Most Americans oppose declaring Christianity, or any other religion, as official faith of the United States, results of a recent poll show illustrating that politics and religious affiliation are major factors in different approaches.
The United States Constitution's First Amendment states that the country shall have no official religion.
Christians continue to make up a large majority of U.S. adults – despite rapid decline of adherents in recent years.
At the same time historians, politicians and religious leaders continue to debate the role of religion in the founders' vision and of Christianity in the U.S. identity analysis published on Oct. 28 of a Pew Research Center shows.
Some Americans clearly long for a more avowedly religious and explicitly Christian country, a March 2021 Pew survey.
For instance, nearly one third say public school teachers should be allowed to lead students in Christian prayers, a practice that the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.
About 20 percent say that the federal government should stop enforcing the separation of church and state (19percent) and that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God (18percent).
That survey found that 15percent go as far as to say the federal government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation.
Pew notes, however, that the clear majority of Americans do not accept views for a narrowing of the gap between church and state.
'WRITTEN BY HUMAN VISION'
For example, just over two-thirds of U.S. adults (67 percent) say the Constitution was written by humans and reflects their vision, not necessarily God's vision.
And a similar share (69percent) says the government should never declare any official religion.
(Respondents were offered the opportunity to reply "neither/no opinion" in response to each question, and substantial shares chose this option or declined to answer in response to all of these questions, suggesting some ambivalence among a segment of the population.)
The survey finds that Christians are much more likely than Jewish or religiously unaffiliated Americans to express support for the integration of church and state.
White evangelical Protestants foremost among Christian subgroups supporting such a step.
In addition, Christians who are highly religious are especially likely to say, for example, that the U.S. Constitution was inspired by God.
Yet even among White evangelical Protestants (34 percent) and highly religious Christians (31 percent), fewer than half say the U.S. should abandon its adherence to the separation of church and state, respectively) or declare the country a Christian nation (35percent and 29percent).
Most highly religious Christians, are in favor of allowing cities to put religious symbols on public property, but far fewer support declaring U.S. a Christian nation
Politics also is a major factor in shaping approaches.
Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party are far more likely than Democrats and or those leaning to the party, to want to secure an official place for Christianity in the national identity.
However, for the most part, Republicans do not directly call for a preference for the integration of church and state.
Pew cites 58 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners say the federal government should never declare any religion as the official religion of the United States.
At the same time, a quarter of Republicans (26 percent) say that the government should declare the U.S. a Christian nation.
By comparison, among Democrats and those who lean toward the Democratic Party, 80 percent say the government should never declare any official religion, and just 6 percent want the government to declare the U.S. a Christian nation.
Still, more Republicans than Democrats say they want a prominent place for Christianity in U.S. national identity.