Most Americans do not see their nation as a Christian one

(Photo: REUTERS / Olivia Harris)Czech priest Tomas Halik (L) acknowledges Jack Templeton, son of John Templeton, the founder of the Templeton Prize, during the 2014 Templeton Prize award in London March 13, 2014. Halik, a Catholic priest whose theology of paradox invites believers and atheists to dialogue has won the 2014 Templeton Prize, worth .83 million, for his work affirming the spiritual dimension of life.

One recent survey in the United States show that most Americans do not believe they live in a Christian nation today, even if many say it was, while another poll says God has a special place for the nation.

Just more than one-third (35 per cent) of the U.S. public believe their country was a Christian nation in the past, but it is still a Christian nation today, the Public Religion Research Institute says in new data.

At the same time LifeWay found that as a nation founded on religious liberty, most Americans believe God has a special relationship with the United States, and they're optimistic the best is yet to come.

It said on July 1 that though the U.S. Constitution makes no mention of God, 53 percent of Americans say they believe God and the nation have a special relationship, a concept stretching back to Pilgrim days.

Even a third of atheists, agnostics, and those with no religious preference believe America has a special relationship with God.


"'God bless America' is more than a song or a prayer for many Americans," said Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay research.

"It is a belief that God has blessed America beyond what is typical for nations throughout history," he noted. "I am sure that would spawn many theological conversations."

The PRPRI has released recent data on U.S. perspectives on what makes someone truly American and what makes the country unique.

At the same time close to half of respondents (45 per cent) say the United States was once a Christian nation but is no longer so today, while 14 per cent say the U.S. has never been a Christian nation.

The number of Americans who believe the U.S. is a Christian nation has indeed declined steadily over the past five years, says the PRPI.

In 2010, more than four in ten (42 per cent) Americans said the U.S. has always been and is currently a Christian nation.

At the same time like Americans overall, most Christians do not believe that America is still a Christian nation today.

Only about four in ten white evangelical Protestants (42 per cent), non-white Protestants (39 per cent), and Catholics (39 per cent) believe the United States is a Christian nation today.

Fewer of white, what are known in the U.S. as mainline Protestants (33 per cent) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (27 per cent) say America is a Christian nation.

(Image: LifeWay research)

A majority (56 per cent) of white evangelical Protestants and nearly half (48 per cent) of white mainline Protestants say the U.S. was a Christian nation at one time but is no longer so.

About four in ten non-white Protestants (42 per cent), Catholics (41 per cent), and religiously unaffiliated Americans (40 per cent) say America was a Christian nation in the past, but is not today.

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