Politics Magazine

Is The United States Really A Religious Country ?

Posted on the 26 December 2014 by Jobsanger
Is The United States Really A Religious Country ?
Many people in the United States take it as a given that the country is a religious one, specifically a christian nation. And using that assumption, a lot of evangelicals want their religion written into law and given preference over other religions by the government. They want schools to force all children to participate in christian prayers, want all Americans to be subjected to christian rites at government meetings, want christian displays to be exhibited exclusively on government property, and want their churches (and ministers) to be able to engage in partisan politics while keeping their religious tax exemption.
Are they right? Is this a christian nation? Is it even a religious nation?
The charts exhibited in this post are from a newly released Gallup Poll. That survey was done between January 2nd and December 21st of 2014 of a random national sample of 173,490 adults, and because of the very large sample, has a margin of error of only 1 point.
At first glance, they would seem to be right. When asked if they are religious, about 82% of respondents claim a religious affiliation (with 76% claiming a christian affiliation -- 50% protestant, 24% catholic, and 2% mormon). Those are some pretty impressive numbers, and if we just accept those claims at face value, then we would have to conclude the U.S. is a very religious country.
But the chart below shows that may not actually be the case. The easiest way a religious person can affirm their religiosity is to simply attend religious services on a regular basis. Anyone who doesn't do that probably doesn't have a deeply-held religious belief, and may just be claiming an affiliation to get along with others (or because they were taught in their youth that one cannot be an ethical or moral person without a religious affiliation).
When asked about attendance at religious services, only 53% say they attend (and 12% of those only claim a monthly attendance -- about 12 times a year, which certainly can't be claimed as regular attendance). That means only about 41% of Americans regularly attend religious services (and some of that 41% are adherents to a non-christian religion).
Frankly, that doesn't sound like a christian nation to me -- or even a religious nation. What do you think?
Is The United States Really A Religious Country ?

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