Republicans and Secular Americans have something in common: They both think organized religion has less power over American life than in the past.
That’s one of the key takeaways from a new Gallup poll tracking how influential religion is in the eyes of Americans. You won’t be surprised to learn that religion had more power than ever last year since people often turn to religion in the midst of a tragedy. In April of 2020, 38% of Americans said religion was increasing its influence on our lives. But a year later, that number has dropped to a mere 16% — even lower than it was in 2019.
Not only did that number drop, it dropped no matter how you sliced up the data. Republicans who said religion was increasing its influence in our lives went from 44% last year to a mere 7% this year. Among Nones, the number dropped from 31% to 13%.
As a whole, Americans currently see religion as less influential than any time in this history of this survey going back to 1970 (14%). The all-time high came just after 9/11, when 71% of U.S. adults said religious influence was on the rise.
Keep in mind this is not about whether the increase in influence is good or bad. I could easily say religion has more influence in society and be upset about it while conservative Christians saying the same thing would be thrilled.
Less religious influence is a good thing if you support church/state separation and reason-based policies. It won’t stop bad ideas from entering the culture — as we know all too well — but one of the most potent forms of control currently lacks the grasp on people’s lives that it had not too long ago.
(Featured image via Shutterstock)