is part of a larger project titled the “Religion and Public Life Project” instituted by the Pew Research center that “seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs.”

The project simply means to track trends and changes in this intersection, not to take a stance on anything.

This survey also had a new question that was not on the 2010 survey: Should wedding-related businesses be required to provide services for same-sex couples?

Respondents were nearly evenly split on this issue with 47 percent saying that they should be allowed to refuse and 49 percent saying they should be required.

This trend is consistent with past trends where liberal administrations have more conservative publics and vice versa, according to the LA Times.

A previous study done by the Pew Research Center showed a 12 percent increase between from 2009 to 2014 in the number of people who saw the Obama administration as unfriendly towards religion.

The study is based on telephone interviews of 2,002 U.S. adults. The research center used data from the 2012 census in order to weigh the results based on religious groups.

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