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Religion and America

John on December 23, 2008 at 11:10 am

Most Americans believe religious influence is waning:

Two-thirds of U.S. adults today perceive that the influence of religion in American life is waning, while just 27% believe it is rising. This represents a sharp decline in the image of religion compared with only three years ago, when 50% thought its influence was on an upswing, and marks one of the weakest readings on the influence of religion in Gallup’s five-decade history of asking the question.


The current weak image of religion stands on par with the low ebb recorded in the first half of the Clinton administration in the mid 1990s, but is still not quite as low as it was during the late 1960s and Vietnam War. The record low came in a 1970 Gallup Poll when only 14% of Americans said religion was increasing in influence at that time, while 75% thought it was losing influence.

Indeed, this measure of public perceptions about religion has been quite volatile over the forty-plus years of its existence, with shifts in perception often corresponding to major political events.

Sounds to me like people believe religious influence is waning every time a Democrat wins the Presidency. As I’ve argued before, I’m not sure that really holds this time around. Obama was clearly the most religious of the two major party candidates.

What I’d really like to know is — of the people who say religious influence is gaining, how many think that’s a net negative. It wouldn’t surprise me if the swells in religious influence numbers were followed by ebbs precisely because a lot of people decide it’s too influential. I certainly get that feeling these last 2-3 years.

So sure, things look bleak at this moment, but one thing I’m increasingly sure of these days…This too shall pass.

[HT: Hot Air headlines]

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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