January 21, 2013
Barna: Most Americans Concerned over Religious Freedom, But Can't Agree on How to Apply It
New poll examines attitudes toward religious freedom and who gets blamed for perceived restrictions.
New research from The Barna Group suggests that most American adults are at least "somewhat concerned" about restrictions in religious freedom—especially evangelicals.
According to Barna, 71 percent of practicing evangelicals are "very concerned" that religious freedom in the United States will become more restricted in the near future, compared to only 46 percent of practicing Protestants, 30 percent of practicing Catholics, and 29 percent of all adults.
Barna found "widespread agreement" (91%) on what religious freedom means: “True religious freedom means all citizens must have freedom of conscience, which means being able to believe and practice the core commitments and values of your faith.” However, it found little consensus on "how or when to apply" it.
"While two-thirds of all adults surveyed agreed that ‘no one set of values should dominate the country,’ only 37% of Evangelicals agreed with this statement," the Examiner reports. "They were more than twice as likely to say that Judeo-Christian values should be given preference in the U.S. (54% to 23%). Again, no other group held this as a majority viewpoint, even Catholics and other Christian segments of the population."
Also, younger practicing Christians are less than half as likely to be concerned about religious freedom as older practicing Christians.
CT has regularly reported on religious freedom, including the recent launch of the first-ever law school religious liberty clinic and the launch of religious freedom caucuses in nine state legislatures. CT also noted last week's Religious Freedom Day and pushback against President Obama's proclamation observing it.