Americans believe religious freedom is in decline, more Christians believe in the face of intolerance
While most Americans say religious freedom is on the decline in the country, even more believe that Christians are increasingly facing intolerance in the United States. But some say American Christians complain too much about the way they are treated.
More than half of Americans (54%) say religious freedom is on the decline in the United States, including 24% who strongly agree, according to a Lifeway Research survey of 1,005 Americans in September 2021. Almost one in three disagree (32%) and 14% are unsure.
Although a similar percentage of men (53%) and women (54%) agree that religious freedom is on the decline, more women say they are unsure. Men (36%) are more likely than women (29%) to say religious freedom is not on the decline in America.
religious affiliation, worship attendance and religious beliefs are also factors in a person’s belief about the state of religious freedom. Americans who are more committed to their faith are among the most likely to believe that religious freedom is on the decline in America. Those not affiliated with a religion are the least likely to agree that it is down (40%). And among Christians, those who attend worship at least four times a month (64%) are more likely to believe religious freedom is on the decline in America than those who attend less than once a month (53% ). Additionally, those with evangelical beliefs are more likely to say religious freedom is declining than those without evangelical beliefs (74% vs. 48%).
“Freedoms are not unlimited,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research. “While some groups seek more freedom, this often encroaches on the freedom of others. Not surprisingly, those who are more religiously active are those who notice reductions in religious freedom compared to those who do not practice religion.
Belief in Declining Tolerance for Christians in America
Asked specifically about how Christians are treated, Americans believe that religious tolerance toward Christians in America is on the decline. More than half of Americans (59%) say Christians face increasing intolerance in America, including 24% who strongly agree. Less than 1 in 4 (24%) disagree and 18% say they are not sure.
African Americans (68%) and White Americans (59%) are more likely to agree than people of other ethnicities (47%).
Those with more education are more likely to disagree. Americans with a bachelor’s degree (30%) or advanced degree (31%) are more likely to say that Christians are not increasingly facing intolerance in America today than those with a high school diploma or less (21%) or a university education (20%). %).
“Intolerance is about cultural repression,” McConnell said. “In the American marketplace of ideas, not all systems of thought are welcome. The majority of all religions notice this backlash against Christians today.
Again, religious affiliation, participation in worship and religious beliefs are factors in a person’s beliefs regarding tolerance levels for Christians in America. Protestants are most likely to agree with the rise in intolerance (69%), followed by Catholics (59%), people of other faiths (53%) and people with no religious affiliation ( 41%). Evangelicals (84%) are more likely to agree than non-evangelicals (52%). And among Christians, those who attend worship less than once a month (55%) are the least likely to believe that Christians face increasing levels of intolerance in America.
too many complaints
More than 1 in 3 Americans (36%) say American Christians complain too much about how they are treated, including 14% who strongly agree. Almost half (49%) disagree and 15% are unsure.
“While people of faith have had real challenges to their religious freedom in recent years in the United States, it’s easy to come forward just to talk about these issues,” McConnell said. “It is ironic that the very people whom believers would like to convert notice what Christians say about what they lose rather than what good they have to offer.”