The United States is facing a growing religious divide, something which was reflected in recently released polling data.
According to a survey published by Pew Research on Thursday, some 45% of Americans believe the country should be a Christian nation.
Sharp disagreement over what “Christian nation” means
Carried out between September 13 and September 18, the poll also found that 60% of respondents think America’s founding fathers wanted the country to be a Christian nation while only 33% say it currently is one.
Pew pointed out that there was wide disagreement regarding what the term “Christian nation” actually means. One supporter of the concept said it refers to “[a] country based on Christian beliefs. Freedom of religion, all men being created equal.”
“While belief in the 10 Commandments would be great, imagine life in the U.S. if only four to 10 were kept!” the respondent continued, adding, “People need to believe in something/someone higher than themselves.”
Meanwhile, another respondent who opposed the suggestion that America should be a Christian nation said the term describes a “theocracy.”
“I realize other people mean it in different ways, such as to refer to the fact that most people in America are Christian,” the respondent went on.
“But to pretend that the nation somehow belongs to Christians just because they happen to be the majority excludes everyone else,” he or she concluded.
What’s more, another Christian nationalism opponent linked the concept with white supremacy and said it describes “[a] White Christian ethno-state.”
A surprising number of religiously unaffiliated say America should be a Christian nation
Another segment of Pew’s report revealed that support for the proposition that the United States should be a Christian nation was highest among white Evangelicals at 81%.
On the other hand, support was lowest among Jewish Americans at 16%, agnostics at 8%, and atheists at 6%. Interestingly, almost one in four respondents who described their religious affiliation as being “nothing in particular” said America should be a Christian nation.
There were also significant differences when respondents were broken down by age: whereas 63% of those aged 65 and older said the United States should be a Christian nation, only 23% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 agreed.