Poll Respondents: WHAT War on Religion?

The religious right insists that faith is under siege in America. Far-right leaders and pressure groups have pushed the “war on religion” trope for years now. Texas Gov. Rick Perry even used it during his doomed presidential campaign last December. Most recently, the right has argued that the Obama administration’s policy on insurance coverage for contraception is part of this mythical “war.”

But a new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that most Americans aren’t buying it. According to that poll, Americans by a 56%-39% margin say they don’t think religious liberty is under threat in America today. Of those who do believe religious freedom is threatened, only 6 percent mentioned the current debate over health insurance coverage for birth control. Others mentioned “hostility towards Christians/religion” (10 percent), “removing religion from the public square” (23 percent) and “general government interference in religion” (20 percent).

David Barton, president of Texas-based WallBuilders, plays especially on such fears. You can see that in Barton’s recent essay absurdly claiming that Barack Obama has been “the most Biblically hostile” American president.

The PRRI poll also shows that a majority of Americans support requiring that employers, including religiously affiliated employers other than churches and other places of worship, include coverage for contraception in their health insurance plans for employees. And 52 percent of Americans (including 59 percent of Catholics and 65 percent of white mainline Protestants) support the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples.

So the next time you hear folks on the right shrieking about a “war on religion” in America, just remember that most Americans know better.

You can read more about the poll on the PRRI’s website here.

7 thoughts on “Poll Respondents: WHAT War on Religion?

  1. As Friedrich Nietzsche put it: “Madness on the part of the individual is the execption; on part of the group is the rule”.

  2. Aside from the strident on multiple sides of this issue, what once was benigh is now seen as insidious. The use of public prayer and the teaching of various forms of Chritianity is driven off campus while the teaching of Islam is ushered in. While this a war does not make, it does fit Orwellian logic. that some religions count and others do not.

    One can teach about Islam on campus but no about Christianity. While the obvious inconsistency of the argument is clearly under the radar of others, it is Animal School instead of Animal Farm

  3. Well yes, religious freedom is threatened in the US…by religious fundamentalists that try to enforce their own narrow religious views on everybody including lawmakers calling for mandatory conversion to (evangelical) Christianity before getting citizenship and thinking aloud about second class citizenship for non-Christians that already are citizens (and eviction of Muslims independent of status). And there are still enough people that consider Roman Catholics to be pagans to tailor campaigns to specifically please them (the guys that consider Santorum unacceptable not because of his radical views but because he is RC not Kristian(TM)).

    (There are some posting problems at the moment, so I resubmit this under another name)

  4. “One can teach about Islam on campus but no about Christianity.”

    Please support this claim with examples. Links, please.

    1. Not only can Texas public school districts teach about Christianity, every one likely does. Social studies curriculum standards have long included sections on the world’s major religions (including Christianity), their distribution, their beliefs and their influence. Moreover, HB 1287 in 2007 codified guidelines for teaching elective courses about the influence of the Bible in history and literature.

  5. TFN. I think Gordon was talking about teaching about Christianity on college campuses rather than in secondary schools. Just about every major university has a Department of Religious Studies. Some have their own divinity schools. Some colleges are affiliated with particular religions. Most large and intermediate-sized universities have on-campus denominational religious centers that are sort of a cross between a church and a place to “hang out.” This idea that religion is dying some sort of death in the context of major educational institutions appears to me to be nothing more that another BIG LIE effort floated by the rectum trust (notice I did not say “brain”) on the Religious Right.