A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Most Americans Are Not Worried About The Trend Away From Religion

I have written recently about the secularization of the American public. As surveys from the Pew Research Center has shown, less people in this country are claiming an affiliation with any established religion as time passes. Now at least 20% (1 out of every 5 people) of the population in the United States say they have no religious affiliation -- and among the younger generation, that figure rises to more than 30% (or about 1 out of every 3 young people).

In fact, each generation, from the "greatest generation" to the "baby boomers" to the "gen Xers" to the "millennials", has shown less religious affiliation than the preceding generation. This is a definite trend that has been going on for quite a while in this country -- and there is no reason to believe it will change. This country is becoming less religious.

The Pew Research Center decided to see what Americans think about this trend away from religion. Their survey was conducted between March 21st and April 8th of 4,006 nationwide adults -- with a margin of error of 2.1 points. They asked those surveyed whether this trend away from religion was a good thing, a bad thing, or didn't make much difference. The chart above shows the percentage saying it is a bad thing.

I have to admit that I was a bit surprised by the poll's results. I had expected a significant majority of Americans to think the trend away from religion was a bad thing, but that is not what the poll showed. Most of the general public don't seem to worried, as about 52% either think it's a good thing or not worth worrying about. Only 48% said it's a bad thing. In fact, only two demographic groups (those between 50 & 64, and those 65 & over) have a significant majority saying it's a bad thing.

Meanwhile, only 46% of those between 30 & 49 think it's a bad thing, while only 33% of those between 18 & 29 consider it to be a bad trend. This tells me that in the future, those bothered by this trend away from religion will be an even smaller minority. Hopefully, that will also mean there will be much less pressure to inject religion into our government and public life -- which would be a good thing. This country was created to have a secular government guaranteeing religious freedom -- not a religious government denying freedom of belief.

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