With the three new Supreme Court rulings in the United States over religious symbols on public property, prayer in public schools and state subsidies for religious schools, a debate on religion and government has once again surfaced.
The First Amendment to the US Constitution says that the country shall have no official religion and Americans have been debating where to draw the line between religion and government since the country’s founding. In a recent survey, the PEW Centre has come up with some connections between religion and government, and the public’s current views on the matter.
In the survey, PEW Centre said that nearly three-quarters of US Adults (73 per cent) say religion should be kept separate from government policies.
It said that Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (84 per cent) say religion should be kept out of government policies. In the case of Republicans and Republican leaners, the survey found that only 61 per cent5 was of the above view.
In the survey, the PEW Centre mentioned that about four-in-ten Protestants (39 per cent) say government policies should support religious values and beliefs. However, it said that 24 per cent of Catholics and nine per cent of religiously unaffiliated adults – those who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular. White evangelical Protestants are split, with 49 per cent saying that government policies should support religious values and an identical share saying they should be kept separate from religion.
With respect to leading students in any kind of prayers, the PEW centre said that 46 per cent of the Americans gave a positive response. While 60 per cent of Democrats was of te same opinion, only 30 per cent of the Republicans said so.
RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS ON PUBLIC PROPERTY
Nearly four-in-ten U.S. Adults (39 per cent) gay cities and towns should be allowed to do this, while 35% say religious symbols should be kept off public property. Roughly a quarter (26 per cent) don’t favour either option The PEW research also mentions its survey conducted in February 2020, where roughly half of Americans feel it is either very (20 per cent) or somewhat (32 per cent) important for a president to have strong religious beliefs (even if they are different from their own). As per the January 2021 analysis, the Pew Research Centre has shown that Congress has always been overwhelmingly Christian, and roughly nine-in-ten representatives (88%) in the current Congress including 99% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats – identify as Christian.