A recent survey shows the place that Americans give to the Christian religion in the public sphere. If Christianity remains popular because of the humanist values attributed to it in the United States, Christian doctrine and morality have less and less of a mission to inspire laws within a largely secularized society.
In recent months, the Supreme Court of the United States has produced a number of judgments that seem to mark a return of religion to the highest level of the state apparatus: public funding of private religious schools, public prayers after football, and above all, the repeal of Roe v. Wade, which allows states to outlaw abortion.
So many strong decisions have created controversy among those who accuse the highest court in the United States of relying too much on Christian doctrine.
This was an opportunity for the Pew Research Center (PRC) polling institute to conduct a major survey, conducted from September 13 to 18, 2022 on a representative panel of more than 10,500 American citizens, in order to assess the place that religion is supposed to occupy, according to them, in the public space.
If more than four out of ten Americans think that the United States should be a “Christian nation,” nearly seven out of ten would like religious denominations to stay away from major political and societal issues.
But do not be mistaken: most of those who see their country as a “Christian nation” reduce this notion to the simple fact of believing in God and being vaguely inspired by Christian principles for their personal conduct, without implying that the laws should explicitly enshrine Christian doctrine.
Here we see confirmation of the growing erasure of institutional “churches” in favor of a more individual religiosity, imbued with a morality inherited from a now vague and ethereal Christianity.
Another interesting fact: when asked about what they think of religion, 49% have a positive view and 26% negative. Figures that have evolved against religion compared to the same question asked in the spring of 2019 by the PRC: at the time 52% of respondents expressed a positive opinion and 23% negative, which highlights the erosion of trust capital in institutional churches.
Asked about the position of the two major political parties in relation to religion, a very clear majority of respondents believe that the Republican Party is closer to the Christian religion than the Democratic Party.
Conversely, 44% of American Catholics believe that the Biden administration is rather neutral towards religion, while only 29% consider it hostile.
However, the very clear commitment of the White House in favor of abortion and gender ideology should have made more than one Catholic in the United States think twice.